You know how people complain that trailers these days reveal too much of the movie? That will not be an issue with The Boy and the Heron.
The latest (and final) film from director Hayao Miyazaki, the mastermind behind My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, and Spirited Away, has been shrouded in mystery since it was announced. This is by design: Studio Ghibli made the “unprecedented decision” to release no trailers or promotional material, outside of one image, from the animated film; there isn’t even an official plot synopsis. It’s the anti-Barbie, in other words. But The Boy and the Heron (which was formerly referred to by its tentative title, How Do You Live) is now out in Japan, so plot details have been revealed.
Skip this paragraph if you want to know nothing about The Boy and the Heron, but the film is about “a boy who moves to the countryside with his father after his mother dies in a fire in wartime Japan. There, he meets a heron who transports him to an alternate universe, where the mystery of his mother’s death is slowly revealed,” according to the Guardian.
The first reviews have also been published.
Anime News Network raved, “It’s truly astounding. Every frame of this film feels like a separate work of art — one that only becomes grander when put together as part of the greater whole. It’s a film you could watch a hundred times and still discover new things in the background of any given scene.”
SoraNews24’s review was equally effusive: “it’s Hayao Miyazaki’s magnum opus… The movie is a culmination of years of dedication to the craft of writing, creating and directing anime, displaying glimmers of past Ghibli works in its adventure scenes, but with a gravitas befitting the heavy subject material that marks Miyazaki’s skill as a director.” Here’s more:
Not going to put anything resembling spoilers here but man, what a joy to see another film by the master. Got a bit misty seeing his name on the end credits.
— Matt Schley (@rhymeswithguy) July 14, 2023
Found the definitive review of How Do You Live? pic.twitter.com/u2Z9BJahgr
— 𝕲𝖗𝖎𝖒𝖘 𝕮𝖍𝖎𝖑𝖉 (@GrimsChild) July 14, 2023
How Do You Live? Review!
So cool & trippy! The animation is amazing! Starts off like The Wind Rises then becomes slightly Spirited Away, then very Howl’s Moving Castle. Some characters were straight up weird. Slow start but fantastical & moving! Must see for Ghibli fans
— Genki✨ (@Genki_JPN) July 14, 2023
The Boy and The Heron doesn’t have an American release date yet, but GKIDS, which has the North American distribution rights, announced it will be sometime this year. Just give it Best Animated Feature now.
GKIDS is honored to announce the acquisition of North American rights to THE BOY AND THE HERON, the new film from Hayao Miyazaki & Studio Ghibli.
— GKIDS Films (@GKIDSfilms) July 14, 2023