Still from Studio Ghibli’s Earwig and the Witch© 2020 NHK, NEP, Studio Ghibli
This week we review Earwig and the Witch from Studio Ghibli. In the film, a headstrong orphan discovers a world of spells and potions while living with a selfish witch. As super fans of Studio Ghibli, our hosts have been waiting for this one to release. The first Ghibli film in four years and the studio’s first feature-length CGI, there was a lot riding on its shoulders. While Earwig and the Witch aims to continue Studio Ghibli’s tradition of pushing the boundaries of animation and storytelling.
While the gets close, it feels unfinished. Directed by Gorô Miyazaki, written by Keiko Niwa and Emi Gunji, and produced by studio co-founder Toshio Suzuki, with planning from Hayao Miyazaki, the film is based on the novel of the same name by Diana Wynne Jones, the author behind the source material for Howl’s Moving Castle.
The film focuses on Earwig (Kokoro Hirasawa/Taylor Paige Henderson), an orphan growing up in an orphanage in the British Countryside. Set on never being adopted, Earwig does what she can to stay in the home with her friends, but that changes when a strange couple, Bella Yaga (Shinobu Terajima/Vanessa Marshall) and the Mandrake (Etsuchi Toyokawa/Richard E. Grant), takes her in. But this odd couple isn’t planning to be Earwig’s foster parents. Instead, Earwig is made to work as a witch’s extra set of hands. Headstrong and independent, the young girl sets out to uncover the secrets of her new guardians and discovers a world of spells and potions, all with the help of Thomas (Gaku Hamada/Dan Stevens), a black cat. Along the way, she discovers a mysterious song that may be the key to finding the family she has always wanted.
For Kate’s full review, check that out here.