First look at the central characters from The Boy and the Heron.

Studio Ghibli has long been protective of their works, once even sending a samurai sword to Harvey Weinstein to ensure no cuts were made to their film.

So when the studio released a set of free-to-use images for the public to use “within the bounds of common sense” in 2020, it came as a pleasant surprise to Ghibli fans. Ever since, the studio has been adding new free-to-use images to their online collection every now and then, and last week, they just added 14 more, with the latest images taken from the newest Ghibli film, How Do You Live, or The Boy and the Heron, as it’s known overseas.

▼ One of the new images shows the boy and the heron, from which the movie gets its name.

With the film yet to be released overseas, these new images are especially exciting for audiences abroad, who are yet to see any stills from the film provided directly by Ghibli, as How Do You Live debuted in Japan on 14 July without any promotional marketing whatsoever.

It’s even a treat for local fans in Japan, as the program booklet with associated artwork only went on sale on 11 August, in a departure from tradition where movie programs are usually available from opening day.

If you’re trying to avoid any spoilers at all for the film, which is said to be visually stunning, you may want to look away now as we take a quick look at some of the newly released images from the movie, which include the central characters.

▼ First up, there’s an image of the main character, Mahito Maki.

▼ Then we have Mahito’s father, Shoichi Maki, who loves his son but is busy working at an airplane parts factory…

▼ …and Natsuko, Mahito’s mother’s sister who is now pregnant with his father’s baby.

▼ Moving on to the characters that reside in an alternate world to Mahito and his family, we have Himi, a girl with magical powers…

▼ …Kiriko, a seafaring woman …

▼ …the Great-Uncle to Mahito’s mother and his aunt Natsuko…

▼ …the Dying Pelican

▼ ..the Parakeet King

▼ …and, of course, the Grey Heron.

▼ There are a few images of some of the supporting characters in the mix as well, like the maids…

▼ …and the Wara Wara, which are reminiscent of other small Ghibli spirits, like Kodama and Soot Sprites.

So there you have it — a first look at some of the characters from The Boy and The Heron that had remained under wraps for so long. Whether you’ve been fortunate enough to see the film in Japan, or are eagerly awaiting for its release in your part of the world, these characters and other select images from The Boy and The Heron are now free for you to use…within the bounds of common sense.

Source: Studio Ghibli via Japaaan
Top image: Studio Ghibli
Insert images: Studio Ghibli (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12,)
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