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[Studio Ghibli] “The Boy and the Heron” visuals and storyline have been released

"The Boy and the Heron" visuals and storyline have been released Park-Info
"The Boy and the Heron" visuals and storyline have been released © 2023 Studio Ghibli
All still images of Studio Ghibli films in this article are from the “Scene photo courtesy page” and are used under the policy of “Please use freely within common sense.

On August 18, 2023, the visuals, voice actors, and story of “The Boy and the Heron,” Studio Ghibli’s first film directed by Hayao Miyazaki in 10 years, were unveiled.

This will be the first 2D animated film produced completely in-house by Studio Ghibli in 10 years, and it has attracted a great deal of attention even before its release.

In this article, we will provide an overview of the new film “The Boy and the Heron,” which has attracted the attention of Ghibli fans around the world as well as in Japan.

What is Studio Ghibli’s “The Boy and the Heron”?

What is Studio Ghibli's "The Boy and the Heron"?

What is Studio Ghibli’s “The Boy and the Heron”? © 2023 Studio Ghibli

“The Boy and the Heron,” the Japanese version of which is titled “How Do You Live?” is based on the 1937 novel of the same name by Genzaburo Yoshino.
君たちはどう生きるか - Wikipedia
It is also known as a liberal arts classic in the form of children’s literature, as the boy nicknamed “Kopel” and his uncle deal with spiritual growth, poverty, and the overall human experience.
The story of “The Boy and the Heron,” which will be discussed below, makes it clear that it is not a film based on this novel. However, it is possible to see thematic similarities between the two.
In 2017, the book was adapted into a comic book, which was an exceptional hit for a remake, publishing about 2 million copies in one year.
It was also on display in a bookstore on the south street of “The Great Warehouse of Ghibli.”(^^)
"The Boy and the Heron," the Japanese version of "How Do You Live?"

“The Boy and the Heron,” the Japanese version of “How Do You Live?”

No advertisements and no visuals

Studio Ghibli’s film “The Boy and the Heron” has followed a policy of no advertising until its release.
Indeed, until the film’s release on August 18 (Japan time), only the key visuals of a white and blue bird (a heron?) have been released.

The only visuals that were publicized were the key white and blue birds (egrets?).

The only other advertisement that could be considered an advertisement was the fact that the film was about Hayao Miyazaki’s de facto retirement.

Even with that level of advertising, as of August 14, one month after the film’s release, it had drawn 4.12 million viewers and grossed around 4.7 billion yen.
The high name value of director Hayao Miyazaki has not changed.

The film is scheduled to be released in North America by the end of 2023, and is already attracting a great deal of attention.

Fandango has also picked it up on “X” (formerly Twitter). This means that the North American release may be coming soon.

However, this information may have been a little bit of a flight (it was posted on August 15!).

Story of “The Boy and the Heron”

The Boy and the Heron” is a movie that has already been released in Japan, so you may have already checked it out if you are interested.

Here we would like to briefly introduce the story of “The Boy and the Heron.

Since the movie has not been released yet, I will not write the whole story. If you want to watch the movie without prior knowledge, please skip this section.

Also, if you have read it, please take into consideration their level of interest when you tell your friends who are Ghibli fans.

“The Boy and the Heron” Story Summary

The story is set three years after the war began to break out and follows the growth and adventures of a young boy named Mahito.

Mahito experiences the death of his mother Hisako, his father Katsuichi remarries, and he is evacuated to his maternal family home. At the family home, there is a mysterious building called a tower, and Mahito’s interest in the tower is at the center of the story.

The story alternates between the real world and another dimension called “the world below.

Mahito has a hard time fitting in at school and is assaulted by a local boy. Later, he is confronted by a mysterious creature called a blue heron with a wooden sword, and is rescued by him.

The blue heron appears as the one who leads Mahito to his involvement with the tower.

With the help of the blue heron, Mahito goes to the tower to explore its secrets. He enters the “world below” and meets a girl named Himi.

Mahito and Himi face challenges in the “world below” and try to figure out the connection to the tower.

Mahito and Himi are one step closer to solving the mystery of the tower, but the events that take place inside the tower are not the only ones that will be solved.

However, the “world below” is on the verge of collapse due to the events inside the tower and the Parrot King’s disruption of the balance of power.

The story follows their inner struggles, their growth, and their battle for the fate of the world.

Mahito and his friends venture out into the unknown with their great-uncle’s teachings and their own beliefs in mind.

And in the second part of the story…

No, from here on out, watch the movie and enjoy!(^^)

I am not sure how much I can write about this, but I hope it will be of interest and lead to a new experience of Studio Ghibli’s works.

Like myself, there are more than a few people who like Hayao Miyazaki’s original stories. I believe that this work can be especially recommended to such people.

“The Boy and the Heron” characters and visuals

"The Boy and the Heron" characters and visuals

“The Boy and the Heron” characters and visuals © 2023 Studio Ghibli

As mentioned earlier, “The Boy and the Heron” did not receive any advance publicity, and the film’s synopsis, voice cast, and everything else remained a mystery until the film’s release.

It was not until the afternoon of the Japanese release of “The Boy and the Heron” that the casting of the voice actors was finally revealed.

Here is a visual of the characters in “The Boy and the Heron” and a brief introduction of the voice actors for the Japanese version of the film.

It would be nice to see the voices of the characters and to imagine who would be the voice actors for the roles in the English version or in your native language.

Let’s start with the main character, Mahito.

“The Boy and the Heron” protagonist Mahito

"The Boy and the Heron"protagonist Mahito

“The Boy and the Heron”protagonist Mahito© 2023 Studio Ghibli

Mahito, the protagonist of this work, is a boy who lost his mother in an air raid during the war and feels a sense of loss.

He and his father Katsuichi evacuate to his mother’s new mansion, where they are drawn into another world and grow up through strange experiences.

Mahito /Santoki Souma

Mahito is voiced by Santoki Souma.

Born in 2005, this actor has been active as a child actor since childhood and appeared in the live-action film “The Promised Neverland.

You can hear his voice in a video (different content) on Santoki Souma’s “X” (formerly Twitter), so we have included the information for your reference.

“The Boy and the Heron” Mahito’s Father Katsuichi

"The Boy and the Heron" Mahito's Father Katsuichi

“The Boy and the Heron” Mahito’s Father Katsuichi© 2023 Studio Ghibli

Mahito’s father, a businessman who runs an airplane factory. After the death of Hisako, Mahito’s mother, he marries Hisako’s younger sister, Natsuko.

He is a shrewd businessman who took Mahito and evacuated to Natsuko’s countryside from Tokyo, which was heavily bombed during the war.

Katsuichi /Takuya Kimura

Takuya Kimura may be Japan’s most successful actor in terms of attracting an audience.

He has gone from being a member of an idol group to a solo artist, and now focuses mainly on his acting career.

He has played the role of Howl in “Howl’s Moving Castle” and other important roles in Ghibli films.

“The Boy and the Heron” was also a sure bet for some kind of casting long before the voice actor was announced.

“The Boy and the Heron” Mahito’s Mather Natsuko

"The Boy and the Heron" Mahito's Mather Nastuko

“The Boy and the Heron” Mahito’s Mather Nastuko

Hisako, Mahito’s mother, and Natsuko, his new mother, are biological sisters.

Their faces look exactly alike, and they have lived in a mansion with a mysterious tower since they were children.

Natsuko, perhaps because of her complicated relationship with Mahito, enters the other world herself.

“The Boy and the Heron” Aosaghi& Saghi otoko

"The Boy and the Heron" Aosaghi& Saghi otoko

“The Boy and the Heron” Aosaghi& Saghi otoko © 2023 Studio Ghibli

A heron who invites Mahito into another world. He is also a “heron man” who can change into human form.

Mahito holds his precious feather in his hand as he travels with him, and serves as his guide in the other world.

Aosaghi& Saghi otoko actor /Masaki Suda

Born in 1993, Masaki Suda is a young and talented actor who has appeared in numerous films and TV dramas.

He is handsome to the point of being too good to be used as a voice actor in animation. (Mottainai in Japanese) so much.

He has a YouTube channel, so you may listen to his voice and compare the difference with the role before watching the movie.

“The Boy and the Heron” girl Himi

"The Boy and the Heron" girl Himi

“The Boy and the Heron” girl Himi © 2023 Studio Ghibli

Himi, the girl Mahito meets in the other world, whose name was mentioned in the story introduction.

She is called “Himi-sama(=Miss Himi)” by the young Chirico in the other world, and can appear from flames or shoot fire to ward off enemies.

Himi actress/Aimyon

Himi is voiced by singer-songwriter Aimyon.

Since her debut in 2016, she has released a series of hit songs such as “Marigold” and “Harunohi”.

She is a talented singer who has written many theme songs for movies and TV dramas; if you like J-Pop, you may know her.

You can listen to her singing voice on her YouTube channel.

“The Boy and the Heron” Kiriko

"The Boy and the Heron" Kiriko

“The Boy and the Heron” Kiriko © 2023 Studio Ghibli

Chirico, the first sailor woman Mahito met in the other world.

She is the otherworldly form of Chirico, an old woman from the mansion that entered the other world with Mahito, and the old woman Chirico became a doll to protect Mahito.

“The Boy and the Heron” Old Perican

"The Boy and the Heron" Old Perican

“The Boy and the Heron” Old Perican© 2023 Studio Ghibli

Pelicans live in another world and eat the “Walla Walla(=means straw men?)” who are reincarnated as humans.

One old pelican met Mahito before the end of his life span and told him about the “karma” of pelicans in this world.

“The Boy and the Heron” Warawara

"The Boy and the Heron" Warawara

“The Boy and the Heron” Warawara

Mahito encounters the “Walla Walla,” a mysterious creature in another world.

These small, cute and numerous creatures that move around on their own are also seen in “Princess Mononoke” and “Ponyo on the Cliff”.

They are eaten by Old Pericans, which is a bit pitiful or something…

I guess we can agree that they have cute voices and that it is a chain of living creatures.

Warawara actress / Karen Takizawa

The voice of Warawara is played by fashion model Karen Takizawa, a 1992-born TV personality who has appeared in a number of TV shows.

As with Masaki Suda’s appearance, many were surprised by the appointment of a voice actor.

あ、見つかりました? 滝沢カレンです。

“The Boy and the Heron” Old Women

"The Boy and the Heron" Old Women

“The Boy and the Heron” Old Women © 2023 Studio Ghibli

Several old ladies who live in Katsuichi’s mansion and serve as servants appear on the stage.

The four main characters are Aiko, Izumi, Eriko, and Utako.

All of them are voiced by well-known actors in Japan, but we omit their introduction here.

“The Boy and the Heron” Lord of Another World, Great Uncle

"The Boy and the Heron" Lord of Another World, Great Uncle

“The Boy and the Heron” Lord of Another World, Great Uncle © 2023 Studio Ghibli

The “Tono-sama” who invites Mahito to another world with the intention of making him his successor.

He is actually Hisako and Natsuko’s great-uncle, who is building another world with “building blocks”.

“The Boy and the Heron” King of the parakeets

"The Boy and the Heron" King of the parakeets

“The Boy and the Heron” King of the parakeets © 2023 Studio Ghibli

He is a parrot king who leads a large army of parrots in another world.

He pays respect to Tono, the creator of the other world.

On the other hand, he also wants to make a deal with Tono using Himi.

This article is not of the usual practical nature, but rather, unusually(?) This article is a review of a movie that has just been released.

Since the latter half of July, we have occasionally received inquiries (for some reason) asking “What’s it about? I decided to write a short article about the film since the visuals were recently released.

As I mentioned in the article, it seems to be an original story by Hayao Miyazaki, so I think it will be interesting, enjoyable, and thought-provoking.

There is not much information about this movie in English-speaking countries, so I hope it will be helpful for those who are thinking about seeing it.



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