The secretive nature of the film adds to the anticipation as more plot details will only be revealed during its release. This comes after the film’s success and praise in Japan.
Last month, the cinematic world celebrated the return of legendary director Hayao Miyazaki with the unveiling of “The Boy and the Heron.” Its debut in Japan garnered praise, fuelling excitement among fans and critics for its upcoming global premiere.
The buzz surrounding “The Boy and the Heron” has been electric. Marking his return from retirement, Miyazaki masterfully wove a captivating narrative that had remained veiled in secrecy until recently.
As the film’s promotional efforts gained momentum, fresh stills from the animation emerged, intensifying the curiosity of anime enthusiasts and film aficionados. Positive reviews stand as a testament to the director’s genius, leaving us eager to embark on this magical journey.
A Reteller of Stories
Miyazaki’s reputation as a world-builder shines through creations like Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Castle in the Sky, and Princess Mononoke. His affinity for adapting and retelling stories in his unique way is evident in works like Kiki’s Delivery Service, Howl’s Moving Castle, and screenplays such as Arrietty and From Up on Poppy Hill.
The Wind Rises intertwines real-life aeronautical engineer Horikoshi Jirō’s story with elements from Hori Tatsuo’s novella, and Ponyo draws inspiration from Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid.” Tales from Earthsea melds Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea series with Miyazaki’s own manga Shuna no tabi. My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away trace back to Miyazawa Kenji’s “Donguri to yamaneko” and Kashiwaba Sachiko’s Kiri no mukō no fushigi na machi, respectively.
Similarly, John Connolly’s novel The Book of Lost Things serves as a loose framework for The Boy and the Heron, highlighted by Miyazaki’s praise for its Japanese translation.
Hayao Miyazaki’s Final Film ‘The Boy and the Heron’
Miyazaki’s final film, “The Boy and the Heron,” will make its international debut at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival.
A remarkable distinction graces the film as the first Japanese or animated production to inaugurate the festival. This honour stems from its extraordinary achievement as Studio Ghibli’s most successful debut, securing a $13.2 million opening weekend in Japan without promotional efforts.
The film follows a boy named Mahito Maki who discovers an abandoned tower and enters a fantastical world with a talking grey heron.
A Journey Through Worlds
Miyazaki’s 13th cinematic creation, “The Boy and the Heron,” follows a young boy on a quest to rescue his family in a mystical underground realm.
Inspired by Yoshino Genzaburo’s 1937 story and set against World War II, the narrative centres on Mahito, who moves to a rural village after his mother’s passing. A grey heron designates him as the “long-awaited one,” leading him on a journey reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland to a magical underground realm.
Speaking about the decision to eschew traditional marketing campaigns ahead of the film’s launch, Studio Ghibli lead producer Toshio Suzuki told Japanese magazine Bungei Shunji that the company had wanted to “do something different”.
“As part of company operations, over the years Ghibli has wanted people to come see the movies we’ve made. So we’ve thought about that and done a lot of different things for that purpose – but this time we were like, ‘Eh, we don’t need to do that,’” he said.
“Doing the same thing you’ve done before, over and over, you get tired of it. So we wanted to do something different.”
Suzuki described the film as a “grand, fantastical narrative,” brought to life by a dedicated team of 60 animators.
Miyazaki’s 2001 animation Spirited Away was the highest-grossing film in the country’s history, taking in 31.68bn yen ($305m) in Japan. It held the record for 19 years, before being surpassed in 2020 by Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Movie: Mugen Train.
First Look at ‘The Boy and the Heron’ Images
Studio Ghibli has given us a sneak peek of their new movie “The Boy and the Heron” ahead of its international release.
Released in Japan in July, the film has remained a mystery without trailers, synopsis, or much promotion. Now, with 14 new images, fans can finally catch glimpses of the movie, including a wounded heron, a boy talking to a man with bird legs, and a woman managing a nursing home.
Some images even remind us of scenes from Miyazaki’s 1997 film “Princess Mononoke,” with a wounded heron and cheerful marshmallow-like spirits reminiscent of Mononoke’s Kodama.
The images can be seen below (note that the images may contain spoilers!).
The Boy and the Heron is out now in Japan, with a US release later this year and a UK release date yet to be confirmed. Nearly all of Studio Ghibli’s movies are available to stream now on Netflix.
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