for fans of
Diana Wynne Jones

Aya and the Witch

A trailer (in Japanese) is now available for Studio Ghibli's anime film of Earwig and the Witch, renamed as Aya and the Witch. There is also a short YouTube documentary (also in Japanese) about a puppet play, based on the film, which will be acted out at the Studio Ghibli museum in Tokyo, Japan.

Aya and the Witch still
still from Aya and the Witch
still from Aya and the Witch

Aya and the Witch (Aya to majo) had its world premiere on 18th October 2020. It was shown under the Cannes 2020 Selection umbrella during the Festival Lumiere in Lyon, France. It was originally due to be launched at the 2020 Cannes Film Festival, which was cancelled due to Covid-19. It had its Japanese premiere on 30th December when it was shown on NHK's main television channel, GTV. Then, in the first half of 2021 the film was released in cinemas around the world. The film is CGI rather than hand-drawn animation.

Poster advertising Aya and the Witch

This poster advertising Aya and the Witch says “Nobody tells me how I live my life!” The credits read “Planning: Hayao Miyazaki, Director: Goro Miyazaki. Based on the work of Diana Wynne Jones. Voices by Shinobu Terashima, Etsushi Toyokawa, Gaku Hamada, Kokoro Hirasawa. On NHK GTV channel, Wednesday 30th December 7:30pm"

Studio Ghibli also produced 2004's Oscar-nominated anime film of Howl's Moving Castle, which was directed by the legendary Hayao Miyazaki. A fan of the Earwig story, Hayao Miyazaki wrote the script for Aya and the Witch and was involved in the film's development, while it was directed by his son Goro Miyazaki. 

The Japanese book edition of Earwig and the Witch quotes Hayao Miyazaki saying: 'WHAT A LOVELY BOOK. Satake-san's illustrations and the fine work of the editors have imbued this book, the last book from Diana Wynne Jones-san, with an indescribable charm. I READ THE BOOK ABOUT FIVE TIMES FROM COVER TO COVER.'

Aya and the Witch runs for 1 hour 22 minutes. All region DVDs will be available in September 2021.

Images copyright © 2020 NHK, NEP, Studio Ghibli