In ‘Beauty,’ the Internet Unlocks Our Best Selves

where is ours Other selves lived before the internet? “There is only one reality in the past,” said director Mamoru Hosoda. his new movie, Beauty, is about how the Internet can introduce the possibility of multiple selves in multiple worlds. It opens in the U.S. on Friday, Beauty Following Suzu Naito as she grapples with her newfound fame as a pop star in the virtual world U. Online, Hosoda points out that “people can explore other possibilities. They can have a different selves and live more freely.” Which, when she was When Pei Er, it was what Su Zu did.

In U’s sprawling digital cityscape, Suzu marvels at her appearance as Belle, a beacon of shimmering pink hair. U’s technology automatically generates an avatar based on the user’s biometric information. After giving up singing Bell after her mother’s death, U saw great abilities. It’s an appealing concept—a mysterious virtual world created by an unknown sage could reinvent an ordinary girl into an idol.It works because Beauty He is more concerned with emotional truth than technical truth.

Also directed by Hosoda future, wolf boy, and summer battle, has been using the internet as the subject of his anime films since 2002 Digital Man: The MovieHis obsession with the virtual world is where our other selves emerge, which fits perfectly with one of anime’s most dominant modern genres: Isekai. Best of 2012 Sword Art Online, isekai describes the transitions and reincarnations of characters in other worlds, particularly virtual worlds, where they realize themselves. “When I look at other directors who deal with internet themes, it tends to be negative, like a dystopia,” Hosoda said. “But I’ve always seen the internet as something for the younger generation to explore and create new worlds. I still hold that view of the internet to this day. So it’s always been optimistic.”

watch Beauty, it is easy to indulge in this optimism. It’s visually stunning, with its rural landscapes and digital metropolis packed with astonishing pixels. At times, Hosada’s films are even a little hard to swallow. Belle’s heroine debut featured her riding a giant flying whale that filled the sky with petals and confetti. In her first concert, she appeared at the neck of a story-high crystal chandelier, which exploded into a gleaming underwater constellation. In several places in the film, Hosoda turns basic things into high-stakes animations that depict their true emotional impact — like turning gossip wars into high-stakes strategy board games. Hosoda handles these overwhelming scenes well, interrupting them with cozy, lo-fi slices of life in Suzu’s country life.

In fact, BeautyThe most captivating moments take place in the sim world (including possibly the best love confession scene in anime). Suzu’s trip to and from school, on the same bridge and on the same train, taught us more about her being alone than in America. This is the first time we hear her nervous singing and see her pine tree on a childhood friend. Much of her character development in the virtual world is disconnected from her character development IRL. Suzu self-isolates from family, community, potential friends and lovers until everyone is brought together through Belle, a metaphor for the Suzu they all already adore – not a diva, just a country girl who loves to sing.

In contrast, Suzu in U immediately felt completely and utterly comfortable in her new role as an international pop star. She sings, she dances, she dresses like Ariana Grande. She decides she has a unique ability to draw out “The Beast,” another player who is considered ungodly and fearsome. Where is this brave new bell in the real world?


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Bounce between IRL and U, each with different plots and hobbies, Beauty Like two or three different movies. Of these, its virtual world component is the weakest. extends to encompass so many subjects, places and things, Beauty Only scratch the surface of its most ground-breaking ideas – especially its message about the potential of empathy and relationships online.

Hosoda told Wired that he “doesn’t have a specific virtual world that I mimicked U.” In fact, it was a London architect, not a game designer, who helped him design. U is completely unconstrained, with no clear purpose, design principle, or topology. It’s also totally unrestrained, with self-styled cops somehow acquiring the technology to use avatars at will. According to Hosada, while we know that users access U using earbud technology that utilizes “the part of the brain that controls vision,” throughout the film, we have no way of understanding when characters enter and exit U, and under what circumstances they leave There.

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