Belle: Behind-the-Scenes Video Discusses the Making of Its Virtual World

The anime film Belle is currently airing in theaters, and a major focus of the movie is the massive virtual world called "U." As such an integral part of Belle, director Mamoru Hosoda was as expected very particular about its design. In a new behind-the-scenes video provided exclusively to by GKIDS, Hosoda discusses how the look and feel of the animated virtual world within the animated world of Belle came to be.

In the behind-the-scenes video, which you can check out embedded above, Hosoda admits that the process of creating "U" was not easy. "Getting someone to design U, another world where 5 billion people are... was not easy, as I'm sure you can imagine," he says. "I was having a hard time finding someone who could." Enter Eric Wong, an architect and designer living in the United Kingdom who designs fictional cities and illustrations.

"But as I was poking around on the Internet, I came across a great visual," Hosoda continues. "Eric's work. He's a young architect around 30 years old. He teaches architecture in college and does his own architectural designs as well. He's, how can I say it... He's like a virtual architect. I created a world called OZ in Summers Wars and wanted U to be an extension of that. That said, I wanted a flat and graphical world. And Eric was able to make it seem like OZ and U are somehow connected."

Hosoda then shows off some of Wong's work, indicating that the initial bits designed convinced him to bring Wong onboard the final project only for the production to start doubting their initial work and produce yet more concepts. But it all came together in the end.

You can check out the synopsis of Belle below, straight from GKIDS:

"Suzu is a shy, everyday high school student living in a rural village. For years, she has only been a shadow of herself. But when she enters 'U', a massive virtual world, she escapes into her online persona as Belle, a gorgeous and globally-beloved singer. One day, her concert is interrupted by a monstrous creature chased by vigilantes. As their hunt escalates, Suzu embarks on an emotional and epic quest to uncover the identity of this mysterious 'beast' and to discover her true self in a world where you can be anyone."

As noted above, Belle is currently in theaters. The anime film is by director Mamoru Hosoda and made by Studio Chizu, the folks behind the likes of Mirai, Wolf Children, Summer Wars, and more. The English dub cast of the film includes the likes of Chace Crawford, Manny Jacinto, Kylie McNeill, Hunter Schafer, Paul Castro Jr., David Chen, and many more. GKIDS produces and distributes a number of animated projects, including Belle. You can check out all of our previous coverage of the new anime movie right here.

What do you think of the new behind-the-scenes clip from the making of Belle? Have you had a chance to watch it for yourself yet? Let us know in the comments, or feel free to reach out and hit me up directly over on Twitter at @rollinbishop to talk about all things anime!