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Ghibli Unveils 1st Visuals From Its 1st CG Feature, Earwig and the Witch

posted on by Egan Loo
Director Goro Miyazaki comments on winter TV movie of Howl's Moving Castle author's novel

Studio Ghibli and NHK posted the first visuals from the studio's first CG feature, Goro Miyazaki's anime of Diana Wynne Jones' Earwig and the Witch (Āya to Majo) novel, on Friday.

Goro Miyazaki, the son of Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki, 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."

Earwig and the Witch adapts Diana Wynne Jones' novel of the same name. The 82-minute feature will have its television premiere on the NHK General channel this winter. Goro Miyazaki is directing the movie as the studio's first full 3D CG feature, and Hayao Miyazaki is credited for the movie's planning and development. Studio Ghibli co-founder Toshio Suzuki is producing. French distributor Wild Bunch International is serving as its international sales agent.

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.

Hayao Miyazaki's first CG-animated work was 2018's Ghibli Museum short "Boro the Caterpillar." He is directing his own new feature film Kimi-tachi wa Dō Ikiru ka (How Do You Live?) Suzuki reported in May that that the staff has completed 36 minutes of the movie so far, and is hoping to finish it in the next three years.

Sources: Ghibli, NHK, Comic Natalie

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