Whilst Hayao Miyazaki announced that his next hand-drawn film wouldn't be released for at least another three years (according to an interview with Entertainment Weekly), his son - Gorō Miyazaki - has been working on Aya and the Witch.
More cats, more fantastic beards, more strong, smart and independent girls on screen.
Based on the children's book Earwig and the Witch by Diana Wynne Jones, it follows Earwig's move from St. Morwald's Home for Children to live with Bella Yaga, a witch. Oh, and there's also a talking cat. Because is it really a Ghibli film if it doesn't have cats?
The fans amongst us might recognise this plot as being very similar to Kiki's Delivery Service (1989). But there'll still be the vast difference between hand-drawn animation like Kiki and the CG animation that will be used in Earwig, never-mind that, y'know, she probably won't run a delivery service.
Toshio Suzuki (co-founder and producer of Ghibli) spoke about his concerns with the films release after the events of coronavirus, but 'realised the big characteristic of the movie is Aya’s wisdom. If only we have wisdom, we can overcome anything in any era... Aya is cheeky but somehow cute. I hope she is loved by many types of people" (source Empire).
I for one, can't wait. More cats, more fantastic beards, more strong, smart and independent girls on screen. Go team Ghibli.