The animated Japanese feature Belle makes a case against getting lost in fantasy.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE M elding Beauty and the Beast with Ready Player One, the Japanese animated feature Belle fashions an affecting young-adult drama out of the tensions between teens’ online identities and their actual selves.

A shy, freckled, plain-looking adolescent girl in Japan named Suzu has spent years mired in sadness after her mother drowned while trying to save someone’s life. Suzu barely talks to her father, and her only friend at school is a girl named Hiro, a cynical schemer who specializes in questionable advice.

All of the kids — all of the world, maybe — live to go online to join a role-playing game


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