Studio Ghibli director Hayao Miyazaki thinks that the studio’s first 3DCG film and latest release, Earwig and the Witch, matches Pixar’s outputs in quality.
In an interview with Polygon, Goro Miyazaki, director of Earwig and the Witch and Hayao Miyazaki’s son, said that his father had watched the completed film and found it to be “very interesting.”
“He said that, finally, we were able to make something that is as good as Pixar,” shared Miyazaki. “I think he felt a little bit of competitiveness or rivalry toward Pixar.”
Despite the elder Miyazaki’s positive reaction towards Earwig and the Witch, the younger Miyazaki thinks that his father, who is currently working on another Ghibli film titled How Do You Live?, won’t adopt 3DCG for his own projects.
“If I were to take on my next project, it would probably be 3D CG, but Hayao Miyazaki, like with everything he does, he will probably stick with hand-drawn animation,” Miyazaki said. “I don’t know how much longer he will continue to do this, but even after him, I don’t think the studio would stop creating hand-drawn animation. So my hope is that we continue both.”
Miyazaki, who previously directed Ghibli’s Tales of Earthsea and From Up On Poppy Hill, explained that he chose to utilize 3DCG for Earwig and the Witch due to a desire to try something new, and that the novel which the film is based on had the appropriate elements for such an adaptation. He said that the studio didn’t want to tackle an epic story for their first 3DCG project, whereas the novel features a small cast and a confined setting.
Miyazaki also said in the interview that Hayao Miyazaki did not have a lot of knowledge about 3DCG and did not “butt in” or “say anything” during the making of Earwig and the Witch. As such, he had a lot of freedom in “doing what I wanted to do.” He added that most of the Ghibli staff were involved with his father’s new film, while Earwig and the Witch was primarily composed of freelancers.
“We worked with different studios that already have experience with 3D CG, whether it’s the animation process or the composite or modeling — we have been supporters,” Miyazaki revealed. “But the core team members were all freelancers who we’ve worked with before. So the only staff member here at Studio Ghibli who was involved with Earwig was the head of digital imaging and two people from post-production.”
Earwig and the Witch was broadcasted in Japan via NHK General TV in December 2020, and is set to screen theatrically in the US on February 3. The movie will then release on HBO Max on February 5.
GKIDS describes the movie as:
Growing up in an orphanage in the British countryside, Earwig has no idea that her mother had magical powers. Her life changes dramatically when a strange couple takes her in, and she is forced to live with a selfish witch. As the headstrong young girl sets out to uncover the secrets of her new guardians, she discovers a world of spells and potions, and a mysterious song that may be the key to finding the family she has always wanted.