GKIDS, an American distributor of animated films, revealed on their official Twitter account on July 14, 2023, that they have acquired the North American distribution rights for Hayao Miyazaki’s latest film originally released in Japan under the title, “How Do You Live?“.
The film will be released in North American theatres under the title “The Boy and the Heron“. While a specific release date has yet to be announced, the film is set to hit North American theatres later this year.
Moreover, the plot of the film has also been revealed. It is as follows:
The plot of the film is set during World War II. Mahito Maki, the protagonist, is a young boy who tragically lost his mother in a hospital fire. When his father remarries, they move from Tokyo to a countryside mansion. This mansion happens to be his mother’s ancestral home, and his father’s new wife is his mother’s sister. With complex emotions, Masato is guided by a mysterious gray heron and finds himself stepping into a different world.
How Do You Live?, released in Japan on July 14, 2023. It became the first ever Studio Ghibli film to get simultaneous IMAX release.
Joe Hisashi has been roped in to compose music for the anime film. The film will feature 37 soundtracks including the theme song. Kenshi Yonezu performed the film’s theme song, “Chikyuugi”.
Soma Santoki voiced the main character Mahito Maki.
Masaki Suda, Kou Shibasaki, Aimyon, Yoshino Kimura, Keiko Takeshita, Jun Fubuki, Sawako Agawa, Karen Takizawa, Shinobu Otake, Jun Kunimura, Kaoru Kobayashi, and Shohei Hino are among the talented actors lending their voices to the film’s characters.
How Do You Live? is inspired by the 1937 novel of the same name by Yoshino Genzaburo. He added that this book is a story that has great meaning to the protagonist of his film.
The setting of the film is Second World War-era England. The sickness that claimed his mother affects book-loving 12-year-old David. He starts to hear book whispers and see images of an odd kingdom while being tormented by loneliness. One day he stumbles into that world, guided by the voice of his dead mother. Red Riding Hood gives birth to a werewolf after falling in love with a wolf, an ugly Snow White, and an evil guy who abducts children. Fairytale creatures and mythical monsters are moving in this lovely yet dreadful world of tales. A mystery journey and a boy’s maturity in conquering challenges in this tale of extraterrestrial adventure.
In October 2017, Studio Ghibli announced the film would be titled “How Do You Live?“. Studio executive, Toshio Suzuki said that Miyazaki is working on the film for his grandson as his way of saying, “Grandpa is moving onto the next world soon but he is leaving behind this film”.
In December 2020, Suzuki stated that the film was in work with no deadlines, similar to The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (2013), which took eight years to make.
He said that the animation was half-finished with production running faster, due to COVID-19 restrictions requiring them to work at home, and the film will be 125 minutes long.