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Oscar-winning anime
takes flight in SA

‘The Boy and the Heron’, the Oscar-winning animation from Studio Ghibli, is set in a world shared by the living and the dead.

The Boy and the Heron arrives in Ster-Kinekor cinemas today (19 April 2024), in both a Japanese version with English subtitles and an English dubbed version.

This unprecedented choice comes in the wake of the animated movie, produced by Studio Ghibli, taking the Academy Award, or Oscar, for Best Animated Feature. This is the second Oscar win for Japanese anime maestro Hayao Miyazaki, whose Spirited Away made cinematic history as the first non-English animation to win the same category in 2003.

Other creations by Studio Ghibli include Howl’s Moving CastlePonyo, and My Neighbour Totoro. Aside from the Oscar, The Boy and the Heron also won the British Academy Film Award for Best Animated Film this year. 

The fantasy film features Mahito Maki, a young boy who discovers an abandoned tower that leads him into a fantastical world shared by the living and the dead. He is accompanied by a talking grey heron.

Young Mahito faces a heart-wrenching loss when his mother passes away during war. Seeking solace, he relocates to his family’s countryside estate. Amidst a series of enigmatic occurrences, Mahito discovers an ancient tower inhabited by a playful grey heron. 

When his new stepmother vanishes mysteriously, Mahito decides to follow the heron into the tower, thus beginning an extraordinary adventure into a realm where the living and the departed coexist. Guided by the heron, Mahito delves into a journey of self-discovery and revelation, unravelling the secrets of this fantastical world and his own identity.

The English dubbed version features the voice talents of Luca Padovan (Mahito Maki), Robert Pattinson (The Grey Heron), Florence Pugh (Kiriko), Christian Bale (Shoichi Maki), Dave Bautista (The Parakeet King), Gemma Chan (Natsuko), and Willem Dafoe (Noble Pelican). Adding to the allure, the film’s theme song, Spinning Globe, is penned and performed by the globally acclaimed J-pop sensation Kenshi Yonezu.

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