This Friday, for our first episode of 2024, we discuss The Boy and The Heron, the latest film from legendary filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki and his team at Studio Ghibli. It is the most expensive Japanese film ever made, and has received widespread critical acclaim. But what, exactly, is it about? Lilah chats through it with political columnist Stephen Bush and Leo Lewis, the FT’s Asia Business editor, who has co-written a book on anime. Is it about his past, or the future of animation? Where does it sit in the Studio Ghibli canon? And is Miyazaki ever really done?


We love hearing from you. Lilah is on Instagram @lilahrap. You can email her at


Links (all FT links get you past the paywall):

The FT’s review of The Boy and the Heron is here:

– Leo’s book on anime, co-authored with Roland Kelts, is called Japanamerica. His exclusive FT interview with Studio Ghibli’s Toshio Suzuki is here:

– Here’s a recent FT interview with Miyazaki’s closest collaborators:

– The other films we mentioned are Spirited Away, My Neighbour Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Ponyo, Howl’s Moving Castle and Castle in the Sky

– Stephen wants less expensive video games. He recommends the indie game I Was A Teenage Exocolonist

– Lilah recommends the docuseries 10 years with Miyazaki, which is available for free on NHK World Japan, and Italianamerican, which is available on Max

– Leo is on X @Urbandirt. Stephen Bush is @stephenkb

– You can get a free trial to Stephen’s political newsletter Inside Politics – which includes a daily cultural recommendation – by clicking here


Special FT subscription offers for Life and Art podcast listeners, from 50% off a digital subscription to a $1/£1/€1 trial, are here:


Original music by Metaphor Music. Mixing and sound design by Breen Turner, Sam Giovinco and Simon Panayi.

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