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Aya and the Witch 1
Courtesy of Studio Ghibli

Studio Ghibli fans are horrified by the Earwig and the Witch trailer

Fans are complaining about the film’s departure from the studio’s traditional animation style

Yesterday (December 2), Studio Ghibli released the first trailer for Earwig and the Witch, the studio’s first all 3D CGI animation – but its “stiff and off-putting” style has drawn the ire of fans.

Previously reported to be titled Aya and the Witch, and also promoted as Aya to Majo, the film is directed by Goro Miyazaki (the son of Ghibli founder Hayao). Set in 1990s England, the story is based on British author Diana Wynne Jones’s book of the same name, which came out in 2011.

After the first trailer for the film was released, however, Ghibli fans and viewers complained about the departure from the studio’s traditional animation style.

One fan wrote on Twitter that they found the animation style to be “very stiff and off-putting,” while another said “it looks like everything is made of plastic”. A different user agreed: “I don’t know what it is, but it looks weird as hell...? Stiff maybe? Is it the shading? Some shots look really nice, but some don’t....”

Someone else compared the trailer to “a cheap kids TV show”, while another wrote: “I really wanna love that 3D Ghibli film on an aesthetic level. But the vast majority of that trailer was a bit difficult to watch.”

Earwig and the Witch follows a young orphan named Earwig, who’s plucked away from the orphanage she loves and forced to live with a selfish witch, Bella Yaga. With the help of a talking cat, Earwig uses her wit to show the witch who‘s boss.

The film will debut on Japanese broadcaster NHK on December 30. A dubbed English version is expected in 2021, with an intended run in US cinemas. In the meantime, watch the trailer here and check out the studio’s back catalogue of artworks here.