During the Second World War, young Mahito Maki (Soma Santoki) suffers a heartbreaking family tragedy and must move immediately to the countryside, where his father (Takuya Kimura) works for a family making planes for Japan’s military, as Miyazaki’s own father did.
Isolated, Mahito begins exploring the mysterious landscapes and encounters a grey heron, persistent in its presence. The boy also happens upon an abandoned tower. Curious, he enters. From there, The Boy and the Heron expands into a wondrous, often-startling phantasmagoria.