Earwig and the Witch / Aya to Majo
Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans
Genre: Fantasy, Slice of Life, Magic, Witches, Studio Ghibli
First Released: December 2020, 82-minute film
Summary: Earwig, a newborn, is abandoned on the front porch of St. Morwald’s Home for Children, an orphanage. She grows into a young lady at the orphanage, which she loves. She enjoys her caretakers, the fellow orphans, and even the food. Earwig, or Erica Wigg as she is called, gets adopted by Bella Yaga and the Mandrake, witches in need an extra set of hands around the house. Earwig makes the best of a bad situation, keeping an upbeat attitude in spite of Bella Yaga’s rough demeanor. However, it will take more than an upbeat attitude to turn the corner with the grumpy witches.
Earwig and the Witch is directed by Goro Miyazaki, son of Studio Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki. Goro was hesitant to follow in his legendary father’s footsteps, but has now directed three Ghibli films: Tales from Earthsea, From Up on Poppy Hill, and now Earwig and the Witch. This film is the first full 3DCG Studio Ghibli to be released, as well as the first Ghibli to be released since 2014’s When Marnie Was There. The animation is not what you would expect from a Ghibli film and the story is not as expansive as Ghibli’s usually are. If you are expecting a life-changing adventure with world-ending possibilities, like in Princess Mononoke or Howl’s Moving Castle, you will be disappointed. If you go in expecting a simple slice of life story with some humorous encounters, you will be more likely to enjoy it. The characters are fun to watch, especially the interactions between two completely different personalities.
You might enjoy this if: You are looking for a quick and easy watch with low stakes.
You might not like it if: You cannot handle 3DCG, meaning it takes you out of the movie and you are constantly distracted by it. It was jarring for me at first, though I got used to it.
Note to the Viewer: Earwig and the Witch is an adaptation of a Diana Wynne Jones novel. Howl’s Moving Castle was also adapted from a novel by the same author.
Earwig and the Witch Official HBO Max Trailer
Don’t Disturb Me by Satoshi Takebe feat. Sherina Munaf
(I just love the titular song)