SciFi Japan

    EARWIG AND THE WITCH — Info and Pics From Studio Ghibli’s Latest Film

    The new Studio Ghibli film EARWIG AND THE WITCH will premiere in Japan next month, with a North American release following in 2021. Image courtesy of GKIDS. © 2020 NHK, NEP, Studio Ghibli

    Source: Studio Ghibli, GKIDS Inc., Wild Bunch
    Official Site: (US)

    Key art courtesy of GKIDS. © 2020 NHK, NEP, Studio Ghibli

    After a long absence, Studio Ghibli returns with their first entirely 3DCG animated feature, EARWIG AND THE WITCH (アーヤと魔女, Āya to Majo). Like their internationally acclaimed movie HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE (ハウルの動く城, Hauru no Ugoku Shiro, 2004), the film is adapted from a classic children’s novel by the late Diana Wynne Jones.

    EARWIG AND THE WITCH is directed by Goro Miyazaki, who previously helmed Studio Ghibli’s TALES FROM EARTHSEA (ゲド戦記, Gedo Senki, 2006) and FROM UP ON POPPY HILL (コクリコ坂から, Kokuriko-zaka Kara, 2011), and produced by studio co-founder Toshio Suzuki. Initial planning was handled by Goro’s father Hayao Miyazaki, the Academy Award-winning filmmaker behind such works as MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO (となりのトトロ, Tonari no Totoro, 1988) and SPIRITED AWAY (千と千尋の神隠し, Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi, 2001).

    The voice cast is headlined by Shinobu Terajima (R100, FLEA-PICKING SAMURAI) as Bella Yaga, Etsushi Toyokawa (THE GREAT YOKAI WAR, SINKING OF JAPAN, 20th CENTURY BOYS Trilogy) as Mandrake, Gaku Hamada (THE FOREIGN DUCK THE NATIVE DUCK AND GOD, BATTLE LEAGUE HORUMO, ONE PIECE FILM GOLD, SAMURAI SHIFTERS) as Thomas the cat, and Kokoro Hirasawa (LIBRARY WARS, SADAKO 2 3D, BLEACH) as Earwig.

    An official selection for the 2020 Cannes Film Festival, EARWIG AND THE WITCH is slated to air on Japan’s NHK General TV service on December 30. As a tie-in, on December 19-20 NHK will also broadcast two omnibus films of RONJA, THE ROBBER’S DAUGHTER (山賊の娘ローニャ, Sanzoku no Musume Rōnya), the 2014-15 anime series directed by Goro Miyazaki and co-produced by Polygon Pictures and Studio Ghibli.

    North American distributor GKIDS will release EARWIG AND THE WITCH theatrically in the United States and Canada in early 2021. Wild Bunch, a longtime partner of Studio Ghibli, is handling international sales for the film.

    Earwig (Kokoro Hirasawa) and Thomas (Gaku Hamada). Image courtesy of GKIDS. © 2020 NHK, NEP, Studio Ghibli


    Earwig was left at St Morwald’s Home for Children as a baby. Growing up in an orphanage, she has no idea that her mother had magical powers. Now 10 years old, She loves it at St Morwald’s — not least because she possesses the strange ability to make everyone do exactly as she wishes.

    The last thing Earwig wants is to be adopted by the selfish witch Bella Yaga… but for the first time in her life, her desires are thwarted. She puts a brave face on her new situation — after all, she’s always wanted to learn magic — but Earwig will need all her ingenuity, along with the help of Bella Yaga’s cat Thomas, if she is to survive and flourish.

    At St Morwald’s Home for Children. Image courtesy of Studio Ghibli. © 2020 NHK, NEP, Studio Ghibli


    Japanese Debut: 7:30-8:52 pm Wednesday, December 30, 2020 on NHK General TV
    Running Time: 82 Minutes

    Voice Cast
    Bella Yaga: Shinobu Terajima
    Mandrake: Etsushi Toyokawa
    Thomas: Gaku Hamada
    Earwig: Kokoro Hirasawa

    Director: Goro Miyazaki
    Original Story: Earwig and the Witch by Diana Wynne Jones (Translated by Kaoruko Tanaka as Aya and the Witch)
    Screenplay: Keiko Niwa, Emi Gunji
    Producer: Toshio Suzuki
    Planning: Hayao Miyazaki
    Executive Producers: Isao Yoshikuni, Keisuke Tsuchihashi, Koji Hoshino
    Animation Director: Tan Seri
    Animation Producer: Kentaro Morishita
    Original Character and Set Design: Miho Satake
    Character Design: Katsuya Kondo
    CG Supervisor: Yukinori Nakamura
    Backgrounds: Hiroki Takeuchi
    Sound Director: Koji Kasamatsu
    Dubbing Production: Eriko Kimura
    Music: Satoshi Takebe

    Production Companies: NHK, NHK ENTERPRISES, Studio Ghibli
    International Sales: Wild Bunch

    © 2020 NHK, NEP, Studio Ghibli

    The witch Bella Yaga (Shinobu Terajima). Image courtesy of GKIDS. © 2020 NHK, NEP, Studio Ghibli
    Mandrake (Etsushi Toyokawa). Image courtesy of GKIDS. © 2020 NHK, NEP, Studio Ghibli
    Image courtesy of GKIDS. © 2020 NHK, NEP, Studio Ghibli
    Younger days. Image courtesy of Studio Ghibli. © 2020 NHK, NEP, Studio Ghibli
    Studio Ghibli logo courtesy of Wild Bunch. © Studio Ghibli

    About Studio Ghibli

    Studio Ghibli was founded in 1985 by animation directors Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata and is one of the most successful and well-respected animation studios in the world. Cultivating a creative force of talented directors, animators, and storytellers under the revered brilliance of Miyazaki and Takahata, Studio Ghibli’s films have been praised for their originality, dazzling animation, and epic storytelling. The films have become a beloved part of Japanese popular culture, and have garnered worldwide acclaim from audiences and critics alike. Hayao Miyazaki’s SPIRITED AWAY won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature of 2002 and in 2005 Miyazaki was named one of “the most influential people” by Time Magazine.

    About GKIDS

    GKIDS is a producer and distributor of award-winning feature animation for both adult and family audiences. Since 2010, the company has scored an astounding nine Best Animated Feature Oscar nominations with THE SECRET OF KELLS in 2010, A CAT IN PARIS and CHICO & RITA in 2012, ERNEST & CELESTINE in 2014, THE TALE OF PRINCESS KAGUYA and SONG OF THE SEA in 2015, BOY AND THE WORLD and WHEN MARNIE WAS THERE in 2016, MY LIFE AS A ZUCCHINI in 2017, and most recently, THE BREADWINNER in 2018. GKIDS also handles North American distribution for the famed Studio Ghibli library of films, one of the world’s most coveted animation collections with titles SPIRITED AWAY, MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO, PRINCESS MONONOKE and others.

    GKIDS recently launched ANIMATION IS FILM, an annual LA-based film festival. The second edition takes place October 19-21 at the TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood. ANIMATION IS FILM embraces the highest aspirations of animation as a cinematic art form and is a vocal advocate for filmmakers who push the boundaries of their work to the fullest range of expression that the medium is capable of.

    About Wild Bunch

    Wild Bunch is one of the world’s leading players in the field of international sales, its position strengthened by both a wealth of experience recognized by foreign distributors worldwide, and a broad, artistically diverse selection of the best of director-led international cinema.

    Currently handling an international sales catalogue of around 450 titles, Wild Bunch has established a reputation for both professionalism and provocation with distributors worldwide. Characterized by its diverse editorial policy, the company offers a constantly renewed and always innovative slate of films from all over the world: director-driven, art-house, genre or commercial; features, documentaries, regularly honored at both European and international festivals. Wild Bunch is also renowned for discovering — and developing ongoing relationships with — new and innovative directorial talent, having to date handled more than fifty first or second-time features.

    Wild Bunch has facilitated the international distribution and success of numerous films and is wholly committed to providing the finest in international cinema to distributors and broadcasters throughout the world.

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