The Boy and the Heron

The Boy and the Heron

While the Second World War rages, the teenage Mahito, haunted by his mother's tragic death, is relocated from Tokyo to the serene rural home of his new stepmother Natsuko, a woman who bears a striking resemblance to the boy's mother. As he tries to adjust, this strange new world grows even stranger following the appearance of a persistent gray heron, who perplexes and bedevils Mahito, dubbing him the "long-awaited one."

  • Released: 2023-07-14
  • Runtime: 124 minutes
  • Genre: Adventure, Animation, Fantasy
  • Stars: Soma Santoki, Masaki Suda, Ko Shibasaki, Aimyon, Yoshino Kimura, Keiko Takeshita, Jun Fubuki, Sawako Agawa, Shinobu Otake, Karen Takizawa, Jun Kunimura, Kaoru Kobayashi, Shōhei Hino, Takuya Kimura, Robert Pattinson
  • Director: Hayao Miyazaki
  • basyirstar - 30 June 2024
    I'm completely lost
    This movie narrative is lot more clunky and messed up. Trying to connect the dot for each scene but not able to relate. The 2 hours runtime is merely nothing to the storyline, like you better watch trailer and that is it, a whole movie from the trailer.

    I have never felt bored watching Ghibli film, but this is otherwise. The visual animation is superb. Everything is good. The classic feeling to the film is the most iconic form of choreography and art from Studio Ghibli that is to be praised.

    Look like this is truly the ending for Ghibli studio, and for the most of any anime studio due to content no longer can rival Chinese animation which is gradually growing.
  • boss-981-447297 - 2 June 2024
    It's Ghibli, so it's great, but it's not very obvious why.
    It's been a long time since I watched a Ghibli movie, particularly a Miyazaki-directed movie. That would be The Wind Rises.

    Many people don't know that not all Ghibli movies are directed by Miyazaki himself. The absolute classics are all from Miyazaki: Castle in the Sky, Nausicäa, Kiki's Delivery Service, Porco Rosso, Whispers of the Heart, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, How's Moving Castle, Ponyo, Wind Rises, The Boy and the Heron.

    What about the Grave of the Fireflies? That's an Isao Takahata movie. He also directed less-known titles such as Only Yesterday, Pom Poko, My Neighbors the Yamadas, and Tale of Princess Kaguya.

    Two that could confuse some people, Arrietty and When Marnie was There, were directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi. And finally, Hayao Miyazaki's son, Gorou Miyazaki, directed Tales from Earthsea and From Up on Poppy Hill.

    Hayao declared that he would retire years ago, and even after that, I think he directed The Wind Rises and this new The Boy and the Heron. Maybe this is his last hurrah. At least, it feels like so.

    First and foremost, whoever chose the Western title for this movie should've worked a bit harder. Yes, it's about a boy, and there is a heron. But when you say it like this, the expectation is something like Kiki and her cat Jiji in a colorful, uplifting, family-friendly movie. Maybe Pom Poko vibes. Maybe The Cat Returns vibes.

    But the original Japanese title is actually "Kimi tachi wa dou ikiruka", which means something along the lines of "How do you live?" The Wind Rises was a biopic-like movie, a more serious story about pursuing dreams and excellence. Although serious, it had this inspirational vibe, fulfilling one's duty. It's an adult-themed movie. This is a very big departure from Hayao's previous movies like Ponyo, Howl, and Spirited Away.

    The Boy and the Heron's first scene is almost a clip from Grave of the Fireflies. It starts with tragedy. Ponyo and Howl, yes, you could take your children along. Spirited Away, it's arguable. The Wind Rises would bore any children out of their minds. But The Boy and the Heron is absolutely not for children. You were advised.

    This is no Porco Rosso, for sure. At the same time, it's not dark and edgy like Princess Mononoke. It's not meant to be scary. This new movie is introspective and more philosophical. Therefore, it requires a lot more from the audience. You must know that this will not be an easy ride.

    But this is also not a sad movie like Grave of the Fireflies. It has sad themes, it has uplifting themes, but what the journey is about is not apparent. I am still having a hard time wrapping my head around what I just saw.

    The protagonist is neither a tragic hero nor an exciting adventurer. It's difficult to actually like him for most of the movie. He is stoic, he doesn't behave like a child his age. He feels more like a young adult already. He's obviously mourning, but he is not suffering or traumatized. But this is not the usual self-discovery story.

    In many ways, The Wind Rises is more or less about Hayao Miyazaki himself, his drive to create, his sentiment of duty towards his craft, and his obsession with the purity of hand-drawn animation, for example.

    Then, The Boy and the Heron feel like what his soul is like. Where the many worlds of his many movies come from. It feels like a movie that could be the last of one, the one to wrap up his life-long creation.

    There are still a ton of references that I need help understanding the true meaning of, symbols like boats, pelicans, the heron itself, towers, etc. There is enough symbology to make any YouTuber happy to break down frame by frame and analyze for eons.

    My gripe with this movie is that it needs to be a slow burner so we can digest what it's trying to say. In many parts, I almost felt bored by the protagonist's pacing and excessive stoicism. Instead of running alongside the hero on an exciting journey, it felt more like a documentary or biopic. Oppenheimer felt more active than this. Yes, it is this slow.

    That's why, although it feels like a worthy last chapter in Hayao's series of movies, it's not his masterpiece.

    Sadly, it's a 7 out of 10 in my book. I think it's worth watching with all the disclaimers in mind.

    I feel like I will understand this better and maybe even like it a bit more after a second watch. This is Hayao's most difficult movie to digest so far.
  • MJB784 - 2 May 2024
    I really wanted to like this movie because the animation is so well drawn and colorful.
    Unfortunately, the story and pacing are frustrating. The opening starts quite well as the young boy is missing his parents who died in a fire during World War 2 and he's adopted. He sees a beautiful bird flying known as Heron in Japan, but soon the bird is mischievous and has a human face inside his beak and speaks. Soon, he's trusted into this other world where a hallway full of doors opens to various places and various things happen. This also includes a door he and a lost girl walk through that sends them in the fireplace of someone's house while the fire is on. As you can tell, the story becomes more difficult than needed and I was disappointed since I enjoy some of Miyazaki's other movies.
  • zhangyijia-59529 - 4 April 2024
    Perfect movie
    This is a perfectly animated film, there is nothing wrong with it. If anything it's not very comprehensible, which makes it feel bad. But if you really think about this movie, it will make you cry and learn a lot. There is no doubt that the Oscar is the best proof. I believe most people will not question this award. This is a masterpiece of genius This is how Miyazaki wants people to remember him forever, and we need to understand and appreciate him. He is the top cartoonist in the world. I hope everyone who loves anime will go see this last film of Hayao Miyazaki. The above is my personal opinion, and I pay tribute to Hayao Miyazaki!