Studio Ghibli Will Release Their First Fully Computer Generated Film


Margaret Bingham, Writer

Studio Ghibli, the Japanese animation film studio responsible for cinematic masterpieces such as Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, and Princess Mononoke (and more), are making their very first fully computer generated film, that is to be released by the Japanese public broadcaster, NHK December 30th, 2020. 

The trailer (which is provided here) is already available for Earwig and the Witch (Aya and the Witch in Japan). The clip is unsurprisingly in Japanese, but still gives us the sense of what it will be like, once released in English, and how Studio Ghibli will tackle art in a new form of animation.

Thankfully, the studio’s sense of childlike wonder appears intact. The plot helps too- Aya, a ten year old girl living in England in the 1990’s is an orphan who is taken from her home by a strange pair and learns that she’s a witch’s daughter. 

Here is the official synopsis written by HarperCollins Publishers: 

“Not every orphan would love living at St. Morwald’s Home for Children, but Earwig does. She gets whatever she wants, whenever she wants it, and it’s been that way since she was dropped on the orphanage doorstep as a baby. But all that changes the day Bella Yaga and the Mandrake come to St. Morwald’s, disguised as foster parents. Earwig is whisked off to their mysterious house full of invisible rooms, potions, and spell books, with magic around every corner. Most children would run in terror from a house like that… but not Earwig. Using her own cleverness—with a lot of help from a talking cat—she decides to show the witch who’s boss.”

Earwig and the Witch is set to premiere in North American theaters in early 2021 (provided they’re open, of course). It’s not certain this will be a classic on par with Spirited Away or Ponyo, but it has the Miyazaki heritage with Hayao’s son Goro directing. 

Some people question whether jumping into a new form of animation would steer them into focusing more on the animation, then the storytelling, and that the animation would be disappointing because it is their first time trying a new medium in animation, and some people are deeply saddened to see their old, beautiful, style of animation slowly but surely dying off, and think that they will never see the wonderful 2D-style they know and love again.

Hopefully this groundbreaking risk will meet all of the Studio Ghibli fans’ expectations.