The Boy and the Heron is Hayao Miyazaki's first feature animation film in the last ten years.
Japanese master animator and filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki returned to film direction with The Boy and the Heron, a deeply personal and emotional film laced with magic realism. Miyazaki draws a lot of inspiration from his childhood and is said to have modelled several of the film's principal characters on real-life that he has known and has been inspired by, including Studio Ghibli's late co-founder/filmmaker Isao Takahata and Toshio Suzuki, who is the studio's co-founder and also the film's producer.
The Boy and the Heron is Hayao Miyazaki's first feature animation film after The Wind Rises in 2013, around which he announced his retirement from filmmaking. This would change, of course, when he would announce a couple of years later that he had opted to use his own life in war-ridden Japan as a guiding line to write and direct his next. The Boy and the Heron was thus born, making it arguably his most and only prominently personal film to date.
Does that mean the legendary filmmaker is here to stay for a bit longer? Or will his latest mark the true end of his legacy? The answer tends to neither of the two extremes but there seems no certainty either, except for the fact that Miyazaki will not be retiring.
Speaking to Indiewire about the film, its making and Hayao Miyazaki's future as a filmmaker, Studio Ghibli's Toshio Suzuki revealed that the veteran has regained confidence to work on new stories. However, the filmmaker remains engrossed in The Boy and the Heron which is still in theatres and according to Suzuki, Miyazaki can start focusing on new ideas only once he empties his mind.
"...and then when he’s emptied his mind with a blank canvas, he usually comes up with new ideas. So we have to wait a little more,” said Toshio Suzuki in the interview.
The Boy and the Heron is set to release in theatres in North America on December 8 and the English-dubbed version of the film will include voices of Christian Bale, Florence Pugh, Robert Pattinson, Dave Bautista, Willem Dafoe, Mark Hamill and others.