A decade after the release of Hayao Miyazaki’s previous “final film,” the trailer for his most recent opus is now available. Downgraded from the original title How Do You Live, Miyazaki’s new film, now dubbed The Boy And The Heron, was released in Japan without any promotion, hoping the director’s pristine batting average would drive people to theaters.
It worked; the film is Studio Ghibli’s most successful debut ever. Still, we Americans won’t see anything without a commercial, so we’re fortunate to get a sneak peek at the master animator’s upcoming film before its official release. And, man, does this have some captivating imagery?
Miyazaki’s seven-year voyage to bring this film to the big screen appears to have been well worth the wait, judging by the sweltering heat waves and a swarm of frogs beckoning our protagonist to the afterlife.
The minute-long teaser is a montage of hand-drawn animation, unlike anything Hollywood has ever produced, conjuring the whimsy and adventure of Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro as well as the grave stakes of Howl’s Moving Castle and Princess Mononoke. Importantly, Miyazaki’s propensity for depicting the oddest, cutest elderly ladies remains intact.
The film was kept in utmost secrecy for months. A solitary teaser image was released to Japanese audiences prior to the film’s release, a strategy presumably inspired by The Whale. GKIDS has released, in lieu of an enigmatic release strategy, a teaser trailer, and an appropriately poetic synopsis for the film.
A young boy named Mahito
yearning for his mother
ventures into a world shared by the living and the dead.
There, death comes to an end,
and life finds a new beginning.
A semi-autobiographical fantasy
about life, death, and creation,
in tribute to friendship,
from the mind of Hayao Miyazaki.
The Boy And The Heron hits theaters and IMAX on December 8.