In 2013, the world of anime dressed in mourning to allow itself to be carried away for the last time by the tireless talent of surely the best anime director in history. The wind rises It was perceived worldwide as Hayao Miyazaki’s last work, not only because of the director’s advanced age (72 years at that time) but also because of the semi-biographical and melancholic tone that the film gave off.. For this reason, the world of cinema and especially Studio Ghibli lovers were deeply shocked by the news that the director of works such as My Neighbor Totoro o Spirited Away I was preparing a new project, The boy and the heron.
The boy and the heron It comes to us a decade after the Japanese director’s last film. Miyazaki does not reinvent himself or commit to a new style of animation, it is clear that in the director’s experience there lies installed his own style so characteristic that we only need one frame of the film to identify it. But it is true that the work looks like an updated animation, where the dynamism of the animation, the photography, the color palettes and the soundtrack are absolutely impeccable. Narratively the film could be divided into two clearly differentiated parts. The first develops the character arc of Mahito, a teenager who has just lost his mother in a fire. and who moves with his father to a rural environment dotted with the context of the Second World War. These first bars of the film not only make us think of movies like My neighbor Totoro where a move and discovery of the magic of the rural bucolic environment also happens, but is also recorded with the elegance and sobriety of films by classic directors such as Yasuhiro Ozu or Mikio Naruse. It is in this part that the director allows himself the license to introduce the appearance of a book, how do you live, which is also the original title of the work. The appearance of this novel has absolutely no type of narrative relevance within the film, it is a simple detail paying homage to his childhood that the director has no qualms about incorporating.
The second part of the film gives free rein to Miyazaki’s own fantastic imagination and that something had gone unnoticed in a more realistic work such as The wind rises. The Japanese director has not at all lost the spark of his creativity where anthropomorphic birds, unlikely settings, magical creatures and the incredible handling of elements such as water, fire or air are the protagonists. Protagonists of a world orchestrated by an old man with whom it is impossible not to establish a bond with the director himself.
The boy and the heron It is a return in style to the essence of Studio Ghibli films and the magic of Miyazaki. It is incredible that this director’s talent continues to surprise us after so many years. Furthermore, it seems that he is experiencing a third or fourth youth since news has arrived that he has a new project in hand. We will never get tired of Miyazaki and we will always be looking forward to new worlds, characters and creatures that will expand one of the most beautiful cinematographic universes on the planet.
The boy and the heron (Hayao Miyazaki, 2023)