Allow me to introduce my buddy, Stephen. He’s gonna chime in from time to time with an anime review, so give him a big welcome. First up, it’s the newest Studio Ghibli film to hit US shores!
The Borrower Arrietty [借りぐらしのアリエッティ, Kari Gurashi no Arietti]
AKA Arrietty, Arrietty: Le Petit Monde des Chapardeurs
Original Release 2010 in Japan, US Theatrical Release 2012
Starring Bridget Mendler, David Henrie, Amy Poehler, Gracie Poletti, Moisés Arias, Will Arnett, Carol Burnett
Directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi
Lately, Studio Ghibli has made quite a few adaptations of children’s fantasy stories. This one is based upon The Borrowers by Mary Norton. The book was written in 1952 and set in the English countryside, so the film’s setting of modern-day Japan is obviously a bit of a change. To further muddy the waters, the character names were changed in the Disney release of the film to make them more familiar to Western audiences, or perhaps to match with the original book. Since I have never read the source material, I can’t say how much the plot was altered for The Secret World of Arrietty, but anyone who read the book should go in expecting something a little different from the original.
The film starts off with a boy named Shawn, who has a heart condition, and he has been sent to an old house in the country to get some rest. When he arrives, he catches sight of young Arrietty, a miniscule girl who is one of the Borrowers that live under the house. Borrowers are only a few inches tall, and slink around the house at night, “borrowing” what they need from the humans. They bear quite a few similarities to various creatures of English folklore, most notably Brownies. Shawn has arrived on the eve of Arrietty’s first borrowing, and she is eager to prove herself, despite the new human who makes sneaking around the house riskier.