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Studio Ghibli, Earwig and the Witch
courtesy of YouTube/HBO Max

Preview Studio Ghibli’s polarising new film, Earwig and the Witch

The studio has released the film’s opening scene, showcasing more of its controversial CGI art style

Studio Ghibli has released the opening scene from its upcoming film Earwig and the Witch. The clip shows Earwig being dropped off at a home for children by her motorcycle-riding mother (voiced by Kacey Musgraves) who leaves her with a cassette tape and instructions to never go anywhere else.

Directed by Goro Miyazaki, the son of acclaimed Ghibli founder Hayao Miyazaki, the film marks a departure from the studio’s signature, hand-drawn art style, as its first feature in full 3D CGI animation. 

First teased in a series of stills – back when the film was said to be titled Aya and the Witch – the new art style caused controversy with fans following the release of Earwig’s first trailer late last year (December 2). Taking to social media to share split opinions on the change, fans called the animation “stiff and off-putting” and like something from “a cheap kids TV show”.

“I really wanna love that 3D Ghibli film on an aesthetic level,” another wrote. “But the vast majority of that trailer was a bit difficult to watch.”

The film itself follows Earwig as a young orphan, who is taken from the orphanage and made to live with a cruel witch named Bella Yaga. Alongside a talking cat, Earwig uses her wit to show the witch who’s boss.

Earwig and the Witch will be available in selected cinemas from February 3, and available to stream on HBO Max from February 5. Watch the opening scene below.