The Boy and The Heron Failed to Capture the Studio Ghibli Magic

Almost a year after it’s initial release in Japan in July 2023, The Boy and The Heron has been finally released in Indian theatres on May 10, 2024.

By Dhwani Joshi
New Update

The Boy and The Heron, a critically acclaimed Studio Ghibli film has been the most anticipated film by the Indian fans for a year now. The film has won the Best Animated Feature Film at the  Golden Globes and Academy Awards


This 2-hour long animated film is also rumoured to be the legendary Hayao Miyazaki’s last film. The film is hand drawn by Miyazaki himself, who has made a feature film almost after decade and produced by Studio Ghibli co-founder Toshio Suzuki.


The Boy and The Heron follows the story of Mahito, who has recently lost his mother and has o move to the countryside. The secret disappearance of his new stepmother and discovery of ancient tower and an unusual grey heron takes Mahito on a magical journey. The film is set in the era of World War II.


This film like other Studio Ghibli films uses a lot of magic realism and is treat to the eyes. Takeshi Honda also contributed to the animation of this film. Miyazaki used a lot of fantastical elements and scenic Japanese landscapes and used a lot of colour to display the characters and their journey. These beautiful visuals paired with a melodious soundtrack, enhances the experience of the viewers.

boy and heron

Even though the animation and soundtrack were amazing, the storyline failed to capture the Ghibli essence. The story was too fast paced and left the audiences feeling confused. The story was one of loss and overcoming it by discovering yourself, but Mahito’s journey felt pointless. There were also many loopholes in the story and certain plotlines felt useless.


The film introduced too many characters, without even developing any of them, and viewers did not have enough time to connect to any of them. The film failed to even form a connection between the main character and the audience. The heron was mentioned in the title of the film, so it was expected for him to be a major part of the film, but the heron was seen in the film for very less time and did not add much significance to the story. There was no kinship between the The Boy and The Heron either.


Somewhere in between the film got boring and the ending did not feel cathartic enough and we were left with many questions. As Studio Ghibli and Miyazaki fan, I went to watch the film with high expectations but was left disappointed.

Rating- 3/5


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