GKIDS announced on Friday that it has licensed Hayao Miyazaki‘s latest feature film The Boy and the Heron (Kimi-tachi wa Dō Ikiru ka, or literally How Do You Live?) film, and it will release the film in North American theaters later this year. Cinema Today and Oricon reported on Friday the cast, staff, and plot summary.
Soma Santoki, who is 18 years old, voices the main character Mahito Maki. Takuya Kimura makes a special appearance. The cast also includes Masaki Suda, Kou Shibasaki, Aimyon, Yoshino Kimura, Keiko Takeshita, Jun Fubuki, Sawako Agawa, Karen Takizawa, Shinobu Ōtake, Jun Kunimura, Kaoru Kobayashi, and Shohei Hino.
Miyazaki is credited with the original work, in addition to directing the film and writing the script. Takeshi Honda (Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea, Rebuild of Evangelion films) is the animation director. Joe Hisaishi (Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, My Neighbor Totoro) composed the music. Studio Ghibli co-founder Toshio Suzuki is the producer.
The story takes place during World War II. After Mahito loses his mother during the firebombings of Tokyo, he and his father move to the countryside. There, Mahito’s father gets remarried to his late mother’s pregnant sister. As Mahito struggles with his situation, he encounters a talking heron and enters another world based on a promise that he can meet his mother again.
The film opened simultaneously on IMAX with its general release in Japan on Friday. The film is the first Studio Ghibli film to get a simultaneous IMAX release. The film is also also screening in Dolby Atmos, Dolby Cinema, and DTS:X.
Studio Ghibli producer Suzuki revealed last month that the film would not have any trailers prior to its release. The film also did not have any TV spots or newspaper ads. Prior to the movie’s release, the studio had not revealed a plot summary, a voice cast, or most of the film’s staff.
Kenshi Yonezu (Chainsaw Man, My Hero Academia, March comes in like a lion) performs the theme song “Chikyūgi” (Globe).
Miyazaki derived the film from Genzaburō Yoshino‘s 1937 novel How Do You Live?. He added that this book is a story that has great meaning to the protagonist of his film. Algonquin Young Readers released the book in English in October 2021.
Miyazaki officially revealed the film in 2017. Suzuki reported in April 2017 that Miyazaki had been drawing the storyboards for the project since July 2016.