New animated film Belle seeks to “break gender stereotypes”


Mamoru Hosoda’s new film Belle takes inspiration from his 5-year-old daughter and seeks to question the devaluation of Japanese culture towards women and girls.

The portrayal of female characters in cartoons has often been seen as problematic, but director Mamoru Hosoda is trying to change that in his new film Beautiful.

“I think female characters in Japanese anime are often portrayed through a lens of desire leading to their sexual exploitation, and too much is brushed aside as free speech,” Hosoda said. The Washington Post in a recent interview.

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The director went on to explain how Japanese animation has strongly influenced the perception of women and girls and what it means to be powerful and beautiful, but not in a positive way. “Such exploitation [has been] . . . justified by the idea that it takes place in a fantasy world, and not in reality. But I think, surely, such perceptions are linked and will influence our reality, “he said.

Beautiful is a fairy tale story The beauty and the Beast. The story follows Suzu, a shy 17-year-old girl who is embarrassed by her appearance and has little motivation to play music after her mother’s death. However, after joining the virtual world known as “U”, she takes on the character of Belle, an enchanting pop star with flowing pink hair, and quickly gains a huge following.

Hosoda described how her 5-year-old daughter inspired the film and its message about using the power of technology as a tool for women’s empowerment and a force for good. “She’s still in kindergarten and is pretty introverted, so I imagined how she was going to survive once she got on social media and started having all kinds of interactions online,” he said. explained the director.

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“For the younger generation, the norm will be to live in both worlds and for both worlds to be their realities,” he continued. “And the internet plays a huge role in raising their voice and going out into the world.”

Recently, Hosoda sparked controversy in the anime industry by criticizing the way other directors present female characters in their works. While some questioned whether his characters were really different from those he condemned, others praised the director’s efforts. Professor Akiko Sugawa of Yokohama National University considers Hosoda to be one of the people who fight against the devaluation of women and girls by Japanese culture. “Anime has the power to create and shatter gender stereotypes,” said the professor.

While projects like Beautiful are a big step forward for the anime industry, according to Professor Sugawa there is still a lot of room for improvement, and the industry needs to recognize more diverse voices. “There are now more positive portrayals of LGBTQ characters, issues, and work that pose questions about societal issues. And with the rise of more diverse anime directors and makers, there are l ‘hope for more change to come, ”she explained.

Beautiful is scheduled to premiere in US theaters this winter.

KEEP READING: WATCH: New Movie From Summer Wars Director Belle Debut In First Three Minutes

Source: The Washington Post

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