Studio Ghibli's newest film, The Boy and the Heron, has the sort of evocative premise one expects from the legendary auteur Hayao Miyazaki: "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."
The film, Miyazaki's first feature in 10 years, has been shrouded in secrecy, even following its debut in Japan this summer (where the movie was released as Kimitachi wa Do Ikiru ka, or How Do You Live?). Miyazaki directed The Boy and the Heron from an original story, with the hand-drawn animated film being hailed as "a semi-autobiographical fantasy about life, death, and creation."
Miyazaki previously won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature in 2003 for Spirited Away, and received additional nominations for Howl's Moving Castle (2005) and The Wind Rises (2013). The filmmaker also received an Honorary Oscar in 2015.
Watch the original trailer below.
For the English-language dub, Studio Ghibli assembled a voice cast comprising Oscar winner Christian Bale (who previously dubbed the title character in Howl's Moving Castle) and nominees Willem Dafoe and Florence Pugh, plus Dave Bautista, Gemma Chan, Mark Hamill, and Robert Pattinson (in his voice acting debut).
Watch the English-language trailer below.
Following its premiere at the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival — where it made history as the first animated film to open TIFF — both the original Japanese and dubbed English versions of The Boy and the Heron will arrive in theaters on Dec. 8.