Earwig and the witch, a co-production between Studio Ghibli, NHK and NHK Enterprises, is a film about an orphan girl in late 20th century England who is adopted by a witch, while trying to figure out how to handle the situation and possibly even learn about her past .

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The project almost feels like a callback to Studio Ghibli’s previous “witch-themed” projects, from Kiki’s delivery service to Mr. Dough and the Egg Princess, with the film even being something of a “sister” project to one of the company’s famous films. However, its use of CGI compared to the famous traditionally animated projects of Studio Ghibli has also been noticed by fans of animation and critics alike.

10 The plot is based on a Diana Wynne Jones novel of the same name

earwig and howl of witch castle in motion

the Earwig and the witch The film is based on the children’s book of the same name by British author Diana Wynne Jones, which had been published after the author’s death. In a Japanese translation by Kaoruko Tanaka, Earwig’s name is changed to “Ayatsuru”, a pun for “influence”, and is often called “Aya”.

This is not the first time that Studio Ghibli has taken an interest in Jones’ books. Your fantasy novel, Howl’s Moving Castle, was previously adapted into a 2004 film of the same name.

9 This is Studio Ghibli’s first CGI-based feature

The film marks Studio Ghibli’s first CGI-based animated film, but this isn’t the studio’s first foray into the CGI format. Other projects include the CGI television series, Ronja, the thief’s daughter, based on the Swedish fantasy book of the same name, and the short, Boron the caterpillar, which is a Ghibli Museum exclusive.

An exception to the CGI style that appears in most of the film is the ending credits, which show a montage of illustrations, done in a traditional pen and ink style, showing events that take place after the film’s plot.

8 This is the third film directed by Gorō Miyazaki

From Up On Poppy Hill Umi and Shun

The film was directed by Gorō Miyazaki, son of Studi Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki. This is his third film as a director, a list that also includes Tales of Earthsea Y From Upon On Poppy Hill.

In addition to his work as a director, Gorō also wrote the lyrics for the songs that appear in the film. He played a similar role for the two previous films he directed, as well as for the Ronja, the thief’s daughter Serie.

7 This is the second Studio Ghibli movie made for television

The project is, in particular, the second Studio Ghibli feature film made for a television premiere. His first project of this type was Sea waves, released in 1993, which revolves around a school reunion.

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While the film was initially released on television, Toho announced a theatrical release in April 2021, including scenes not included in the original television broadcast. For a North American release, GKIDS announced a digital release for March 2021 and a Blu-ray and DVD release for April of the same year.

6 Earwig isn’t naive, she’s actually quite manipulative at times

While children’s stories featuring orphans as the main character are nothing new, this story offers a little twist: the heroine, Earwig, aka Erica Wigg, is somewhat precocious and manipulative, and finds it easy to make people do what you want. , essentially running the orphanage where she was left as a baby. Because of this, she does not want to be adopted. She has also been noted to be an unusual heroine for a Ghibli movie.

Another twist is that Earwig is not an orphan either: a clue from her past is that her mother left a note stating that twelve witches are after her, adding that she will return for her daughter when she takes over the coven.

5 She is adopted by a strange couple

When he reaches 10 years old, the orphanage is visited by a strange couple, a man and a woman, who want to see the older children, and finally choose Earwig, who is reluctantly made to leave.

Upon arriving at her new home, the woman introduces herself as Bella Yaga, a witch, who intends to keep Earwig as a servant in the house, under penalty of punishment if she disobeys. In turn, Earwig accepts this, hoping that Bella Yaga will teach him magic. Meanwhile, the man is a being named Mandrake, who magically keeps the house locked and whom Earwig is prohibited from disturbing.

4 Witches used to have a gang

Mandrake Bella Yaga

While trapped in the house, Earwig finally notices a record that shares her name, as well as finding a cassette tape with the name of her orphanage belongings at the beginning of the film.

It turns out that Bella Yaga, Mandrake, and Earwig’s mother were part of a band together, as a drummer, pianist, and lead singer, respectively. Since their breakup, Mandrake has shifted her focus to writing and Bella Yaga has become a witch for hire.

3 There is a talking cat

Earwig and the witch

In the great tradition of Salem, Luna and Jiji, the film features a talking black cat, Bella Yaga’s relative, named Thomas. By revealing that she can speak, Thomas helps Earwig study spells on her own, allowing her to become immune to Bella Yaga’s punishments, as well as becoming her first friend in the house.

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Thomas is voiced by Gaku Hamada in the Japanese version of the film and Dan Stevens in the English dub.

two Many plot points are not resolved at the end of the film

studio ghibli

For the most part, this is a movie that seems to be based on ambiguity and red herrings. Plot points like what the mandrake really is, what conflict Earwig’s mother got into with that witch’s coven, or even Earwig’s mother’s name are some of the things that are not revealed at the end of the story.

It is true that part of this remains with the original book. In fact, you could say that certain characters, like Earwig’s mother, have a bigger role in the movie’s story than they do in the book.

1 Thanks to other Studio Ghibli and Miyazaki projects


There are some nods to other Studio Ghibli movies throughout the film. During the end credits, Earwig can be seen watching Howl’s Moving Castle on a television. It’s not just another Studio Ghibli movie, both of them, as mentioned above, were based on books by the same author.

You can also see a newspaper in the movie called “The Kajino Daily”, a reference to “Studio Kajino”, the live action movie affiliate of Studio Ghibli. Kajino-cho is also the city where the Studio Ghibli headquarters are located. In an early scene, Earwig can be seen reading The Baskerville Hound, a Sherlock Holmes novel. Hayao Miyazaki worked at the Sherlock Hound anime, a Japanese and Italian co-production.

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