Hayao Miyazaki's Latest Final Film Gets A New Title For North American Release


Hayao Miyazaki made his last film ... again? Must be a year ending in a number.

Yes, as famous as the internationally renowned Japanese filmmaker is for making animated masterpieces like "Kiki's Delivery Service" and "Spirited Away," he's almost equally famous for retiring, un-retiring to make one last film, and then repeating the entire cycle. His latest maybe-possibly-for-real-this-time final animated feature only just premiered in Japan under the title "Kimitachi wa Do Ikiruka" (translated to English as "How Do You Live") after forgoing any kind of pre-release advertisements, save for a single — and not exactly revealing — promo image. It's now been officially acquired by GKIDS for its North American theatrical release, in addition to receiving a shiny new international title: "The Boy and the Heron."

"Hayao Miyazaki is a living legend in filmmaking, as evidenced by his Academy Award win for 'Spirited Away' and his two Oscar nominations for 'Howl's Moving Castle' and 'The Wind Rises,'" said David Jesteadt, GKIDS president. "It's been 10 years since the world has seen a new film from Miyazaki-san, and GKIDS is so proud and honored to unveil his latest, highly anticipated masterpiece in North America."

How do you title a film

"The Boy and the Heron" was written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki based on his original story, with Studio Ghibli co-founder Toshio Suzuki producing and Miyazaki's longtime collaborator Joe Hisaishi composing the score. Although the film gets its Japanese title, "How Do You Live," from the 1937 novel of the same name by Yoshino Genzaburō, it's an otherwise original work that, according to the BBC, takes place in Japan during WWII and follows Mahito, a young boy whose mother is tragically killed in a fire. When Mahito's father then marries his wife's younger sister and moves their family to her ancestral home in the countryside, a resentful Mahito wanders off on his own, only to encounter a magical grey heron who leads him on a grand adventure. As the outlet describes it:

Sounds good to me! So long as Miyazaki wants to keep un-retiring and churning out new films, I'll be glad to keep watching them. Even his lesser stuff (looking at you "Ponyo," sorry) is still lightyears ahead of so much in the world of Western animation. Plus, in this day and age, I will take all the hand-drawn animated goodness I can get.

"The Boy and the Heron" will hit U.S. theaters at some point in 2023.

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