The Boy and the Heron

The Boy and the Heron


Original Title: 君たちはどう生きるか

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A young boy comes to grips with the death of his mother

The Boy and The Heron centres around a young boy, Soma Santoki, who has recently lost his mother and is grappling with his grief. Sent away to live with his aunt, he contemplates of some of life’s greatest philosophical questions.

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What to know

Hayao Miyazaki returns with his final Studio Ghibli film

The Boy and the Heron is a Japanese fantasy anime written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. The screenplay is inspired by Genzaburo Yoshino’s 1937 novel of the same name, but the film is not a direct adaptation. Miyazaki is a pioneer in the animation industry, and his legendary body of work includes Castle in the Sky, Princess Mononoke, My Neighbour Totoro and the Academy Award winning Spirited Away.  How Do You Live? is produced by Studio Ghibli co-founder and frequent Miyazaki collaborator, Toshio Suzuki. Takeshi Honda serves as animation director on the film, with Joe Hisaishi handling the score. Hisaishi has worked on every Miyazaki film except 1979’s Lupin the Third: The Castle of Cagliostro, which was Miyazaki’s feature length directorial debut 

The Boy and the Heron is highly anticipated, considering he is coming out of retirement to direct this final film. Miyazaki initially announced his retirement in 2013 during a press conference in Venice after the release of The Wind Rises. The Boy and the Heron is his twelfth film.  

Production News

  • 6 September 2013
    • Legendary filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki announces his retirement following the release of The Wind Rises. (Source: Entertainment Weekly)
  • 28 October 2017
    • Miyazaki came out of retirement and revealed he will direct one more upcoming project titled How Do You Live? It will reportedly be the final film from the master director.  (Source: Anime News Network)
  • 29 November 2017
    • How Do You Live? is described as being an “action-adventure-fantasy” film. (Source: Anime News Network)
  • 6 August 2018
    • The film is reportedly not expected to be completed for another three to four years. (Source: Anime News Network)
  • 17 December 2019
    • The film is 15% complete following three years of production. (Source: Anime News Network)
  • 8 March 2021
    • During an interview, Toshio Suzuki confirmed that the animation for the film had reached the halfway mark of its completion. (Source: Anime News Network)
  • 13 December 2022
    • Studio Ghibli confirms How Do You Live? will be released in Japan on July 14, 2023. The first poster from the film is released, featuring a close up of a hand-drawn bird with blue and white feathers. (Source: Entertainment Weekly)
  • 5 June 2023
    • Studio Ghibli intends to maintain a veil of secrecy for as long as possible regarding their final film by legendary director Miyazaki. Rather than engaging in pre-release advertising and providing detailed information, Studio Ghibli and its partners have chosen to adopt a different approach. So far, they have only unveiled a single mysterious poster featuring a bird. In an interview with Bungei Shunju magazine, Studio Ghibli's president and producer, Toshio Suzuki, explained this unique strategy as a way to arouse the curiosity of fans. Suzuki stated, "By keeping the film's details under wraps, fans will be intrigued and compelled to personally experience the film. To achieve this, they will have to visit a theatre." (Source: Variety)
  • 27 July 2023
    • How Do You Live (titled 'The Boy and The Heron' for English-speaking audiences), will open the 48th Toronto International Film Festival on September 7, 2023. (Source: Variety) 
  • 14 August 2023
    • Studio Ghibli releases first images from 'The Boy and The Heron'. (Source: Collider)
  • 6 September 2023
    • An official teaser trailer is released, sharing more details about the storyline for Miyazaki's final Studio Ghibli film. (Source: Variety)
  • 17 October 2023
    • The English voice cast for 'The Boy and The Heron' is announced, and includes Christian Bale as Shiochi Maki, Robert Pattinson as the Grey Heron, and Luca Padovan as Soma Santoki. The main cast also features Florence Pugh, Gemma Chan, Dave Bautista, Willem Dafoe, Karen Fukuhara and Mark Hamill. (Source: The Playlist)
  • 3 November 2023
    • The official English trailer for The Boy and The Heron is released, with Christian Bale leading the ensemble cast as Shiochi Maki. (Source: Collider)
  • 8 November 2023
    • After Crunchyroll and Sony acquired the AU and NZ rights to The Boy and The Heron, an Australian release date of December 7, 2023 has been announced. The film will premiere in cinemas across the country. (Source: ScreenHub)
  • 7 December 2023
    • The Boy and The Heron is released in Australia.


IMDB 7.6 (43k)


Animation, Drama, Kids & Family, Fantasy


2h 4min

Age rating


Production country



Hayao Miyazaki


Soma Santoki
Mahito Maki (voice)
Masaki Suda
Gray Heron (voice)
Ko Shibasaki
Kiriko (voice)
Lady Himi (voice)
Yoshino Kimura
Natsuko (voice)
Takuya Kimura
Shoichi Maki (voice)
Keiko Takeshita
Izumi (voice)
Jun Fubuki
Utako (voice)
Sawako Agawa
Eriko (voice)
Karen Takizawa
Warawara (voice)
Shinobu Otake
Aiko (voice)
Jun Kunimura
The Parakeet King (voice)
Kaoru Kobayashi
Noble Pelican (voice)