The Boy and The Heron - The Musings of a Master
Written by Zoe Crombie
Since the mid 1980s, Studio Ghibli have been putting out some of the most technically impressive and emotionally resonant animations of all time – but is their time coming to a close? Many staff have left to form the rival Studio Ponoc, co-founder Isao Takahata has passed away, and the iconic Hayao Miyazaki, the director behind masterpieces like Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro, is now in his 80s, coming in and out of retirement. But this doesn’t mean that any corners are being cut in production; their most recent feature took ten painstaking years to create, and may be their most complex work yet.
Following a young boy made to live with his stepmother who enters a bizarre world outside of time after meeting a strange heron-man, The Boy and the Heron is one of the studio’s strangest stories yet, taking you on a journey like no other through landscapes that could only be rendered in their gorgeous style of animation. Like other Ghibli releases, this one also features a star-studded English language cast, with performers like Robert Pattinson, Florence Pugh, and Christian Bale all lending their voices, to coincide with the original Japanese track – whichever you choose, you can’t go wrong.
It's safe to say that The Boy and the Heron is an event, regardless of whether this is Miyazaki’s swan song or if he has another feature in him. But if it is his final film, it’s a poignant, reflective note to go out on that could only have come from a true master of the mode.