The Boy and the Heron is coming to Netflix (But there’s a catch!)

The Boy and the Heron
The Boy and the Heron /

Those who have been fans of The Boy and the Heron since its theatrical release will be very glad to learn that the Academy Award-winning film is heading to Netflix! However, not all fans will be able to experience this film finally making its way to a streaming service.

As reported by Variety, the Studio Ghibli film has been acquired by Netflix to stream in the soon-coming future. An official release date has yet to be released, but when the date is announced, you'll find that only certain countries have access to the film. In fact, two countries are left out.

The Boy and the Heron will not come to Netflix U.S. and Japan

Although it hasn't been confirmed as to why Netflix users located in Japan and the United States won't be able to view The Boy and the Heron, we believe that the reason for the U.S. specifically may lie in the fact that the animated title is already set to release on Max (formerly HBO Max).

Max is home to plenty of Studio Ghibli films due to its partnership with GKIDS. Also, since the 2023 film recently won Best Animated Feature, it's almost a given that Max would want nothing more than to have such an acclaimed film on its site and that GKIDS would honor this by using both the second theatrical release of the film in North American theaters and the Max release as a form of a celebration.

See the first installment of GKIDS' celebration below (featuring some kind words from Studio Ghibli co-founder, Toshio Suzuki).

Netflix often has some Max original titles on its site (i.e. Insecure and Six Feet Under), but that's under different licensing deals. When it was announced that Max would be the streaming home to The Boy and the Heron, the press release clarified that the streamer got the "exclusive rights," meaning they would be the only platform to offer the movie wherever Max is available.

Having said all this, it's easy to see why viewers in the United States will not get to stream The Boy and the Heron on Netflix. Nevertheless, we will never say never, as the licensing deal might change at some point in the future.

As for Japan, it's not known where or when The Boy and the Heron will stream at this time, unfortunately.

As you wait to learn more information, be sure to catch The Boy and the Heron in theaters, returning to the big screen at some point soon in the United States. For those in China, the film is also headed to theaters in the mainland in April.

Stay tuned with Anime Away for more updates on your favorite anime titles!