It’s not an overstatement to say Earwig and the Witch has some of the most divided opinions of any anime in recent years. Studio Ghibli’s first fully 3DCG feature film enchanted some audiences, but left others less than impressed. Regardless, we’ve found plenty to enjoy in the film, no matter what your overall opinion of it may be.
Here are a handful of Earwig things we personally love — things that are cute, heartfelt, or funny. What do you think… and what did you think of the movie overall?
Ghibli has a tendency to feature little helpers in its movies, and Earwig and the Witch is no exception. For a lot of the movie, we don’t see the demonic assistants who bring the Mandrake his meals. Late in the film, we get a look at them… and as far as we’re concerned, they’re pretty cute.
They also talk to the Mandrake — and eventually Earwig. They’ve got some interesting dialogue, though they clearly play favorites when it comes to their masters. Poor Mandrake ends up being called “hideous,” though the demons seem to be having a great time giving him a hard time.
Mandrake’s Specific Tastes
Speaking of the Mandrake, he has very specific tastes in food. Like, very specific. It’s one thing to prefer your pies from a specific shop. But we see him sending out his aforementioned demons to campsites and other such places to get exactly what he’s craving at any given time. In fairness, we feel like that sometimes, too.
Earwig and the Witch even uses this very specific type of craving to good effect in one scene. There’s a certain place in Earwig’s life that makes very good shepherd’s pie. So good that the Mandrake acknowledges it.
Before the events of Earwig and the Witch kick off, “Erica Wigg” enjoys her life at the orphanage. In particular, she’s friends with Custard: a nervous young boy who prefers sci-fi over mysteries. Despite his nervous nature, he’s always at Earwig’s side for her more ridiculous plans.
In fact, that friendship is one of her big motivators. All she wants is to be able to go to school with her bestie. Getting adopted, especially by a witch who only wants her as a spare pair of hands, could put a crimp in that. Fortunately, she has a “replacement” of sorts.
Thomas the Cat
Several reviewers noted that, like another Ghibli movie, Earwig and the Witch features a young witch with a talking black cat companion. Though, as the feline Thomas himself notes, that’s because black cats make the best witch’s familiars. Thomas himself is no exception. Not only is he handy just for his presence, he’s also knowledgeable about magic spells. When Bella Yaga refuses to teach Earwig, he steps in.
Thomas is especially fun in the dub, where he’s voiced by Dan Stevens of Downton Abbey. He’s friendly, cheerful, but also completely assured that he’s the cleverest being in the house. As most cats are, of course.
Earwig’s Scheming Ways
In old wives’ tales, earwigs are said to burrow into your brain via the ear. The similarly-named child of Earwig and the Witch definitely burrows her way into any place she goes — but despite what her attitude might have you believe, she’s actually pretty good to have around. She wants to have full run of any place she goes, getting whatever she wants and being liked by everyone. Her primary way of achieving this is via… being friendly and helpful? Yeah, sounds terrible.
Granted, she takes some magical revenge on Bella Yaga. But we can cut her some slack considering how she’s treated early on. Suffice to say, Earwig the character wins us over. If she’s angling for control via being a good kid, who are we to refuse her?
What do you like about Earwig and the Witch?
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