Frequent Studio Ghibli composer Joe Hisaishi is behind the soundtrack for Hayao Miyazaki’s latest movie, known in English as The Boy and the Heron. He got his initial peek at the movie on July 7, 2022, when it was almost done, and Miyazaki gave him complete creative freedom for the music.
“Normally, it’s very important to have meetings about music with the director, but this time there was nothing like that, and I was just left to do it,” Hisaishi revealed in an interview with IndieWire.
But perhaps Miyazaki had already put in Hisaishi’s head what he wanted. Hisaishi noted, “About a year ago for Mr. Miyazaki’s birthday, I composed a short tune as a birthday present, and apparently he liked it very much and he told the staff around him that this should be the theme for his next film. I realized that the tune was very close to what he was thinking of, so I thought that would be good to use in crucial parts in the film.”
Speaking on the main theme, he continued, “There’s only three times that [the ‘Ask Me Why’ theme] is present, but I play it pretty much the same way with piano and strings only. I thought it would be good to have these short pieces in the film and it would be a very effective way to score the film.”
The Boy and the Heron will hit theaters across America on December 8. GKIDS, the company behind its North American distribution, gave this description for it:
A young boy named Mahito
yearning for his mother
ventures into 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.