Discover more from KU-FU, a small try you can do
On "The boy and the heron" by Hayao Miyazaki (Studio Ghibli)
A bit of excuse
It’s a bit different, unusual theme that I’m going to write about for this KU-FU, but I think it’s worth to give audiences some expectations about the movie which I mentioned in the title will be released in August in the US (I hope it will be released in Europe and rest of the world very soon).
Realising how your daily life should be lovely if you noticed all lives are beautiful. This is kind of base line what I’ve seen over this KU-FU as well. Sustainable, well-being, not going into too much commercial world.
If you are Ghibli’s fan, you must have known that his announcement of retirement from the front line in 2013 has torn just after 4years. Actually it is kind of his behaviour commonly (He had torn his retirement announcement four times so far), nevertheless, this time, so many Ghibli’s fan kind of accepted this time should be so true. The reasons are, one: he is 82 years old now. Even if many assistances helped him out, it would take much time to make such a feature-length animation. Two: the theme of “The boy and the heron” seems giving audiences that is his final message for all means, includes “how to make animation” for his successors.
Actually, the original title of the movie is “君たちはどう生きるか” means, “How do you live” (The name comes from the old novel written by Genzabro Yoshino written in 1937, the uncertain period which is just before Japan will enter into WW2. Hayao Miyazaki certainly has read it too, even cried. )
So, why he borrowed the same title of such an old novel? What is the his last message? Now here is allowed to have open discussion about all of them and more with weird strategy of the promotion as well. It will go with lesser “spoiler alert”, but if you won’t to know anything beforehand, please close the window ;)
No advertisement at all
This is the most significant strategy of the promotion, how the movie have been hidden until finally it’s released last weekend in Japan, at 14th of July 2023. No clue, no any footage or trailer, no casts announcement except just one roughly touched hand-drawn the head of heron/human-like undefined creature has four eyes. (below)
©︎ 2023 Studio Ghibli
Actually, even in Japan, no one talked about until it’s dropped. However once it happened, all of sudden, tons of impressions have spread among TV news, radio, mostly, social medias. The number has increased geometric progression while the weekend. In the end, still just two weeks have past, the box-office revenue overwrites the record of “Spirited Away” in 2001.
Toshio Suzuki, long served producer at Studio Ghibli, has told “Nowadays, information is too much. So I decided this time we should do nothing promotion”
Well, even he has expected the good result, but it must have been a challenging decision. Now we have seen it worked as we see.
Someone says, it seems like his retrospectives. You may see so many similar scenes that you’ve already watched in his previous animations. Yes the root of his message is kind of same through variety of his works indeed, but he likely insisted to remake those scenes into his new story. Every scenes are really beautiful in a way. You might be knocked out how animation can express such sequences extraordinarily go along with the emotion, more than real world.
Joe Hisaishi acted as reincarnation of famous composers
The score, goes with most of Ghibli’s works, is written by Joe Hisaishi. But this time, he served for the story as possible as not distracting the atmosphere nor encourage the emotion by the music as well. It has been there like a back ground soundscape without intentional melodies. But some scenes he plays like famous composer, Haydn, Debussy, Ravel, even Alvo Part. I don’t know whether that’s composer’s decision or not, but it really fits the theme of the movie. Re-incarnation of life.
The original title has changed for the US
The original title comes from the novel as I mentioned. Some of their work were made based on novels. So, it’s not unusual thing for the movies made by Ghibli, which is put the title as the novel has. But this one is completely different story from the novel. Just the title has been borrowed. And definitely Hayao wanted to do it, I assume. He has created his own story but the what he wanted to say must be the same, or he wanted to make the story same as the book at the first, but he has changed his mind to add his original message through the movie. Yet we don’t know about the truth. So you can assume as you like too.
Actually, some people on social media say like this, Why did you change the title not the same as Japanese original? But I think the original title, literally translated into English “How do you live?” includes so much history and situation before the world war two in Japan. So, I think it’s really interesting to see how the people in the US see the story as “The boy and the heron” It makes more sense rather than the original title, in my opinion.
His testament (will be)
Someone says, maybe Hayao Miyazaki wanted to send his message to anyone who wants to overtake his legacy in future. Fair enough, it looks like so. He is now 82 years old and he told this time will be a really really last work. So, he had to express everything full-swing his ability of making animation with all aspects, which are techniques, philosophy, and the spirit. It’s also kind of “his letter of challenge” definitely. Toshio Suzuki, the producer, told that “this time, I wanted to bring one young talent to Hayao, and I hoped they collaborate well. But it worked like a fight against each other. Hayao behaved like a child. He has gotten stronger even his age, that’s so interesting to see”
We don’t know it will be a last film of Hayao Miyazaki yet, but “The boy and the heron” has a sort of appearance like that, the testament.