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Goro Miyazaki Says He's Confident in Upcoming Earwig and the Witch CG Film

posted on by Kim Morrissy
'I didn't consult with any of the old guys [at Ghibli] at all.'

Goro Miyazaki, the son of Studio Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki, commented on his upcoming CG feature Earwig and the Witch at a press conference on Tuesday. He described it as "a work I want everyone to see right now" and said that it was mostly created by young staff. The Mainichi Shimbun's Mantan-Web quotes him saying playfully, "I didn't consult with any of the old guys [at Ghibli] at all."

Miyazaki began by describing the heroine Earwig as follows: "She's a type of heroine who hasn't been represented in Ghibli until now, and she's a strong girl who does every conceivable thing to live how she wants to live. She feels an overwhelming pressure and withstands a lot of hardships, yet remains bright throughout it all."

He then highlighted the fact that the film is animated in full 3DCG, and then said, "I was the only one among the people at Ghibli who knows that method of creation, so I was able to push the project forward without consulting with anyone. Hayao Miyazaki told me to go ahead with it, and producer Toshio Suzuki encouraged me, saying that it seemed like a fine idea, but after that, I was left to my own devices. I was basically abandoned, so I made the anime with a young staff and didn't consult with the old guys at all."

The 82-minute feature is an anime adaptation of Diana Wynne Jones' novel of the same name, and will have its television premiere on the NHK General channel this winter. The Cannes Film Festival chose the film as part of its Official Selection this year. GKIDS will release the film in theaters in North America in early 2021.

Goro Miyazaki has previously commented that Japan has many adults but few children (due to declining birth rates and longer life expectancy), so it is tough to be a child today. He was pondering this when he first encountered the character Earwig. It was then that he realized that she would be ideal for these times, as he imagined how she would deal with troublesome adults. The director hopes "from the bottom of my heart that our cheeky, yet cute, Earwig will encourage children — and cheer adults up."

Suzuki left a comment on the NHK's website musing what the world will be like after the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19). He added that this is the biggest concern for people all over the world now, and that movies and television cannot avoid dealing with this. When he previewed the movie's early footage, he often wondered if Earwig and the Witch will hold up as a work after COVID-19. He realized that this story's strong point is Earwig's cleverness. He concluded that if we have cleverness, we can overcome any troubling times.

Suzuki noted that if Pippi Longstocking (a children's literary character whom Hayao Miyazaki wanted to animate) is the "strongest girl in the world," then Earwig is the cleverest girl in the world. He described Earwig as "cheeky, yet somehow cute." As an aside, he said that if he had to describe Earwig as resembling anyone, it would be director Goro Miyazaki himself. When Suzuki mentioned that to Goro Miyazaki, the director became suddenly self-conscious.

Jones published the novel in 2011, and publisher HarperCollins describes the story:

Not every orphan would love living at St. Morwald's Home for Children, but Earwig does. She gets whatever she wants, whenever she wants it, and it's been that way since she was dropped on the orphanage doorstep as a baby. But all that changes the day Bella Yaga and the Mandrake come to St. Morwald's, disguised as foster parents. Earwig is whisked off to their mysterious house full of invisible rooms, potions, and spell books, with magic around every corner. Most children would run in terror from a house like that . . . but not Earwig. Using her own cleverness—with a lot of help from a talking cat—she decides to show the witch who's boss.

Jones' Howl's Moving Castle also inspired a 2004 anime film by Hayao Miyazaki, and the film earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Feature.

Goro Miyazaki directed the Tales from Earthsea and From Up On Poppy Hill anime films at Studio Ghibli, and also directed the Internationa Emmy-winning Ronja the Robber's Daughter CG anime series at Polygon Pictures, with assistance by Studio Ghibli.

Source: The Mainichi Shimbun's Mantan-Web


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