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The Boy and the Heron (2023) | Transcript

The story of The Boy and the Heron follows Mahito, a 12-year-old boy struggling to cope with the loss of his mother during World War II
Hayao Miyazaki's The Boy and the Heron

The Boy and the Heron (known in Japan as “Kimitachi wa Dō Ikiru ka,” meaning “How Do You Live?”).
Genre: Fantasy/Adventure
Running time: 124 minutes
Release Date: July 14, 2023 (Japan), December 8, 2023 (United States)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Studio: Studio Ghibli

The story follows Mahito, a 12-year-old boy struggling to cope with the loss of his mother during World War II. Sent to live with his new stepmother in a rural mansion, he feels adrift and alone. However, his life takes a fantastical turn when he encounters a talking gray heron who leads him to a hidden tower. Inside the tower, Mahito discovers a portal to another world, a realm where the living and the dead coexist. This magical land is filled with whimsical creatures, breathtaking landscapes, and profound truths about life and death. Guided by the heron, Mahito embarks on a journey of self-discovery, confronting his grief and learning to live again.

* * *

[sirens blaring]

[sirens continue]

[fire bell ringing]

[panicked chatter]

[running footsteps]

[gasps]

Where’s the master?

In his room.

[gasps]

[panting]

Your mother’s hospital’s on fire!

[wind howling]

[explosive rumbling]

[gasps] Mother’s still there.

[panting]

Wait for me.

You need to stay here, Mahito.

[grunting]

[gasps]

[panting]

[people groaning, screaming]

You must evacuate!

Everyone!

Leave your belongings!

[panting]

[Mahito] Mother.

Please stand back!

Go back home!

[screaming]

[building rumbling, crackling]

♪ ♪

[Mahito] Three years into the war, Mother died.

And a year later, my father and I left Tokyo.

♪ ♪

[train whistle blows]

[quiet chatter]

♪ ♪

[whispers] That’s her.

[Mahito] She looked exactly like Mother.

I’m sorry I’m late.

We just got off the train.

You must be Mahito.

I’m Natsuko.

I was hoping to be here earlier, but we had a flat tire on the way.

You’ve really grown up.

I met you once, you know.

It was way back when you were just a little baby.

Are you going to the factory first?

Yes, but I’ll be back in time for dinner.

[engine starts]

Ah, what perfect timing.

Shall we go, then?

Careful. That’s heavy.

Go ahead. [grunts]

[driver grunts]

Okay, the estate.

Yes, ma’am.

So, Mahito, I’m going to be your new mother from now on.

Sound good?

Give me your hand.

That’s it. Right here.

Feel it moving?

A baby.

You’re gonna have a little brother or sister.

Isn’t that just wonderful?

Oh. Uh, we should stop.

♪ ♪

[birds chirping]

We’re here. This is your new home.

Oh, would you mind taking the trunk inside for me?

Of course.

[Natsuko] It’s this way, Mahito.

We don’t always use the main entrance, but it’s your first time here, so might as well.

Look. Do you see that structure?

The one in the distance?

That is your father’s brand-new factory.

We can go and visit it sometime.

[Natsuko] Oh, dear.

I don’t know where everyone is.

Oh, bring your shoes with you.

♪ ♪

I’ve never seen that before.

It typically just keeps to the gardens outside.

That’s our local gray heron.

He must be giving you a special welcome.

Come on.

[women chattering indistinctly]

[indistinct chatter continues]

[women whimpering, gasping]

Well, well.

Did you go through Shoichi’s trunk again?

Certainly not, milady.

[both] The pedicab left it. Yes.

He just left it out here.

So true.

So we had to check whose it was.

So true.

Everything smells so sweet.

So, so sweet.

Let me introduce you to Shoichi’s son, Mahito.

[women gasping, oohing]

[women gasping, giggling]

[latches opening]

[women oohing]

[rummaging]

[women gasping, oohing]

[Izumi] What?

[Utako] Canned beef!

[Eriko] Oh, it’s so tasty with rice.

[Utako] Canned salmon? Give me the bones.

I didn’t know you could still get corned beef.

And there’s one more thing.

[oohing]

Sugar!

Oh, we can make rice cakes!

And sweet bean paste.

Sweet rice cakes!

Pure white sugar.

I want a taste!

[women laughing, chattering]

Let’s leave them to it.

[Kiriko] So some places still have it.

It’s like staring at his mother.

Oh.

Such a lovely boy.

[Kiriko] I just hope he stays safe.

How’d you get your hands on smokes?

Can I have one, please?

[laughter]

This will be your new room.

You must be exhausted.

I’ll bring you some tea.

♪ ♪

[sighs]

[grunts softly]

[breathing deeply]

♪ ♪

[soft knocking]

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

[panting, grunting]

[fire crackling]

Mom!

Mahito.

Goodbye.

Mom!

I’m coming!

[Mahito sobbing]

Mahito.

Mahito.

I’m coming, Mom.

[breathing heavily]

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

[Natsuko] Mahito!

Mahito!

Mahito!

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

[grunting]

[gasps]

[straining]

[gasps]

[shuddering exhale]

[inhales sharply]

[Aiko] Sonny!

Time to head back!

The lady of the house is mighty worried about you.

[Eriko] Young master!

I thought that had been sealed off.

I sure hope he doesn’t get taken.

Young master.

[Aiko sighs in relief]

[Aiko] Thank goodness you’re safe.

Where are we?

What is this place?

There’s a staircase in there.

[Aiko] Uh, well… [stammers]

Let’s hurry on back.

The feathers are gone.

I was hoping to wait until you got a bit more settled in before telling you about this.

As the story goes, that tower was built a long time ago by our mother’s uncle.

He was educated and very smart, but they say he read too many books and lost his mind.

One day, a long time before I was born, he suddenly disappeared, leaving only an open book that he hadn’t finished reading.

They looked everywhere for him, but not a trace of him could be found.

Later, during a flood, a passage to the main house collapsed, and beneath the tower, they discovered a maze of tunnels.

They were so dangerous that my grandfather sealed the entrance so no one would wander in.

For your safety, you shouldn’t go near there, either.

Right. And thank you very much for the tea.

Good night, ma’am.

Good night.

Mornings can get cold, so bundle up.

Right.

[ticking quietly]

[grunts softly]

[insects chirping outside]

[rumbling, whooshing]

[gasps]

[Hisako] Mahito, save me.

[gasping, grunting]

[door opens]

[door closes]

[Natsuko] Welcome home.

[Shoichi] Thank you, my dear.

[kissing]

Those navy boys are all flustered now.

And to think, they boasted Saipan would hold for a year.

I feel for all those who are no longer with us.

Well, it’s certainly kept the factory busy.

Mahito, I’ll drive you to school in the Datsun.

The new transfer student arriving in a car.

Everyone’s jaw will drop.

No need to worry.

We’ve told the teachers all about your situation.

You go have a good day.

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

Mahito, I want you to tell me the truth.

Who did this to my boy?

I fell. That’s all.

Don’t worry, okay?

Daddy is going to make sure you get vengeance,

but you have to tell me who did this.

Let’s let him rest.

I won’t let them get away with doing this

to my own flesh and blood.

I’m taking this up with the school!

[footsteps stomping away]

[door closes]

[window opens]

[gasps]

[voice] Mahito, save me.

Mahito! Mahito!

Leave.

Shoo! Go!

[groaning]

[groaning]

[Mahito grunting]

[gasps] Oh, my.

Mahito.

Help me shut it.

[both grunting]

♪ ♪

Mother. Mother!

[Aiko] Milady, you should go get some rest.

[Eriko] Don’t worry.

We can take turns keeping an eye on him.

[snoring softly]

♪ ♪

[groaning]

[tapping]

[tapping continues]

[wings flapping]

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

[birds chirping]

[grunts]

What exactly are you?

I know you’re not a normal heron.

♪ ♪

The one we have all been waiting for

has appeared at last.

I shall now guide you to your mother.

You’ll what?

[wind howling]

How dare you. My mother is dead!

[laughs, spits]

Of course a human would think that,

but your mother is not dead.

The truth of the matter is

you did not see your mother’s dead body.

Am I right?

[wind gusting]

She’s waiting for you to rescue her.

[all] Please join us.

Please join us. Please join us.

Join us. Join us.

Join us. Join us. Join us.

Please join us.

[Natsuko] Mahito!

Huh?

Please join us.

Mahito!

Mahito!

[arrow whistling]

[squawking]

[gasps]

[frogs croaking]

Young master, where are you?

Young master!

Your presence is requested.

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

[doorknob turning]

[grunts]

Oh.

You’re finally awake.

Thank goodness.

You were out for so long.

[water splashing]

We were beginning to get worried.

The gray heron.

Gray heron?

Is it still here?

Perhaps you dreamt a…

Mahito. You’re awake.

Don’t you worry.

Just you wait… I will catch whoever did this to you.

I was just clumsy. That’s all.

And you don’t have to worry about going to school, either.

I donated 300 yen.

[chuckling] You should’ve seen the principal’s face.

Those teachers don’t have time to teach anyway.

Wartime volunteering.

Hmm.

That scar might leave you with a bald spot.

You can grow your hair long to cover it up.

Natsuko isn’t feeling well right now.

She’s probably just tired.

So try not to worry her, okay?

The railways are all closed again.

It’s been nothing but accidents.

I want you to get better soon, okay?

Take good care of him.

Yes.

[groaning softly]

Oh, young master, y-you need to take it easy.

Please, lie back down.

Bathroom.

[sighs]

But I brought a bedpan.

[gasps]

My, a lot of strange things happen in this place.

So many things.

[birds chirping]

[quiet chatter]

[grunting]

Hmm? You sure you’re well enough to be up?

Yes.

They’re magnificent to look at, aren’t they?

We can’t leave them at the station,

so we’ll store them here for the time being.

They really are beautiful.

Natsuko’s been worrying about you.

Maybe you could pay her a visit.

Yes.

All right, good work, everybody.

You can take a break before returning to the factory.

What’s the matter, young master?

Is the food not to your liking?

It tastes bad.

Oh, it looks like we have a straight talker here.

Hey, wait a minute.

You got your hands on tobacco?

I’m using knotweed leaves. You want a puff?

Heck no! Do I look like a caterpillar to you?

Tobacco’s just so scarce these days.

[Kiriko scoffs]

If you’ll please excuse me.

Our lady has mentioned several times

that she would like to see you,

so if you could make time to pay her a visit,

I’m sure it will mean a lot.

Is there something wrong with her?

It’s morning sickness.

For some women, carrying a baby inside them

can be very hard on their body.

You were the same, you know.

When you were born, your mother had a rough time.

I came here to pay a visit.

Milady.

I’m so sorry.

I should’ve taken better care of you.

Please forgive me for not doing so, big sister.

You mustn’t get worked up, milady.

You’re weak right now.

Take care of yourself and get well soon.

[wings fluttering]

[gasps]

[grunting]

[squawking]

Your presence is requested.

[takes deep breath]

[birds chirping]

[chickens clucking quietly]

[scraping]

Hmm?

Tobacco?

Why, you sneaky little no good liar.

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

Young master. Young master.

Over here. Over here.

I’m in the middle of something now.

I have something that might help you.

Come on over here. Come on.

Now, then, would you like to use a real bow and arrow?

I may know where you could get your hands on some.

I mean the genuine article.

How would you like some steel arrowheads?

Or how about a professionally crafted bow?

You could borrow them.

No one would miss them.

For cigarettes?

That’s right.

I’ll tell you in exchange for a pack.

I gave them to the groundskeeper.

[gasps]

Besides,

there were only two left inside the pack.

And you gave them to that wrinkly old prune?

Hey, young master, come back!

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

[gasps softly]

♪ ♪

Hmm?

[whooshing]

[gasps]

[grunting]

[grunting]

[gasps]

♪ ♪

This is Mother’s handwriting.

Mother must have left this for me.

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

Milady!

Milady!

Milady!

Milady!

Milady!

Milady!

Milady!

Milady!

Milady!

Milady!

What’s going on?

Lady Natsuko wasn’t in her room, and we can’t find her.

I’ll come help search.

[grunts]

♪ ♪

I saw her heading toward the forest earlier.

Why would she do that?

It was a while ago, when it was still bright out.

She headed into the forest. I’m sure about that.

Surely, she wouldn’t.

I haven’t seen the gray heron around today.

Something isn’t right. Let’s go.

[Kiriko grunts]

I-I think we should go back.

There’s-there’s no way she would’ve come this way.

How can you see anything in there?

Come back out here!

These are made from sandals.

Young master! [grunts, yelps]

Look.

It’s paved.

I can’t tell what that is.

I don’t see too well in the dark.

They must be part of an old path.

Can we go back now?

Like I said, there’s no way our lady would ever come out here.

[Mahito] I think maybe she didn’t have a choice.

[grunts, groans]

[sighs, groans]

[gasps] The lights turned on.

No, don’t go! It’s a trap.

Show yourself, heron.

Come out and face me, and return Natsuko right now.

[Heron] Your presence is welcomed.

Enter.

You can return to the house now, ma’am.

I’ll go in by myself.

You can’t go inside there!

Maids like me can’t hear the tower master’s voice.

That’s something only members of your bloodline can hear.

More reason for me to go alone.

I will bring Aunt Natsuko back, I promise.

Ah, for goodness’ sake,

I know that you feel you’d be better off without her.

Isn’t that what you’re thinking?

What’s the real reason you want to go into that strange place?

It told me that my mother is alive.

It’s clearly a lie, but I have to make sure.

[whimpers] No!

Wait! No.

[groaning, whimpering]

Oh, my back! [grunts]

[rumbling]

[gasps]

[Kiriko whimpering]

Your presence is welcomed.

Enter.

♪ ♪

[Kiriko whimpering]

This way. I’ll be your guide.

Don’t trust that thing.

It’s a trap.

I’m aware of that.

Then what are we still doing here?

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

[Kiriko grunts]

You see?

Your mother, as promised.

♪ ♪

Why don’t you come closer and have a better look?

It’s a trap.

A trap.

[Kiriko gasps]

Wait, master.

[gasps softly]

Mother.

Mother?

Mother.

Mother… [gasps]

[Mahito gasping, shuddering]

♪ ♪

[Kiriko gasps]

Aw, that was one of my better creations.

Such a shame, really.

It would’ve lasted longer if you hadn’t touched her.

How could you do something so cruel?

If you’d like, I could always remake her.

Stop it! You defile her memory!

Shoot me. My heart is right here.

But you’ve only got one arrow, so don’t miss.

Then it’s my turn.

And when it is, I’ll take your arrogant,

lying, swollen heart and rip it out!

Weakling, do your worst.

[arrow whooshes]

You fail!

Huh?

[yells, squeals]

[screams]

[squawking]

Get away!

That’s one of my molted feathers.

[gasping]

[groans]

[grunting]

[squeals]

Oh, that’s not good.

Nice shooting.

You got him good.

It wasn’t me. The arrow flew by itself.

[screaming]

[straining]

Hmm?

Hold on!

Not my number seven flight feather.

[grunting]

Darn it! That’s cheating, you know!

[Kiriko chuckling]

[laughing]

Stop laughing!

Behold my fearsomeness.

Please be gent… [shrieks]

[grunts]

[straining]

[grunts]

Okay, you win. Can we stop now?

Tell me where Natsuko is.

Do it! Go on and skewer that little yappy turkey.

Hold on. I concede.

Tell me, how’d you know my weakness was

my number seven flight feather?

Don’t you remember? You just said it.

Your number seven flight feather.

Oh, there I go.

My big mouth getting me in trouble again.

You had better take me to Natsuko, or else.

Okay, but I wouldn’t go if I was you.

[high-pitched ringing, hissing]

That’s enough, foolish bird.

I command you to be the boy’s guide.

[groans] No turning back now.

Don’t go saying I didn’t warn you.

[burbling]

Godspeed, soldier.

[frightened whimpering]

I don’t want to go! [gasping]

You’re making a mistake!

You don’t need me!

[screams]

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

[wind whistling]

♪ ♪

“All of those who seek my knowledge shall die.”

♪ ♪

[pelican screeches]

[gasps]

[pelicans screeching]

[Mahito grunting]

[pelicans in unison] Let’s go. Let’s go.

Let’s go eat. Let’s go.

[Mahito grunts]

[pelicans screeching]

Let’s go.

[grunting, whimpering]

Let’s go eat.

Get up.

Walk. Walk.

Oh, no. Someone opened the gate to the graveyard.

Get out of here! Shoo, you damn birds!

[pelicans shrieking]

[groaning]

Get up.

Come.

Move, before the buried wake.

♪ ♪

Stand beside me.

♪ ♪

[indistinct whispering]

It’s gone.

Now walk backwards. Don’t look behind you.

[grunts]

Why did you open the graveyard gate?

The pelicans pushed me through it.

Show me that arrow you’ve got.

[laughs]

That from the gray heron?

It’s no wonder the pelicans weren’t able to eat you.

[wind gusting]

The wind is up.

Which means the tide will be up, too.

All right, then. Come on, follow me.

♪ ♪

[grunting]

[grunts] Push!

[grunting]

We’ve managed to catch wind. Get over here and help.

What’s with your scar?

My bandage must have come off.

[laughs]

Oh, we match. You see?

This is where a swamp thrasher got me.

A swamp thrasher?

It was a real huge one, too.

I ended up eating it.

There’s a big wave coming.

After that, it should be smooth sailing.

♪ ♪

[both grunting]

Where’d you come from, anyway?

Up there.

And is it a nice place, up there?

I don’t really like it.

I’m looking for Natsuko.

Do you know her?

Maybe. You sweet on her or something?

I’m not, but my father is.

I’m just trying to locate her.

And you, what’s your name?

Mahito.

Meaning “sincere one.”

Well, that makes sense.

That would explain why you reek of death.

Look there.

Those are just phantoms.

This world is filled with the dead.

♪ ♪

All right, stop rowing.

♪ ♪

Who are those people?

I guess you can call them buyers

since they came here for our catch.

They probably saw our flag.

They’re not able to kill anything,

so that’s why it falls on me.

♪ ♪

[chattering]

Huh?

Get off. Help me.

The warawara will be here soon.

[grunts]

[chattering]

♪ ♪

[chuckling softly]

No dilly-dallying.

That fish isn’t gonna carve itself, you know.

[gasps]

[warawara chattering]

Here you go. Get to work.

[gasps]

[grunting]

[warawara gasp]

[warawara chattering]

[grunting]

You try.

♪ ♪

Right there.

[Mahito grunting]

Push it in deeper.

[grunting]

Harder! Pull!

[grunting]

[warawara gasping]

[Kiriko groans]

Don’t let the guts spill out.

The warawara need them for nourishment so they can fly.

[fire rumbling softly]

[breathing deeply]

[lock clicks]

Hey. Time to eat.

Just don’t knock over those dolls.

[grunts]

Those dolls look a lot like the grannies

at the new house I live in.

I put them there so they can protect you.

If you want some water, it’s over there.

[exhales]

Kiriko.

How the hell do you know my name?

I never told you who I am.

It is Kiriko, right?

Even though this world isn’t anything

like the world I come from,

there are a few things that seem to be similar.

Well, I’ve been here for as long as I can remember.

The Kiriko I know is an old lady,

just like one of your dolls.

[scoffs] Your food is getting cold.

Where’s your bathroom?

It’s outside, in the back, at the far end of the yard.

Thank you.

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

[Mahito grunts in surprise]

♪ ♪

[chattering quietly]

What are they doing?

Once they mature, they take flight.

I haven’t seen them fly in quite some time.

[Mahito gasps]

[excited chattering]

The little ones gather to see them off.

But where are they all flying to?

They’re going to be born.

Huh?

I imagine, where you came from.

Flying off to be born up above.

Born as people?

Yeah, of course as people.

♪ ♪

I’m just so happy we were able to give them a good meal.

♪ ♪

[swallows]

No, the pelicans! Damn.

They’ll wind up eating all of them.

[Kiriko] Lady Himi!

[pelicans shrieking]

[gasps]

[pelicans shrieking]

The warawara are burning!

Hey, stop it!

You’re burning the warawara!

[flame whooshing]

I said stop! [grunts]

[pelicans screeching]

Serves them right.

Bet they’re not gonna try that for a while.

If it wasn’t for Lady Himi,

all the warawara would’ve been eaten.

Thank you, Lady Himi!

♪ ♪

Well, there won’t be any more taking flight.

Might as well eat.

Grannies, I-I’m sorry.

[rustling nearby]

[gasps]

[gruff, labored breathing]

♪ ♪

Young one, put me out of my misery.

My wing is broken. I cannot fly.

That’s what you get for trying to attack the warawara.

We did not choose this life.

My kind were brought to this hellscape

so we could eat the warawara.

This sea here has few fish we can eat.

My kind were all starving.

We flew as high as we could.

As high and far as our wings could carry us.

But it always ended the same way.

We could only reach this island.

Now our newborns are forgetting how to fly.

We eat the warawara.

The fire maiden burns us.

[coughing]

The sea here, it is cursed.

[groans]

Rest easy, now.

What a noble pelican he was.

[frustrated grunt]

You’re still carrying that old thing around?

[footsteps departing]

Hey, wait!

I-I hope you know you’re not gonna find Natsuko here.

I know.

You say the word, I’ll take you straight to her.

I’m going to find her myself.

Hey, wait, chief.

Wh-Where you going?

What an arrogant little turd!

[gasps]

Shovel?

♪ ♪

Okay, go.

Why am I such a pushover?

Stop there.

Too far.

Come back a bit.

[heron groans]

[Mahito] All right.

[heron grumbling]

[Heron] I can’t take too much more of this.

Don’t blame me if your Natsuko ends up getting eaten.

Well, you told me you’d eat my heart,

and it’s still intact.

[yelps]

Sorry.

That hurt!

[groans, gasps]

You’d better tell me the truth.

Where is Natsuko?

[heron yelping]

I’ll rip it in half!

Go on, try it!

Then I’ll tear you apart.

[squeals] No, stop, stop, stop!

Please, please stop! [sobs]

Are you okay?

I barely ripped it at all.

[heron whimpers, yells]

[grunts]

Well, it’s ripped now.

[whimpering]

The tea’s nothing special,

but, uh, just drink it and make up already.

We can’t make up, because we didn’t fight.

Yeah? Well, he’s a liar, so you can’t believe anything he says.

I know that he kidnapped Natsuko.

I hate to admit this to you,

but that’s not even within my power.

Besides, the wise always cheat. That’s how they survive.

A gray heron once told me that all gray herons are liars.

So, is that the truth or a lie?

[Mahito] A lie.

[Heron] The truth.

[grumbles] I’d be the one to know.

The truth is that all gray herons are liars.

That would have to be a lie, too.

Except this lie is true.

[laughing]

What a pair the two of you are.

I think you should go search for Natsuko together.

I have to stay and take care of the warawara.

And the tower master did tell you to be his guide.

Just stay vigilant and work together.

Now, go on.

[both grumble]

♪ ♪

[voice muted]

This one’s Kiriko.

You hang on to that for good luck, you hear me?

Will we ever meet again?

How should I know?

Thank you.

[grunts]

Just go do your best, okay?

Miss Natsuko, where are you?

Miss Natsuko!

Hey! Can you hear us?

Miss Natsuko!

Where are you?

Are you all right?

Some of the men can stay here and continue the search.

No. We can’t afford to slow down production.

Have them all go back to the factory.

As you wish, but we’ll be on call if you need anything.

Thank you all. I appreciate it.

[indistinct chatter]

We’ve searched the pond and the hills.

Basically every place we could think of.

Natsuko, Mahito, and Kiriko, too.

It’s odd to have three people disappear at once like this.

Master Shoichi.

Hmm?

You should know that every now and then

strange occurrences do happen here.

I have been fortunate enough to be with this family

for a good 60 years now.

And there’s something about that tower in the backyard

that just isn’t right.

That thing wasn’t built by people,

I can promise you that.

Old wives’ tales. You know that.

But it fell from the sky

just before the Meiji Restoration.

[whooshing]

[explosive rumbling]

Ah… boom!

Down it came with an earth-rattling crash.

You sure it wasn’t just thunder?

A long time ago, there used to be

a giant pond over there,

but then that water all dried up.

Only that tower stands there now.

♪ ♪

I was always told that Natsuko’s genius granduncle

was the one who built it.

Not true.

It crashed down here from the sky.

And everybody was too scared to venture near it.

[Aiko] After 30-odd years,

the forest grew back and covered the entire thing.

It was around that time

when her granduncle discovered it.

Soon, he became completely obsessed.

And because the thing seemed so rare,

he decided to build a tower around it.

[rumbling]

[workers screaming]

Many people were hurt badly, and some of them even died.

And let’s not forget that her granduncle

vanished in that tower.

True.

And then there was that one time

when Mahito’s mother Hisako also went missing as well.

Hmm?

[Aiko] We searched the whole village

and couldn’t find her.

[Izumi] Then, after a year,

she came back happy and healthy.

She looked the same as the day she went missing.

No memory of what happened to her

and grinning ear to ear.

Oh.

It’s so bizarre, isn’t it?

[Shoichi] Hmm.

Do we have the key to the tower?

Yes, but, sir…

I want to see for myself.

[insects trilling]

[critters chittering]

[breathing heavily]

I can’t. I’m pooped. [groans]

I was definitely not built for walking, that’s for sure.

At this rate, I’m not gonna be able

to make it to where Natsuko is.

If only I could find a way to plug this hole up,

then maybe I could fly.

Just shove a stick in it or something.

Ah, no, that’s easy for you to say!

The one who made the hole

has to fill it, or it won’t work!

And is that lie true or not?

I’ve never told a lie in my life!

♪ ♪

[heron whimpering]

Gentle.

[pained whimper]

Just-just smooth that part there a bit more, please.

Will you shut up?

[straining]

It’s already through. No need to push so hard.

If you’re not careful, you’re gonna break your beak.

[heron panting]

How’s it feel?

[heron whimpers]

[grunting]

Oh!

Look at me!

I’m back to my gorgeous and powerful self!

So, are you able to fly?

You and I aren’t friends or allies, kid.

You got that?

So long.

You’ll have to find Natsuko

and figure out how to get out of here

all on your… [mumbling]

Is it coming out?

No, see, the thing is, uh…

[nasally] It sticks out a little bit.

Right here!

This really bugs me.

Right there.

Wait. Don’t take too much off.

Please shut up.

It’s someone’s home.

The blacksmith lives here.

Shh! Get down or they’ll see you.

That’s a big parakeet.

Hmm, this is weird.

I wonder what they’re doing hanging around here.

Oh, maybe they’ve eaten the blacksmith. Hmm.

Wait. They eat people?

[chuckling] Those guys will even eat an elephant.

The parakeets are like the pelicans.

They were brought here by the master.

Uh, so you’re gonna have to go through there

to get to the tower where Natsuko is.

I’ll draw them out.

Then you can run in.

Okay. Let’s do it.

[squawking wildly]

[whimpers, grunts]

[heron whimpering loudly]

[chittering]

[parakeets tweeting]

[panting]

[squawks]

[screaming]

[parakeets tweeting]

[laughs]

[gasps]

We have been waiting for you.

Do you know if there’s a woman by the name of Natsuko here?

I’ve been trying to find her.

Right this way.

This way.

You’re all monsters!

Are you going to eat me like you ate Natsuko?

Natsuko has baby inside.

We no eat babies.

You no have baby.

[parakeets in unison] Eatable. Eatable.

[whooshing]

[parakeets yelling]

[chirping frantically]

Himi!

[panicked chattering, squawking]

You’re either dumb or brave.

They almost made a stew out of you.

[gasps] You must be Himi.

You saved my life. I must thank you.

And I’m guessing you’re the little brat

who was with Kiriko the other night.

My name is Mahito.

I’m looking for someone. Her name is Natsuko.

Natsuko? You mean my sister?

She’s your sister?

Let’s go.

We should hurry.

[gasps]

♪ ♪

[Mahito gasping, grunting]

Welcome to my home.

♪ ♪

[gasps] That looks just like the tower in my world.

Well, sure. That’s ’cause it’s the same one.

That tower over there has the ability

to straddle all kinds of different worlds.

Now, come.

♪ ♪

Eat it.

Hurry, before the jam drips.

You know, Kiriko also loves the bread that I make.

It tastes so good!

It tastes exactly like the bread

my mother used to bake when I was little.

Oh, so does that mean Natsuko’s your mother, then?

She’s not.

Natsuko is someone my dad likes.

My mother’s already dead.

Yeah, mine is as well.

Better eat your fill.

We’re going to be traveling really deep inside.

Don’t wander.

If you get lost in this garden, you’ll never get out.

I see a guard.

♪ ♪

[grunts] Be careful.

Inside here, there’s limits to what my powers can do.

This way.

What are these doors?

Be quiet, please. You’ll mess me up.

[gasps] This is the one.

Don’t get too close or you’ll get sucked in.

[gasps]

Father?

Oh, so that’s your father, huh?

If you want to go home,

all you have to do is open this door.

What about Natsuko?

I’m not leaving here without her.

But she says she doesn’t want to leave.

She’s going to have her baby.

Parakeets.

We’re trapped. No choice.

Hurry, turn it hard!

Don’t let go, no matter what.

Ready?

[wind howling]

Now grab the outside knob!

Shut the door!

Where are we?

You can’t let go yet.

Once you let go of it, you’re never going to be able

to find it again.

[both gasp]

Hmm? It’s Mahito!

Mahito! Mahito!

Father.

Want to stay?

If you do, then just let go.

Not yet. We have to save Natsuko.

[Lady Himi gasps]

[parakeets squealing]

[both grunting]

Ah, get back, you monsters!

[grunting]

[groaning]

Oh, Mahito turned into a parakeet.

Father, I’m sorry.

Oh. Sir?

Mahito has turned into a little budgie!

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

[crackling]

[Mahito groans]

Don’t touch the stone if you can.

It’s not happy about us being here.

The delivery room’s through here.

That’s where Natsuko is.

[crackling]

The stone’s upset that we’re here right now.

I wouldn’t go in if I were you.

I don’t have a choice.

I’ll wait for you here.

All right.

[whooshing]

♪ ♪

Natsuko, it’s Mahito.

Miss Natsuko.

[wind gusting]

[Mahito gasping]

[grunting]

[grunts]

Natsuko, it’s Mahito.

I’m here to take you home.

Please, Natsuko!

Let’s go home.

[gasps]

You. What are you doing?

Get out! You can’t be here.

Go back!

Now!

[both groaning]

Please come with me.

I’m not going anywhere with you!

I hate you!

[trembling breaths]

Just go! Leave!

♪ ♪

Mother.

Natsuko…

[grunting]

Mother!

Let’s go back! Mother!

[whooshing]

[Mahito straining]

Mahito, run!

Mother, please! [grunts]

[gasps]

♪ ♪

Master of the great stone, will you grant me one wish?

Let my sister lying there go home

with this boy who will be her son.

[crackling]

Natsuko. Natsuko.

Come. You can do it.

You just have to get up.

♪ ♪

That’s it. That’s a good girl.

Now, come here.

[whooshing]

[squawking]

[parakeets tweeting]

[grunting softly]

♪ ♪

[whooshing, crackling]

You’re here, descendant.

My name is Mahito.

Are you the tower master, my great-granduncle?

Wait right there.

But be quiet.

[granduncle groans]

This world that we’re in…

[grunts]

now it will last another day.

One day?

This world is only going to last for one more day?

[Granduncle] Follow me.

♪ ♪

[wind whistling]

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

This world I’ve created, and all my power,

every little bit of it originates from this stone.

That stone?

So that stone is what created this whole sea world?

And there’s more work to be done.

Worlds are living things,

and they can be infected by mold and bugs.

I have grown old.

I seek someone to be my successor.

Mahito, will you continue my work?

You want me?

Whoever it is that succeeds me

has to be someone from my bloodline.

That is the contract I made with the stone.

However, whether or not this world becomes

a thing of beauty or an abomination

will be entirely in your hands.

Does this have to do with your blocks?

[Granduncle] You may choose any of these blocks to add to it.

Perhaps you will be able to make this world

a more harmonious place than I could.

Those aren’t made out of wood.

They look like gravestones.

I can sense their malice.

[high-pitched scraping]

That’s very observant.

And that’s the reason I chose you to succeed me.

[high-pitched scraping continues]

[pedal thumping rhythmically]

[straining]

[grunts]

[parakeet squeals]

[heron grunts]

[parakeet whimpers]

[groaning, panting]

Thank you.

We’ll talk later.

♪ ♪

[shrieks]

[tweeting]

Himi’s been captured.

She can handle herself just fine.

We’ve got to save her.

[cheering]

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

[gasps]

[grunts]

[chattering]

♪ ♪

Do you think she’ll be all right?

I can’t tell. It looks like they’re planning

on taking her to their lord.

Their lord?

Your great-granduncle. Who else?

I’m guessing they’ll use her as leverage

to make some kind of deal with him.

What do you mean, “deal”?

[Heron] So they can get everything they want.

The tower is full of parakeets now.

And your transgression gave them the excuse they needed to do it.

What transgression?

Taboo.

You entered Lady Natsuko’s delivery room.

Big no-no.

Why take Himi when I was the one who went in?

Bringing you there was taboo, too.

We can see everything from here.

You got to look higher.

[parakeets cheering and chirping]

[Parakeet King] Subjects, this is far enough.

You will await my news here.

Please, Your Majesty, let us accompany you further.

We live to serve you!

Please, Your Majesty! Please, Your Majesty!

Your dedication has been noted.

However, I must do this task alone.

Subjects, live well in my absence.

Three cheers for our noble parakeet king!

[cheering, squawking]

[burbling]

[groans]

[gasping]

[gasping]

[heron grunting softly]

[heron groans]

[both gasping, whimpering]

[straining]

[grunts]

[groans]

[panting, grunting]

[rumbling]

[crackling]

[parakeets grunting rapidly]

Enough!

Let us pass.

We have Lady Himi, our lord’s descendant!

Yield!

♪ ♪

[shudders] Is this heaven?

It’s our ancestors!

It’s paradise.

Your Majesty, is this what they call paradise?

That’s enough talking.

Look at all this.

[gasps] So beautiful.

[sobbing]

♪ ♪

[footsteps approaching]

[Granduncle] So, you made it.

Have a seat.

Actually, let’s take a walk.

♪ ♪

[chuckling]

Yes, entering the delivery room was against the rules.

It is no laughing matter.

Rather, it is a grave transgression.

No doubt.

The stone has been shimmering dangerously.

Nevertheless, children’s souls are precious.

As the king, I cannot simply ignore

a transgression of this magnitude.

[Granduncle] Give me a little more time.

I want Mahito to become my successor.

♪ ♪

Granduncle.

We must protect this world ourselves,

or it shall perish at this rate.

Mahito is a good boy,

but it seems the time has come to let him go home.

[gasping breaths]

Oh, Granduncle!

[sobbing]

[Granduncle] You must go, too.

[debris falling]

[grunting]

[heron groaning]

[gasping]

There it is.

It’s the passage.

I’ve come through this passage before.

[crackling]

[heron yelps, grunts]

I’ve never been this way before.

We should be heading back, Your Majesty.

I will stay behind.

Make sure you make it back to the others alive.

And tell them your king forged ahead like a king should.

Yes, sir.

Fare thee well.

[heron yelps, whimpers]

♪ ♪

Hey, chief, maybe we should get out of here.

What do you think?

This way.

Himi’s calling.

Are you sure about that?

Because I can’t hear so much as a peep.

[gasps]

Himi!

[sobbing] Mahito!

What’s the matter, Himi?

Did they hurt you?

Mm-mm, no.

I just thought I’d never see you again.

I’m so relieved.

[murmuring]

Granduncle has been waiting to talk to you.

I know. I’ll go.

Something doesn’t feel right.

You don’t have to…

It’s okay.

Huh?

It’s getting dark out there!

[wind howling]

The stone building blocks.

It’s better if you don’t touch them.

They look like they still hold some power.

I’m back, Granduncle.

And I’ve brought Mahito with me.

Here I am.

Take a look.

These stones here have not been stained with malice.

♪ ♪

I had to travel the far reaches of time and space

in order to find them.

There are 13 stones in all.

You just need to stack them once every three days.

You can build your own tower.

A kingdom that is free from malice.

Create a world of bounty, peace and beauty.

♪ ♪

I gave myself this scar on my head.

It’s a sign of my malice.

That’s why I won’t touch those stones.

And I’m going back home with Natsuko, my mother.

So you would rather return to a chaotic world

full of murderers and thieves?

Soon, your world will be a sea of flames.

But I’ll find my friends there.

Like Himi and Kiriko and the heron man.

Me?

I will allow you to return

to your world and find those friends.

Just stack the stones before you go.

Time’s running out.

I cannot keep my tower standing.

[whimpers]

You dare betray us like this?

How could you place the fate of the entire empire

upon a mere handful of stones?!

No, don’t fall. No, no, no, no, no.

[yells]

[whooshing]

[frightened whimpering]

[squawks]

Himi! Mahito!

Return to the corridor of time!

Go back to your own time!

Granduncle! [whimpers]

[heron screaming]

[whimpering]

[Heron] The planet’s breaking apart!

Grab my legs!

[grunting]

♪ ♪

[heron straining]

[gasps]

Thank you for everything, Granduncle.

Come on.

[rumbling, crackling]

Hurry! Hurry! [whimpers]

[frantic tweeting]

[Kiriko] Lady Natsuko!

[gasps]

This is it. Your world is through here.

What’s gonna happen to you, Himi?

My door is a different one.

I have to go there as I’m going to become your mother.

But if you go back there, you’re gonna die

in the fire at the hospital.

Fire doesn’t scare me.

You know I’m really lucky to have you as a son.

Please don’t. You’ve got to live, Himi.

I hope you know what a good boy you are.

[rumbling]

[panicked whimpering]

They’re here!

[grunting]

Mother, you’re okay.

Mahito.

Thank goodness.

Big sister.

Wishing you the best of luck with your birth.

Come on. We have to hurry.

[parakeets squawking]

[gasps]

[screams]

[heron yelps]

[whimpers, groans]

[both gasp]

[Natsuko chuckles]

[laughing] So cute.

[rumbling]

♪ ♪

Hey! Over here!

[chirping]

That’s good.

It looks like the pelicans made it out as well.

[Heron] Hey, Mahito.

You don’t remember where we just came from, do you?

Of course I do.

That’s a bad thing.

You better forget it.

But why?

Because most people tend to forget.

Hmm?

You didn’t bring back anything from there, did you?

[gasps]

[rustling]

That’s one powerful charm you’ve got there.

That thing’s way too powerful for the likes of me.

Mm, hey, is that one of them stones?

There was a field full of them, so I picked it up.

This is why you can’t trust amateurs.

Well, I guess that stone’s not so powerful anymore.

You’ll forget everything in time.

Or at least you should.

So long, my friend.

[gasps]

[gasps, grunts]

[Kiriko yelps, groans]

Kiriko!

Parakeet king?

[all gasping]

[excited chatter]

Natsuko! Mahito!

Shoichi!

Father!

[excited chatter continues]

[Mahito] Two years after the war, we returned to Tokyo.

[Shoichi] Hey! Mahito!

Let’s go!

Coming!

[footsteps descending stairs]

[“Spinning Globe” by Kenshi Yonezu playing]

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