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Studio Ghibli Is Making Its First Completely CG-Animated Film, 'Aya and the Witch'

It'll screen on Japanese TV this year — fingers crossed it makes its way Down Under then, too.
By Sarah Ward
June 07, 2020
By Sarah Ward
June 07, 2020

Since 2016, the cinema-loving world has had a Studio Ghibli-shaped hole in its heart. That's when the acclaimed Japanese animation house released its most recent film, the gorgeous French co-production The Red Turtle. Its last solo production actually came two years earlier, courtesy of 2014's When Marnie Was There.

Still, much has happened in Studio Ghibli's world over the past decade. Hayao Miyazaki announced his retirement, then changed his mind. In 2018, fellow co-founder and acclaimed director Isao Takahata sadly passed away. And, over the past few years, the company has been busying itself with its very own theme park. The latter is due to open in 2022 and become quite the tourist attraction — but that doesn't mean that fans aren't keen for more Ghibli movies.

Thankfully, the studio revealed earlier this year that it's working on just that, with two new films on its slate for 2020. One of those movies will be helmed by My Neighbour Totoro, Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle icon Miyazaki, with How Do You Live? actually first announced a few years back. As for the second film, information have been scarce to date; however the company has just provided more than a few details.

Called Aya and the Witch — and also known as Earwig and the Witch in English — the movie will mark the first Studio Ghibli completely made using computer-generated animation. Director-wise, it's helmed by Hayao Miyazaki's son Goro Miyazaki, who previously directed Tales from Earthsea and From Up On Poppy Hill. It's also based on a novel written by British author Diana Wynne Jones, who penned the book that Howl's Moving Castle was adapted from, too. And, it'll head straight to Japanese television, with the film airing on local broadcaster NHK TV sometime during Japan's winter.

Just when audiences elsewhere will get to see Aya and the Witch is yet to be revealed; however it was announced this week that it would've screened at the 2020 Cannes Film Festival if the event had gone ahead this year. In lieu of holding a physical fest, the prestigious event announced a lineup of 56 movies it would've shown, giving them the 'Cannes 2020 Official Selection' label — and Ghibli's latest is one of them.

In terms of story, Aya and the Witch focuses on a girl at an orphanage. She enjoys living there, but her world changes when she's chosen to live with a couple — including, as the title makes plain, a witch.

Fingers crossed that Aya and the Witch will head to screens Down Under sooner rather than later. In the interim, you can get your Ghibli fix by checking out the company's online tours of its museum on the outskirts of Tokyo:

Via Studio Ghibli. Top image: Howl's Moving Castle.

Published on June 07, 2020 by Sarah Ward


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