Âya to Majo
2020 / 82m - Japan
Fantasy - Animation
Earwig and the Witch poster


May 11, 2021


Not quite as bad as its reputation suggests, just don't go in expecting a typical Ghibli production. The switch to 3D CG is quite brutal and Goro Miyazaki's choice to go for a more stylized art style is sure to upset people who are used to the realism of its American counterparts. Even so, at its very core this film still houses the classic Ghibli magic.

Earwig is a young girl who lives an easy life at the orphanage. Her life takes a sudden turn when an odd couple comes to collect her. The woman is a witch who needs a pair of extra hands around the house, Earwig becomes her apprentice, though she feels more like a slave. For the first time in her life, she can't force her will onto others.

The different levels of visual fidelity can be a bit jarring in the beginning, but the art style did grow on me. And while it never comes close to the classic Ghibli films, it's really not that ugly. The lack of annoying sidekicks, dreadful jokes and ADD pacing is what makes this easier to stomach than its American peers, some nifty characters (like Mandrake) turns this into a respectable, but ultimately somewhat mediocre Ghibli production. Not terrible, but that's an extremely low bar for one of the best animation houses in the world.