First publicly release footage of Hayao Miyazaki’s newest anime movie is accompanied by reveal of U.S. theater release date.

The marketing in Japan for Studio Ghibli’s latest anime, The Boy and the Heron (also known as How Do You Live?), was unprecedented, not just for anime movies, but for the film industry as a whole. Despite the immense audience anticipation from being the first movie from Hayao Miyazaki in 10 years, and quite possibly the exalted director’s last feature-length project, Studio Ghibli chose to release no teaser, trailer, TV commercial, or any other preview of The Boy and the Heron, except for a single rather abstract-looking movie poster.

This was all part of Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki’s plan to let Japanese audiences go into the viewing experience with as few preconceived expectations as possible, and with no notable unauthorized leaks having occurred, until now it’s only been people who’ve made the trip to the theater in Japan who have seen what The Boy and the Heron looks like in motion. With the anime’s overseas premiers drawing near, though, North American distributor GKIDS Films has released the very first trailer for Miyazaki’s newest film.

As you can see from the video, the artwork and animation is as gorgeous as you’d expect from the unique combination of production circumstances of some of the industry’s top talent working with little to no time or budget constraints on what may very well be the last hurrah for the anime industry’s most celebrated filmmaker and his studio.

It also drives home just how multi-faceted the film’s setting and story is. It’s equally concerned with depicting the minute details of a classic Japanese manor house and family dynamic as it is with a completely divorced-from-ordinary-reality scenes of magic and mysterious creatures.

▼ Even this scene, when it appears in the movie, blends whimsy and fear.

“Where death comes to an end, life finds a new beginning,” teases the trailer’s onscreen text, accompanied by an ominous piece of the movie’s score from long-time Ghibli collaborator Joe Hisaishi.

Having seen The Boy and the Heron the movie, personally I think the trailer presents the movie as being more sinister in its overall tone than it felt to me, since the anime isn’t completely devoid of levity and intended laughs. At the same time, the story does go to some very dark places, and much of main character Mahito’s time at the manor is framed with a sense of slowly building dread.

Aside from seeing The Boy and the Heron in motion, GKIDS’ trailer provides something else anime fans in the U.S. have been waiting a long time for: a general-release date. The Boy and the Heron will be coming to U.S. theaters nationwide, including IMAX screenings, on December 8.

Source, images: YouTube/GKIDS Films
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!