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Studio Ghibli has built a reputation as being the last bastion for 2D animation, one of the final holdouts of warm, whimsical, hand-drawn style before the entire animation industry succumbs to the ease of CG animation.
Recently, Studio Ghibli revealed the first photos of its next film, Aya and the Witch, an entirely CG-animated fantasy adventure based on the Diana Wynne Jones children’s book Earwig and the Witch. Aya and the Witch is done entirely in computer-generated animation and is directed by Gorō Miyazaki, the son of Hayao Miyazaki.

Aya and the Witch trailer


Aya and the Witch was announced as a selection of the Cannes Film Festival and will premiere later this year in Japan through NHK Enterprises. Aya and the Witch was release in October, 2020.


In Diana Wynne Jones’ book, Aya is a young orphan girl who finds herself adopted by a terrible witch. With help from a talking cat, she must use her wits if she’s going to survive her new house of supernatural scares and to show the witch who‘s boss.


“Aya is the story of the world’s smartest girl. Aya is cheeky but somehow cute.” Studio Ghibli producer and co-founder Toshio Suzuki shared their ideas of the animation film.


Studio-Ghibli-released trailer for Earwig and the Witch, the studio’s first all 3D CGI animation, with “stiff and off-putting” style has drawn the ire of fans.


After the first trailer for the film was released, however, Ghibli fans and viewers complained about the departure from the studio’s traditional animation style.


One fan wrote on Twitter that they found the animation style to be “very stiff and off-putting,” while another said “it looks like everything is made of plastic”.

aya-and-the-witch 2

Someone else compared the trailer to “a cheap kids TV show”, while another wrote: “I really wanna love that 3D Ghibli film on an aesthetic level. But the vast majority of that trailer was a bit difficult to watch.”

The visual aren’t exactly what a loyal fan would expect to come from Studio Ghibli, which has only ever held the highest standard for its animation.


There’s a shiny gloss to the character designs that become popular in Chinese CG animation. Some of the details like the hair or the clothes, are almost too simple or flat.

aya-and-the-witch 1


But it does seem like Goro Miyazaki is attempting to capture the classic Ghibli designs in 3D, with the exaggerated looks for villains and the simple, cherubic expressions of the child protagonists.

In short, Aya and the Witch is still a film to watch as it shows an effort worth noting, even though there are rooms for improvement in next animation film projects from this animation studio.

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Reference Sources:

  1. Animation World Network:
  2. Cartoon Brew – Technology:
  3. Befores & Afters – Visual effects and animation journalist:
  4. Bloomberg News:
  5. Insider: