Is The Boy and The Heron truly Miyazaki’s last film?

Is The Boy and The Heron truly Miyazaki's last film

The Boy and The Heron is the narration of the tale of a young boy named Mahito who is transported into a world of magic and adventure. As a story of life and creation, fans have claimed that it is Hayao Miyazaki’s one of the finest creations so far, as it mingles with soft emotions of the heart in a very charismatic and appealing manner, making even the painful seem necessary. In this article, we will explore The Boy and The Heron as Hayao Miyazaki’s reflection on life and if it is actually going to be his final work.

The Boy and The Heron – what is it about?

The Boy and The Heron is a story of life, death, and creation. This concept of trinity will uphold friendship as the central theme and will navigate through the life of Mahito, the main character.

  • Mahito is a young boy who is trapped in a state of war-torn abandonment and he desperately longs for his mother’s return.
  • In this search, he wanders into the world of the living and the dead and finally shifts to the countryside with his father who works in the Japanese military making planes.
Is The Boy and The Heron truly Miyazaki's last film
Mahito in Boy and the Heron trailer. (Image credit goes to Studio Ghibli)

While Miyazaki’s own father was in the military making planes, this work also comes as a reflection of his own childhood. The adventures of the main character are filled with a dreamy landscape which is intrinsically linked to the Ghibli culture. This phantasmagorical tale of life and death is a constant narrative departure from reality and tries to find itself in truth and fantasy.

Is The Boy and The Heron actually Miyazaki’s last film?

The Boy and The Heron by Hayao Miyazaki is a splendid work of storytelling but has been recently announced that it is not the final film by the great director.

While Studio Ghibli announced his retirement in 2017 following the project of his final film, it was greatly speculated that since he dedicated this film to his grandchildren, he might finally retire. But, according to Studio Ghibli’s Vice President Junichi Nishioka, he plans to keep writing and has already started coming up with new ideas.

  • Following this announcement by Nishioka at TIFF this year, famous film journalist Eli Glasner mentioned in one of his tweets that Miyazaki will not retire with How Do You Live.
  • It has been mentioned that the director is already working on several new ideas and these have a potential to evolve and materialize into suitable projects in the future.
Is The Boy and The Heron truly Miyazaki's last film
Image snapshotted from The Boy and the Heron official trailer on YouTube. (Image credit goes to Studio Ghibli)

While Miyazaki doesn’t plan to retire, in the meantime it is important to note that this is not the first time he has walked back on such an announcement. His first announcements came in 1998 before Spirited Away, and it was followed by 2005, then leading to 2013 with The Wind Rises. Therefore, an announcement of retirement is not at all similar to a commitment, and that is where he draws the line – between suspense and speculation.

Can Hayao Miyazaki bring back Studio Ghibli’s charm?

Is The Boy and The Heron truly Miyazaki's last film
The Boy and the Heron official trailer on YouTube. (Image credit goes to Studio Ghibli)

Studio Ghibli has not been performing well since The Wind Rises. A major reason has been Miyazaki’s announcement to retire.

  • With most of the staff transferred and gone, the studio currently strives to make a mark. In such tough times, Miyazaki’s writing could prove to be a golden opportunity for Studio Ghibli to bounce back into the arena.
  • While it is unknown when his next project will begin, the recent announcements have been a shimmer of hope that the great director’s retirement is still only a sad truth away from reality.


The Boy and The Heron is not Miyazaki’s last film. He aspires to write more stories in the future and those adaptations into Ghibli movies will prove to stand as a testament to Miyazaki’s legacy. That being said, now that he is not retiring, we can say that we can expect a lot of upcoming blockbusters from the studio given that it will attempt to produce more following The Boy and The Heron’s success.

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