A few years after Hayao Miyazaki devastatingly announced his retirement from making Studio Ghibli films, he has re-emerged to direct a new Studio Ghibli film with his son, Goro Miyazaki, titled Earwig And The Witch. Initially titled, Aya And The Witch or Aya To Majo, the film will be released February 5.
A New Direction
In a controversial move (considering the animation house is so famous for their intricate and dream-like cartoons0), the new film is the first Studio Ghibli film to be produced in 3D CGI. Considering it's not been done for a Studio Ghibli film before, die-hard fans certainly have some strong opinions, but are nevertheless excited for a new production to come out under the Miyazaki name.
Based on a novel by Diana Wynne Jones, who also wrote the book that Howl’s Moving Castle was adapted from, Earwig And The Witch tells the story of Earwig, an orphan who is adopted by a witch and taken to her new house to discover it filled with magic. The preview, which you can watch yourself below, shows baby Earwig, who is dropped off at an orphanage by her motorcycle-riding mother, voiced by Kacey Musgraves (!!). Earwig is pictured sucking on a cassette tape, which instructs her never to leave the home.
When is it coming out?
Earwig And The Witch was supposed to premiere at the 2020 Cannes Film Festival, but was held up when COVID-19 spread globally. As a counter solution, it’s said to be set for release in cinemas on February 3, and for those who can't make it to theatres any time soon, it will be available to stream on HBO Max on February 5. Watch the preview ahead of its release, below.
While Miyazaki has hauled himself out of retirement - causing a collective sigh of relief - to produce Earwig And The Witch alongside his son, he is also working on another hand-drawn project on the side, How Do You Live?, and seemingly has been for the past 3 years, amounting to only 36 minutes of footage so far. In a statement on this project, Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki told Entertainment Weekly "There are more drawings to draw than before. Back when we were making My Neighbor Totoro, we only had eight animators. Totoro we made in eight months. [For] the current film that Hayao Miyazaki is working on, we have 60 animators, but we are only able to come up with one minute of animation in a month. That means 12 months a year, you get 12 minutes worth of movie. Actually, we've been working on this film for three years, so that means we have 36 minutes completed so far. We're hoping it will finish in the next three years." The good news is that Miyazaki Senior's plans to uphold the traditional drawing techniques that have made his work so successful in How Do You Live?, so we can expect for the Ghibli magic to remain even while it expands to CGI.
Image credit: @ghibliuk