Co-founder of Studio Ghibli Hayao Miyazaki Plans to Release first CG feature Anime this winter
Hayao Miyazaki, a popular Japanese animator, filmmaker and manga artist, in conjunction with Studio Ghibli are planning an anime based on a British novel inspiration. Hayao swears to have read the book ‘cover-to-cover’ five times and is fascinated to once again team up with his son, the director.
The Studio Ghibii fan experience is one of patience. To be honest, as a fan, waiting for the launch of the Ghibli Land theme park and the release of Hayao Miyazaki’s upcoming How Do You Live? has not been easy. The well-renowned perfectionist, Miyazaki just loves to take his time, doesn’t he?
Fortunately for us, Studio Ghibli has returned to the limelight to announce its latest project which is expected to launch in a couple months—Guess what; it’s a project to be super excited about.
This new project is a new feature-length anime adaptation of Earwig and the Witch, a British novel written by Diana Wynne Jones. She is a prominent name in U.K. literature and the author of ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’, a book Miyazaki eventually turned into an anime film, back in 2004. Planned by Hayao Miyazaki, this new anime is a separate production from the upcoming How Do You Live?
Jones passed away in 2011; not long after Earwig and the Witch was published. The book received numerous translations, even having its own Japanese-language edition of the book, sold in Japan by Tokuma Shoten, Miyazaki, a publishing company associated with Studio Ghibli. Upon reading the translated novel, Miyazaki was captivated. In his own words, he marvelled at the book’s Japanese-edition illustrated drawings:
“It is such a wonderful book. It’s the last work by Diana Wynne Jones, and thanks to the drawings from (Japanese-edition illustrator) [Miho] Satake and the [Tokuma Shoten] editors; it’s become an unspeakably compelling work. I’ve read it cover-to-cover five times.”
Being Ghibli’s second adaptation of a Jones novel, the nature of this particular project signifies new ceilings for the studio. Premiering this winter, the anime adaptation of Earwig and the Witch will be Studio Ghibli’s first ever 3-D Computer Generated (CG) anime movie. With both Hayao Miyazaki and his son, Goro, assuming planner and director roles respectively, this production is reminiscent of the pair’s 2011 From Up on Poppy Hill Ghibli production.
Renowned producer and Studio Ghibli’s co-founder, Toshio Suzuki speaks on his producer role on the Earwig and the witch anime movie: In a recent interview, Suzuki compares our current situation: “What will the world be like after the coronavirus pandemic? That’s the big question for a lot of people;” to the project: “Looking at our work [on the project] so far… what makes this story stand out is Earwig’s cleverness and intelligence… you have those, you can overcome anything—that realization has been a source of relief for me”.
He jokes further: “…Earwig is actually just like our director, Goro-kun, but he seemed embarrassed when I pointed that out to him.”
This new anime movie promises to be a special release, as Studio Ghibli opted against releasing it on conventional channels. Unlike other Studio Ghibli animes that often become the ‘Japanese theatrical event’ of the year, Earwig and the Witch will air on Japanese public TV broadcaster NHK. This broadcasting organisation has previously worked with Hayao Miyazaki on his anime TV series called Conan, The Boy in Future. As of yet, no air date has been set, but Japan’s winter TV season, January to March, means this unique Studio Ghibli anime movie could hit screens in less than a year.