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Studio Ghibli co-founder was heron inspiration for 'Boy and the Heron'

The heron man (R) reveals himself to Mahito (L). Photo courtesy of GKIDS and Studio Ghibli
The heron man (R) reveals himself to Mahito (L). Photo courtesy of GKIDS and Studio Ghibli

Feb. 8 (UPI) -- GKIDS released a new video of Studio Ghibli co-founder Toshio Suzuki discussing The Boy and the Heron and the future of animation on Thursday. The Boy and the Heron is nominated for an Oscar as Best Animated Film.

Suzuki said writer/director Hiayo Miyazaki was inspired by a real bird who visited him in his garden. Suzuki said the character in the film is based on himself.

"Even though I knew, I could still really tell that the gray heron was me," Suzuki said. "The exchanges between the protagonist Mahito and the heron, they really reflected my usual sort of conversations with Miyazaki."

The heron reveals a man inside him. The heron man takes Mahito to a parallel universe.

Studio Ghibli has produced hand drawn animation in Japan for decades. Though Suzuki admires computer animation, he said there are some things only hand drawn can accomplish.

Mahito goes on a fantastic journey in "The Boy and the Heron." Photo courtesy of GKIDS and Studio Ghibli
Mahito goes on a fantastic journey in "The Boy and the Heron." Photo courtesy of GKIDS and Studio Ghibli

"The way we had a human appear from inside a bird, you could only do that by hand," Suzuki said. "CG couldn't handle it."

The Boy and the Heron is playing in both dubbed and subtitled versions in theaters.

Mahito's granduncle shares wisdom. Photo courtesy of GKIDS and Studio Ghibli
Mahito's granduncle shares wisdom. Photo courtesy of GKIDS and Studio Ghibli