A new spell is about to be cast. In news first reported by The New York Times, we learned that Hayao Miyazaki would create a brand new Studio Ghibli movie, The Boy and the Heron. This is the last new Studio Ghibli movie, according to the publication. And one we are all excited to see take shape.

The Boy and the Heron First Look Images

First Look image at Hayao Miyazaki's The Boy and the Heron
Studio Ghibli

The new Miyazaki movie, tentatively titled, How Do You Live released in Japan on July 14, 2023. In the US, the movie is titled “The Boy and the Heron” and it will arrive “later this year,” per its North American distributor GKids.

Although, purposefully, no trailer was released for the movie, we recently got our first good look at the animation that lies in store. All the hallmarks of a great Miyazaki movie, strange creatures, wild nature, and a tender relationship, appear to be in order.

Additionally, The Boy and the Heron released a poster in December 2022, but little more information is available yet about the film. What we do know, however, is below.

More About Miyazaki’s How Do You Live

The original article offered us a glimpse at the film, saying:

Neither Miyazaki nor Suzuki will share much about the forthcoming film, beyond the fact that it is based on a 1937 novel by Genzaburo Yoshino. The story concerns a 15-year-old boy in Tokyo, small for his age and fond of mischief, whose father has recently died. In the English translation by Bruno Navasky, published in October, the boy gazes out at the city and is overwhelmed: “The watching self, the self being watched, and furthermore the self becoming conscious of all this, the self observing itself by itself, from afar, all those various selves overlapped in his heart, and suddenly he began to feel dizzy.”

The actual content of the film could be anything — Suzuki has described it as “fantasy on a grand scale” — since Miyazaki doesn’t so much borrow stories as liberate them from their origins. (In the pseudobiographical “The Wind Rises,” he gives the real-life Jiro Horikoshi a fictional wife dying of tuberculosis.) All Suzuki will share is that he recognizes himself in one of the characters, who is not human.

Studio Ghibli

Miyazaki’s works deal with many themes, popular among them coming-of-age narratives and discussions of nature vs. man. Fantasy always serves to heighten the aspects of reality that we can all understand. And, of course, incredibly intricate animation that soothes and moves us ties it all together. If this film will offer us something even grander than before, then it will truly astound.

Though the 1937 novel goes unnamed in the article, it appears Miyazaki will adapt How Do You Live? While this news appears to have released in some capacity at previous times, this feels like a formalization of intent. The book has long influenced Miyazaki, who cites it as his favorite childhood read.

Studio Ghibli

But will this truly be Miyazaki’s last film? Of course, Miyazaki has famously announced retirement before, only to return. Well, only time will tell. Miyazaki’s producer and partner Suzuki has only this insight, which the article shares. “In the West, we always need to know how things end. At Ghibli, the last scene is often a mystery.”

We look forward to this next great adventure.

Originally published on November 23, 2021.