17 Mar 2021
1st December 2020
Studio Ghibli’s new film will be set in the U.K.
Studio Ghibli announced a released date for their next feature film. Earwig and the Witch, known as アーヤと魔女 (Aya and the Witch) in Japanese, will be shown on NHK at 7:30 pm on December 30th. The story centres around a 10-year-old orphan girl who discovers she is descended from witches when two mysterious strangers take an interest in her.
Earwig and the Witch is an adaptation of a children’s novel of the same name by English author Diana Wynne Jones. She also wrote Howl’s Moving Castle, which was adapted into a Ghibli film in 2004. This is the first feature film the studio has released since 2014’s When Marnie Was There, also adapted from a British novel. Those who have seen this film will know that studio Ghibli made the slightly confusing choice to set When Marnie was There on Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido, rather than its original English setting. In contrast, Earwig and the Witch will take place in its original U.K. setting, and its original time frame; the 1990s.
If you follow Ghibli news, you will know that it had been a bumpy ride for Earwig and the Witch. First, it attracted controversy because of its director, Goro Miyazaki. He is the son of Hayao Miyazaki but also known for directing Tales of Earth Sea, widely regarded to be the studios worst film. Fans were also dismayed to learn that this film would be Ghibli’s first GCI animated feature. The 2D animation style of Ghibli is iconic, and with more and more 3D animation being made across the world, some fear this may spell the end for 2D Ghibli films. The last issue Earwig and the Witch had to go up against was the Corona Virus. The release date and production status were up in the air for a long time before the decision was made to release the film on NHK.
Despite all odds, the film may still be a success. Being the only feature-length film that Studio Ghibli has released for six years, and airing it on NHK will mean millions of viewers are sure to check it out. This may be another iconic story that the Japanese public forever associate with the U.K.