earwig and the witch us release

Studio Ghibli‘s first CG-animated film has a new U.S. distributor, a release date, and a title for American audiences. Earwig and the Witch, titled in Japan as Aya and the Witch, has been acquired by U.S. anime distributor GKIDS, which has set the film’s U.S. release date for 2021.

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aya and the witch images

Studio Ghibli has built a reputation as being the last bastion for 2D animation, one of the final holdouts of that warm, whimsical, hand-drawn style before the entire animation industry succumbs to to the ease of CG animation. But the venerated Japanese animation studio, which has long stood in the shadow of co-founder Hayao Miyazaki, even closing its doors when the animation legend “retired” in 2013, needs to innovate too.

Ghibli has dabbled with 3D animation over the years, with Miyazaki using CG to animate the more intense sequences in Princess Mononoke and even creating a CG short film in 2018, Boro the Caterpillar. So a fully CG-animated feature film was only the next step for Studio Ghibli. But it wasn’t Hayao Miyazaki who would direct Ghibli’s first CG feature, but his son Goro Miyazaki, with the upcoming Aya and the Witch, based on the novel by Howl’s Moving Castle author Diana Wynne Jones. So what could Ghibli’s first fully CG-animated film look like? See for yourself with the first Aya and the Witch images below.

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Hayao Miyazaki short film

In January of 2019, we learned that legendary Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki and his filmmaker son, Goro Miyazaki, were working on new movies. The elder Miyazaki’s film still has years of work left before it will be completed, and the younger’s movie was previously shrouded in mystery. All we knew about it was that it would be a rare all-CG movie for the venerated Studio Ghibli, and that it was based on an English book about “a very wise girl.”

Today, more details came to light. Goro Miyazaki’s mysterious movie was announced as part of the 2020 Cannes Film Festival’s virtual lineup, and the title has been revealed: it’s called Aya to Majo, or Aya and the Witch, and it’s based on a book by the author of Howl’s Moving Castle, which Studio Ghibli adapted into a movie in 2004. Read More »