Studio Ghibli have a new film on the way, titled ‘Aya to Majo’

Studio Ghibli have a new film on the way, titled ‘Aya to Majo’

Photo: Hayao Miyazaki by 大臣官房人事課 via Wikimedia Commons
Words by Kate Streader

It’s based on a book by the same author who wrote the novel which inspired Howl’s Moving Castle.

Beloved Japanese animation house Studio Ghibli will release a new film this year. Titled Aya to Majo – or Aya and the Witch – the film is based on a children’s novel by Diana Wynne Jones titled Earwig and the Witch. Considering Jones also wrote Howl’s Moving Castle which inspired the Studio Ghibli film of the same name, it’s a safe bet we’re in for something special.

The original story sees a young girl named Earwig adopted by a witch and carted off to live in her spooky house. Rather than being scared, she takes her new situation as an opportunity to learn magic and show the witch who’s boss.

Aya to Majo was originally intended to premiere as part of this year’s Cannes Film Festival before the event was cancelled due to coronavirus. However, the film was still announced as part of Cannes Festival’s official selection for 2020.

Instead, Aya to Majo will be released in Japan this winter via NHK, though there’s no official word on when it will be released internationally so it may not hit our screens until 2021.

Details about the forthcoming film are scarce, though it has been confirmed that Aya to Majo is directed by Goyo Miyazaki, the son of Studio Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki, and produced by Toshio Suzuki. While originally concerned about how the film would sit in a post COVID-19 world, Suzuki believes it may be serendipitous timing to tell the tale of a determined young girl.

“I realised that one stand-out feature of the film is Aya’s cleverness. And if you are clever, you can survive in any period of history. Thinking that, I felt relieved,” he said in a statement.

Aya to Majo will be the first-ever Studio Ghibli film to be created using entirely 3D computer graphics.

Never miss a story. Sign up to Beat’s newsletter and you’ll be served fresh music, arts, food and culture stories five times a week.