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Aya and the Witch
Courtesy of Studio Ghibli

Here’s a first look at Studio Ghibli’s upcoming CGI film, Aya and the Witch

Directed by Goro Miyazaki, the son of Hayao, the film marks a rare departure from the studio’s signature hand-drawn style

Studio Ghibli has released a series of stills from their upcoming film, Aya and the Witch.

Directed by Goro Miyazaki, the son of Hayao, and produced by Spirited Away’s Toshio Suzuki, Aya and the Witch will be the studio’s first film in six years and their first-ever CGI offering.

Based on the children’s book Earwig And The Witch by Howl’s Moving Castle author Diana Wyne Jones, the film will follow the story of a young orphaned girl called Aya, whose adopted parents turn out to be well-versed in all things magic. Aya moves into her new home and finds that it’s haunted by spirits and ghouls, which is, of course, prime Ghibli material.

In a translated statement about Aya And The Witch earlier this month, Ghibli co-founder and producer Toshio Suzuki asked: “After coronavirus, how (does) the world change? That’s the biggest concern for many types of people now. Even the movie and television industry can’t avoid that.”

He added: “Can Aya and the Witch do well after corona? I thought about that many times when I was watching the early footage. Then I realised 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, then 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,” he concluded.

Aya And The Witch was slated to premiere during the 2020 Cannes Film Festival, before the annual film event was cancelled due to coronavirus. The film will now be aired on Japanese television later in 2020. As for the rest of the world, there’s usually a six month gap between Ghibli releases in Japan and its western arrival.

In the meantime, satiate your hunger with the images above. If you’re on the fence about the new 3D animation style, here’s why I shudder at the thought of Studio Ghibli heading live-action.