Studio Ghibli film director Goro Miyazaki explores the world of children in his unconventional new film, inviting us to “see their world, what they want to be, and how they can make it happen.”

Ken Ishii, The Sankei Shimbun, JAPAN Foward

Ghibli’s latest feature-length animated movie, Earwig and the Witch was released in cinemas in Japan on August 27.

Unlike its several successful earlier anime films, such as My Neighbor Totoro (1988) and Spirited Away (2001), with this new film production company Studio Ghibli is embarking on a completely new way of telling the story.

Earwig and the Witch is created using 3D computer graphics for the first time. The Sankei Shimbun and JAPAN Forward talked to the film’s director, Goro Miyazaki (54), to learn more.

In the story, Aya (Earwig in the English version), a 10-year-old girl, is adopted by a witch and forced to do housework. Initially, she is not keen on the idea because she had been promised that she would be taught magic, and she doesn’t see any sign of this. At that point Aya rebels ー and fights back.

“Aya is a good child,” Goro Miyazaki says, laughing. “But she’s not a typical Ghibli-like heroine.”

The story is loosely based on a novel by Diana Wynne Jones, an English writer who also wrote the story of Howl’s Moving Castle (2004), another Ghibli film.

But unlike the previous anime, this story begins and ends with a slapstick scene in the witch’s house.

As Goro Miyazaki explained, “I thought it would be more interesting to create something by focusing on the characters rather than relying on the storyline, as in the earlier anime films.”

Noting that this work brings to mind some original anime films, except that it uses the latest 3D animation technology, Miyazaki added: “I thought we might have a chance of success there.”

By - grape Japan editorial staff.