Hayao Miyazaki’s The Boy and the Heron gets N. American release date and a trailer — Yay!

Hayao Miyazaki’s final fantastical film The Boy and the Heron to hit North America this year

The upcoming Hayao Miyazaki animated dark fantasy film The Boy and the Heron has finally been given a North American release date after it came out in Japan back in July.

According to today’s announcement from GKIDS, The Boy and the Heron, which is said to be Miyazaki’s final film, will be released in North America on December 8th, 2023.


Along with the date of release, The Boy and the Heron has also received an official trailer for the North American market today. (Watch below)

Something that did not happen in Japan, where the anime film was released in mid-summer with little fanfare or promotion, yet has still grossed more than $52 million at the Japanese box office alone since its release.

Such is the power of Hayao Miyazaki.

From just the few scenes from the film in the trailer, however, it is easy to see this will be a typical Miyazaki film with its beautifully and almost-disturbing g plot, gorgeous art style, wonderfully drawn food (yes, Miyazaki obviously has a thing about food) and superb animation.

And, of course, don’t forget that stunning soundtrack.


The Boy and the Heron will also be screened at several film festivals in Europe and North America before its official North American relased on December 8th.

What is The Boy and the Heron?

The film was written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki who, of course, is world-famous for previous anime masterpieces via his studio — Studio Ghibli — like Kiki’s Delivery Service, My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle and Princess Mononoke.

The Boy and the Heron is his 12th feature film and the first film Miyazaki has released in a decade — since his film The Wind Rises came out in 2013.

It is also said to be his last, as the now-82-year-old Miyazaki announced his retirement back in 2013 but decided to create one more film before he passes on his stunning legacy to those who come after him.

What is the plot of The Boy and the Heron?

The film follows Mahito Maki (played by Soma Santoki) a boy who, devasted by his beloved mother’s death by fire during World War II,  discovers an abandoned tower in his new town and enters a fantastical world where he soon encounters a talking heron.

During his travels throughout this alternate world, Mahito encounters numerous people who, through his interactions with them, help the boy come to terms with his mother’s death and with the new family his father has created since then.

Watch the just released The Boy and the Heron trailer below.

Then mark your calendars for December 8th as, from what several film critics have already said, the film is a thing of beauty and the type of animated masterpiece that can only be created by Hayao Miyazaki.

You can learn more about the anime film via Toho’s website.


Michelle Topham