Goro’s father, Hayao (Abducted as if by magic) is credited with “planning” (which suggests a contribution to the developmental stage); the screenplay is by veteran Ghibli writer Keiko Niwa, whose credits include Goro’s two previous feature films, and Emi Gunji, an assistant director on From above on Poppy Hill. Toshio Suzuki produces for Ghibli, with NHK and NEP (NHK Enterprises) co-production.Visually, the film marks a radical departure from the previous work of the venerable anime studio. Ronja, the thief’s daughter, co-produced by Ghibli, was CG animated by Polygon Pictures, but it was shaded. Earwig and the Witch takes a more three-dimensional approach to volume and shading, while maintaining a cartoonish sensibility in character design and animation.
Miho Satake, who illustrated the Japanese edition of Jones’ novel, is credited with original characters and sets, along with Katsuya Kondo (My neighbor Totoro, Ponyo, from up there on Poppy Hill) design the characters for the animation. The CG supervisor is Yukinori Nakamura, who worked as an animator on the short film Boro la chenille (Hayao Miyazaki’s first production – and to this day only – entirely in CG). Kentaro Morishita is credited as animation producer, Tan Seri as animation director. Yuhki Takeuchi makes backgrounds.
Earwig and the Witch will air on Japanese television on Dec. 30, with no release yet in theaters in the country. Gkids will release it in theaters in North America early next year. French distributor Wild Bunch International, a long-time partner of Studio Ghibli, manages international sales. The film was one of four animated feature films selected as part of the official Cannes lineup this year.