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Hayao Miyazaki Is Back: The Enchanting First Trailer for Studio Ghibli's 'The Boy and the Heron' Is Here

The iconic filmmaker's first film in a decade is "a semi-autobiographical fantasy about life, death and creation".
By Sarah Ward
September 07, 2023
By Sarah Ward
September 07, 2023

Hayao Miyazaki is back to spirit audiences away — again. Ten years ago, the Studio Ghibli great released The Wind Rises, which was expected to be his last film. The movie maestro even announced his retirement. Thankfully, however, he changed his mind quickly. Now, more than half a decade after that welcome news, his next film exists, has hit cinemas in Japan, is doing the rounds of the film festival circuit and just dropped its first trailer. Prepare to be enchanted: this sneak peek at The Boy and the Heron is pure Miyazaki magic.

The My Neighbour Totoro, Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle icon's latest was confirmed back in late 2022 for a 2023 release, at least overseas. Back then, it was known as How Do You Live, but has changed its title since. In what's described as "a semi-autobiographical fantasy about life, death and creation" in the official synopsis, The Boy and the Heron follows a boy called Mahito. Pining for his mother, he experiences the realm where the living and the dead converge — and yes, plenty of Miyazaki's trademarks already exist in that short synopsis.

The Boy and the Heron

While The Boy and the Heron hit the big screen in July in Miyazaki's homeland, it did so without the usual promotional campaign, which is why a trailer is only dropping now. Indeed, the subtitled teaser is part of the movie's US release, which is slated for December. At the time of writing, the feature doesn't have a release date Down Under — but it'll obviously get one.

There's nothing quite like a Miyazaki movie. While Studio Ghibli isn't short on gorgeous on-screen wonders hailing from a range of filmmakers, the Japanese animation house's best-known co-founder truly does make films like no one else. The Boy and the Heron already looks stunning — unsurprisingly — in its debut glimpse, complete with lush greenery, mysterious spaces and floating critters. And, of course, with Mahito and the picture's titular bird making appearances.

The Boy and the Heron

The trailer opens with a city on fire, too, then includes beckoning frogs and a figure made of flames. A traditional Japanese home, a lit-up corridor, swords and arrows, a blazing sky: they all pop up as well.

The Boy and the Heron marks Ghibli's fifth film since Miyazaki's last movie, following Isao Takahata's The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, page-to-screen treat When Marnie Was There, gorgeous French co-production The Red Turtle and the CGI-animated Earwig and the Witch.

Check out the first trailer for The Boy and the Heron below:

The Boy and the Heron is already open in Japan, and will release in the US on Friday, December 8, 2023. The film doesn't yet have a release date Down Under — we'll update you when one is announced. 

Images: © 2023 Studio Ghibli.

Published on September 07, 2023 by Sarah Ward
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