Songs from the hit Japanese anime ‘Belle’ you should be listening to right now

Listen to them on Spotify or watch the music videos on YouTube. Be warned: the songs will live in your head rent-free

Emma Steen
Written by
Emma Steen
Staff Writer, Time Out Tokyo
Photo: Spotify Japan

A few weeks ago, Studio Chizu’s latest anime by director Mamoru Hosoda made headlines after the film received a 14-minute standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival. There are lots of things about the film that make it deserving of the praise, from its sensational visuals to its timely message about the way we interact in a digital age. However, it’s the film’s mesmerising soundtrack that makes it truly memorable. 

A playlist of the songs from the film has recently been released on Spotify. Moreover, the best tracks have also been uploaded to YouTube, complete with their own original music videos. ‘Belle’ is now showing in theatres across Japan, but if you have yet to watch it, it’s still worth listening to these four chart bangers for a little taste of what’s to come.

Millenium Parade –  U 

Kicking things off with a bang is this firecracker of a theme song produced by the music collective Millenium Parade. This music video, which has amassed nearly 10 million views since it was first released, flings us straight into the virtual world of ‘U’ where we’re hit with a sensory overload of colours and peculiar-looking characters. The song’s music and lyrics are by Daiki Tsuneta while the vocals are performed by singer-songwriter Kaho Nakamura, who voices Suzu/Belle in the movie. 

Hanabare no Kimi e Part 1

This melodic piece is a slightly different flavour from the film’s main theme, with gentle piano notes and a hint of longing in the vocals. The accompanying music video features live-action visuals shot in Kochi prefecture where the film takes place and includes some of the sites Hosoda used as references for the film.

Kokoro no Soba ni

It’s no secret that Hosoda’s film is partially inspired by Disney’s 1991 animation ‘Beauty and the Beast’, in which the main character is also named Belle. In this uplifting lyric video, you’ll instantly recognise some of the visual similarities between the two animations as Belle and the beast (a dragon called Ryu) share a dance in a castle and float into the starry night sky.

Uta Yo 

In this raw music video, Kaho Nakamura puts a different spin on a song she wrote for ‘Belle’. As though performing for herself, Nakamura sings of loneliness while trying to find comfort in music – a sentiment also expressed by her character, Suzu. 

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