Published Jun 09, 2020Studio Ghibli has announced plans for a new animated film. Directed by Hayao Miyazaki's son, Gorō Miyazaki, Aya to Majo — or in English, Aya and the Witch — is scheduled to arrive sometime this year.
Based on the children's book Earwig and the Witch by Diana Wynne Jones, who also wrote the story that inspired Ghibli classic Howl's Moving Castle, Aya to Majo marks a departure from normal Ghibli operations, as it will be created using computer-generated animation. The 3D3G film will tell the story of a young orphaned girl who is adopted by a witch.
Aya to Majo is set to premiere on Japanese broadcaster NHK in winter 2020, but it remains unclear how the film will be released globally due to ongoing coronavirus concerns. The film was meant to premiere at Cannes Film Festival this year, but the event was cancelled over COVID-19.
Still, Studio Ghibli co-founder and producer Toshio Suzuki is hopeful that Aya and the Witch will be able to reach a wide audience.
In a statement, Suzuki explained:
Can Aya and the Witch do well after corona? I thought about that many times when I was watching the early footage. Then I realized the big characteristic of the movie is Aya's wisdom. If only we have wisdom, we can overcome anything in any era. When I thought about that, I was relieved. If Pippi Longstocking is the story of the world's strongest girl. Aya is the story of the world's smartest girl. Aya is cheeky but somehow cute. I hope she is loved by many types of people. By the way, I thought Aya reminded me of someone, then it turned out it was Goro himself, who was the director of the movie. When I told that to him he looked bashful.
Back in January, Netflix obtained streaming rights to 21 Studio Ghibli movies, including My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Howl's Moving Castle, Spirited Away and more — but Canadian markets were left out of that deal. In the U.S., the Studio Ghibli films are available via HBO Max.
Stay tuned as more information becomes available on the film's Canadian release.