Earwig and the Witch Earwig and the Witch

For the first time in six years, American audiences will get to see a brand-new Studio Ghibli feature in theaters next year. Earwig and the Witch will be released in early 2021 by Gkids, longstanding distributor of the studio’s works.

The film follows Earwig, a young girl who has grown up an orphan, unaware that she’s the daughter of a witch — and ends up being adopted by a witch, no less. Ghibli’s first fully cg-animated feature, it is directed by Goro Miyazaki, who has helmed two features at the studio: Tales from Earthsea and From Up on Poppy Hill. The first images, released last month, mark quite a departure from the house style.

Goro’s father Hayao is credited for the movie’s “planning,” which suggest that he was pivotal in the narrative development, while longtime Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki is once again producing. NHK and NEP (NHK Enterprises) are co-producers. Earwig and the Witch was one of four animated features selected as part of Cannes’s official line-up this year.

Two small points. Firstly, Americans are getting a privilege that Japanese audiences may be denied: in Japan, the film will air on tv this winter, but there’s no talk of a theatrical release (yet). Secondly, the English title differs from the Japanese one, Aya and the Witch. This isn’t surprising, as Earwig and the Witch is the title of the novel (by English author Diana Wynne Jones) on which the film is based.

Gkids has distributed almost all Ghibli’s films in North America. In a statement, president David Jesteadt said, “A new Studio Ghibli film is always a cause for celebration for fans around the world. We are excited to see Goro Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli working in a new animation style, and look forward to sharing the film with audiences early next year.”

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