Miyazaki Goro, the son of Studio Ghibli co-founder Miyazaki Hayao, commented on his upcoming CG feature Aya and the Witch at a press conference on July 27. He described it as “a work I want everyone to see right now” and said that it was mostly created by young staff. The Mainichi Shimbun’s Mantan-Web quotes him saying playfully, “I didn’t consult with any of the old guys [at Ghibli] at all.”
Miyazaki Goro didn’t seek any input from his dad, the famous Miyazaki Hayao, on how Studio Ghibli’s Aya and the Witch should be made.
Goro began by describing the heroine Earwig(Aya in the Japanese release) as follows: “She’s a type of heroine who hasn’t been represented in Ghibli until now, and she’s a strong girl who does every conceivable thing to live how she wants to live. She feels an overwhelming pressure and withstands a lot of hardships, yet remains bright throughout it all.”
Aya and the Witch is going to be the first-ever all-CG Ghibli anime, and in the interest of breaking new ground, Goro revealed that he and his staff are seeking no advice from the Ghibli old guard, explaining:
“For this project, it’s full 3-D CG, and I was the only person at Ghibli who knew how to work in that style…The person who said ‘Let’s do this project’ was Hayao Miyazaki, and producer [Toshio] Suzuki agreed, saying, ‘Yeah, sounds good,’ but after that, the actual production was left to me. Since they left us alone, Aya and the Witch is being made by a young team, and I didn’t ask the old men for any advice.”
The 82-minute feature is an anime adaptation of Diana Wynne Jones‘ novel of the same name and will have its television premiere on the NHK General channel this winter. The Cannes Film Festival chose the film as part of its Official Selection this year. GKIDS will release the film in theaters in North America in early 2021.
With Hayao and Suzuki being creators of such legendary status within the anime industry, their presence regularly looms over each and every project from the studio. However, Ghibli turning the keys over to a younger team isn’t completely without precedence, as something similar was done with, in 1993 with Ocean Waves, which, like the upcoming Aya and the Witch, was a TV movie anime.
Goro seems happy to have been given the freedom to work without any of the Ghibli grandpas peering over his shoulder, saying “We had a test screening, and when it was done, the people who watched it had happy expressions on their faces. Aya is a girl who clears away feelings of constricting, stifling pressure, and this is an anime I hope people will watch,” and we’ll get a chance to do that sometime this winter when Aya and the Witch air sometime this winter on Japanese broadcaster NHK.