Or perhaps a more correct question, what really happened? Before I dive into all the bad things that happened at Earwig and the Witch , I want to say that I am one of the many fans of Studio Ghibli. There have been times I 've gotten obsessed with watching several of his films over and over, fortunately all of them (except Grave of the Fireflies and Earwig and the Witch ) have already appeared on Netflix. I crave his creativity, I am always amazed by the world he has created, I am always amazed by the animation that he produces and I always fall in love with the filmography of the studio that has been around since 1985.
But when I watched the commercial for Earwig and the Witch , I actually felt a little bit of pessimism that came with me. The first is how this film sacrifices its trademark beautiful animation to create a 3D animation. One thing that makes me crave Studio Ghibli so much is how every second of the film is a majestic, mesmerizing painting and also how detailed each frame is. That's why seeing 3D makes me a little bit disbelieving in this film.
Another thing that makes me feel pessimistic is how this film is directed by Gorō Miyazaki. Let me explain why. Indeed, I really like the second film, From Up on Poppy Hill released in 2011, which has a simple story supported by visuals that stir the eyes during the film progress and also a sweet and warm story. But the first film he directed, Tales from Earthsea , released in 2006, was the first Studio Ghibli film I was not a fan of. I didn't like it and I hope it's the last Studio Ghibli film I regret. I am wrong. Earwig and the Witch appeared.
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Earwig and the Witch precisely had the same problem as Tales from Earthsea . Starting from the many lack of information, the character who is very thin in terms of storytelling and characteristics, the story is not emotional of any kind (except feeling confused) because of how empty and empty the story of this film passes, and also how the film ending feels rushed and leaves no impression that this story is finished.
The story concept is perhaps the most interesting for this film. A mysterious driver is being chased by a monster car at night. After escaping, he left his child in an orphanage and left a letter saying that he would return when he finished running from the witches. The child he left behind was Earwig (Kokoro Hirasawa), but the caretaker of the orphanage didn't like him and gave him the new name Erica Wigg. One time, he was adopted by a witch, Bella Yaga (Shinobu Terajima) and Mandrake (Etsushi Toyokawa). Earwig wants to learn magic. He is not allowed. A new life begins.
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When I said there was a lot of lack of information, I wasn't making it up. This film can go so fast before my eyes and I will not understand what is going on. First, this film never explains the origins of why the mysterious driver at the beginning of the film was chased by a monster car (and what car was that?). After that this film never explains what the duties of witches and their roles in this world. How did they appear? Is the public aware of their presence? All this lack of information results in a story that is not only short, but also hopeless because it feels weightless.
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Then this film also has to suffer because of how empty the characters feel in it. Earwig, who was always excited and curious like most of the main characters in shōnen manga , surprisingly didn't really draw me into her world. Likewise with Bella Yaga or Mandrake who, although they have the potential to support emotions in the film, they feel empty. Even after looking at the two's flashbacks, I felt even more confused by the many unanswered questions of the two, resulting in a pair of characters that were confusing to me.
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I regret the story, I regret the characters, and what I regret even more is how Earwig and the Witch looked. Like The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run , this film also had to suffer with modernization that forced them to try to make 3D, sacrificing its cartoon animation and producing visuals that do not upload. Remember how the gorgeous old building that houses the high school club looked like in From Up on Poppy Hill or how you looked at the animated planes above the clouds in The Wind Rises ? An attractive animation complete with a level of detail that is very precise is not owned by Earwig and the Witch .
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Earwig and the Witch does n't look like a Studio Ghibli film. There isn't any trace that reminds us of this legendary studio. Especially with how this film has the Japanese voice of each character but the world of the story is in England, resulting in a viewing experience that is equally confusing. Gorō Miyazaki looks like he wants to make something different and I have to say, this film is not the right effort.
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