Goro Miyazaki gives us a sneak peek at the puppet show that will mark the debut of Ghibli’s first CG anime film.

With the Ghibli Museum out of action for a large stretch of this year, staff have been providing fans with videos showing us what goes on behind-the-scenes when visitors aren’t around.

For their latest video, they shared an extra special treat for fans, letting us sit in on a meeting with Hayao Miyazaki’s son, Goro Miyazaki. The younger Miyazaki, who directed the Ghibli films Tales from Earthsea (2006) and From Up on Poppy Hill (2011), is now set to debut his third directorial work, Earwig and the Witch, the studio’s first-ever CG feature film, as a TV special on national broadcaster NHK on 30 December.

To celebrate the big debut, the Ghibli Museum is planning something very special: a puppet show featuring the characters from the movie. As it turns out, Goro is not just a talented director and landscaper (yes, he worked as a landscaper, even helping to design the Ghibli Museum in 1998, before deciding to follow in the footsteps of his famous father). He’s also skilled with puppets, having performed puppet shows back in his student days.

Now, Goro is directing the staff at the Ghibli Museum, who will be helping him put on an Earwig and the Witch Puppet Show, with some awesome-looking puppets that come with glowing eyes.

Take a look at the video below.

The clip shows Goro working the beautifully made puppets like an experienced pro. All the main characters make an appearance, including the star of the show, 10-year-old orphan girl Aya (played by 13-year-old Kokoro Hirasawa in the film).

▼ The movie is titled Aya and the Witch in Japanese.

In the film — an adaptation of the children’s novel by English author Diana Wynne Jones — Aya grows up in an orphanage without knowing that she’s actually a witch’s daughter. She’s then taken from the orphanage by a strange duo, and as their relationship develops, her powers develop too.

▼ Puppet Aya’s transformation is brought to life with a quick flick of the eyes that changes not just Aya’s face, but Goro’s as well.

Goro brings emotion to all the puppets, including the duo who take Aya from her orphanage, Bella Yaga (voiced by Shinobu Terajima in the film) and Mandrake (voiced by Etsushi Toyokawa).

▼ Puppet Mandrake’s eyes glow, just like the CG character in the film!

When staff ask Goro how they should start practicing for the puppet show, he says they should begin with the vocalisation of the characters. They can then work on the character’s walk, and after that, they can learn the rest by watching and mimicking his actions.

▼ That’s all easier said than done, of course.

The video then shows staff at the Ghibli Museum practicing their vocals and familiarising themselves with the puppets in preparation for the puppet show, which they hope to perform in January 2021.

At the moment, the Ghibli Museum is closed for maintenance, with the official re-opening date yet to be announced, so we’ll have to wait and see whether this means the museum will be opening at the beginning of next year.

We’re looking forward to finding out more about when and where the puppet show will be held, and whether it will be a one-off performance for viewers on YouTube or an actual live performance for visitors to the museum. Either way, we’ll keep you updated as soon as we get the details…and hopefully we’ll get an update on the cute characters Goro’s father sketched in this video for the museum cafe too!

Source, images: YouTube/三鷹の森ジブリ美術館 GHIBLI MUSEUM, MITAKA 
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