This December is a magical time not just because Christmas is coming but because a movie that many have been waiting for will drop in theatres. 

Most have at least heard of or seen one Studio Ghibli movie and they’ve been coming out since 1986. These films are childhood classics, and any anime lover has at least one favorite. However, the messages are for all different ages and if the word anime puts you off, this is like nothing you’ve ever seen.  

Hayao Miyazaki is a famous Japanese director and even seeing one of his Studio Ghibli films is enough to convince you that these are more than worth the hype. He created these movies for different age groups, and some have cute magical creatures like in Ponyo but mostly, they all have a larger message that anyone can relate to. Ponyo

If you still don’t know who or what I am talking about, Miyazaki is known for Howl’s Moving Castle, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, and My Neighbor Totoro. These are some of his most famous works but not at all his only work. Howls Moving Castle

His last official Studio Ghibli work was Ponyo released in 2008, so the wait for him has been long. I should say he released another anime focused on World War II in 2013 but it’s not of the same genre. Princess Mononoke

Now, Miyazaki is releasing what he says is his final film before retirement, The Boy and The Heron. This will drop in Utah theatres on Dec. 8 and there will be both subtitled and dubbed (English voice actor) versions available to watch.  

The synopsis is about a boy who misses his mother and ends up in a world that is shared by both the dead and the living. It speaks to death giving new beginnings and deals with messaging about loss, life, and creation.

The English voice actors include a stellar cast consisting of Christian Bale (a returning Studio Ghibli voice actor), Dave Bautista, William Dafoe, Robert Pattinson, Florence Pugh, and Mark Hamill.  

Even if you have reservations about the anime genre, this is a historical moment for many and if the cast and plot weren’t enough to sway you, the animation will be unbelievably good. There is also a 50/50 chance the film will make you cry. Miyazaki is known for pulling on heartstrings.  

So, if you haven’t seen any of the Studio Ghibli films now is a good time to watch a few so you can prepare for The Boy and The Heron on Dec. 8. Get your tickets ASAP as the seats will fill up quickly.  

Merry Studio Ghibli Season! 


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