Studio Ghibli is the most famous non-Disney animation studio on the planet, known for classic titles such as Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Kiki’s Delivery Service. And now a recent movie of theirs is arriving on Netflix.
According to Anime News Network, Earwig and the Witch will launch on Netflix for users outside Japan and America on Nov. 18. Earwig and the Witch is Studio Ghibli’s first CGI animated feature and is based on the novel by Diana Wynne Jones. Jones also wrote Howl’s Moving Castle, which Studio Ghibli turned into a legendary feature film. She is also famous for her fantasy satire book The Tough Guide to Fantasyland.
Earwig and the Witch follows Earwig, the daughter of a young witch who was left at St. Morwald’s Home for Children as a baby. Earwig grows up not knowing about her family history but loves life at St. Morwalds anyway. However, when two magic users adopt her against her will, Earwig decides to show her adopted parents what she’s made of.
The film was directed by Gorō Miyazaki, and the legendary Hayao Miyazaki is credited with the film’s planning and development. The English version of the movie features Taylor Paige Henderson voicing the lead role with support from Richard E. Grant and Vanessa Marshall. The film was originally broadcast on TV, premiering on the NHK General network on Dec. 30, 2020. The film encountered many theatrical release issues due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which knocked its Japanese theatrical release back from April 23, 2021, to Aug. 27, 2021. Due to this, the film appeared in American theaters before Japanese ones, with GKIDS and Fathom Events screening the film in Feb. 2021. Overall this American theatrical run made the film $132,768, and it was considered a massive success.
HBO Max streamed the film during this initial theatrical run, making Netflix’s acquisition of the rights a massive boon for the company. When announcing the acquisition on Wednesday, Netflix expressed its pride in having the film on its service. Netflix noted that 55 million households streamed a Studio Ghibli film via Netflix in the last year alone.
Any Studio Ghibli release is a big deal, so it’s easy to see why Netflix is making a lot of noise about this acquisition. While we’ll have to wait and see if fans respond to Earwig and the Witch with the same love and enthusiasm that they’ve given to other Ghibli projects, there is no doubt that many people will watch the film when it arrives on Netflix on Nov. 18.