Studio Ghibli has finally given fans a wider glimpse at Hayao Miyazaki's final film with the release of the first trailer of The Boy and the Heron, an animated fantasy epic.
The trailer opens with a grim sequence of a young boy running from his war-ravaged village while desperately looking for his mother. The scene then cuts to him being led to a mysterious place where he encounters all sorts of strange creatures, such as floating white blobs, a woman that seems to turn into water upon touch, and a fire being with a human face.
"Where death comes to an end, life finds a new beginning," the trailer's tagline read.
Originally titled How Do You Live, the film has been a mystery all throughout its production, with Studio Ghibli choosing not to release information about its plot synopsis, list of voice actors and characters, advertisement, or any other promotional material. The film's producer Toshio Suzuki told a Japanese publication in June that giving too much information would "reduce audience interest."
After Miyazaki's top-secret final movie premiered in Japan on July 14, the studio surprised fans with four teaser images from the film, showing the protagonist hugging a girl whose face is covered, a strange flying object, a flock of flying birds, and a terrifying heron with a set of human-like teeth.
Inspired by Genzaburo Yoshino’s 1937 novel Kimitachi wa Do Ikiruka, The Boy and the Heron tells the tale of a young boy named Mahito who ends up in a world shared by the living and the dead.
"There, death comes to an end, and life finds a new beginning. A semi-autobiographical fantasy about life, death, and creation, in tribute to friendship, from the mind of Hayao Miyazaki," its official logline reads.
While no date has been confirmed for The Boy and the Heron's worldwide release, the film is set to be shown in US theaters on Dec. 8.
The film is Miyazaki's latest film since 2013’s The Wind Rises. It is said to be his last work in his extensive library of projects under Studio Ghibli, which includes Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, and Howl’s Moving Castle.
Watch the trailer below.