Arrietty: The Borrowers Sub Review

So Makoto Shinkai decided to make a Ghibli film and studio Ghibli decided to make a Makoto Shinkai film. Who would’ve figured?

Arrietty: The Borrowers was the Directorial debut of  Hiromasa Yonebayashi and was Produced by Hayao Miyazaki based off the book “The Borrowers” by Mary Norton.


Arrietty is about a family of little people, as in literal small people who live under the house of a family of real people. They occasionally “borrow” items from the (big) family to sustain their lives. Arrietty the lead character in the film, is a curious 13 year old girl that occasionally seeks adventure which sometimes leads her into trouble. The male lead in the film named Sho (pictured below) is a young boy that has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, in order to give him some peace and quiet his busy Mother sent him to his Grandmothers house in the Country.

Due to Arriettys carelessness, Sho discovers the existence of the little people which in turn may mean disaster for Arriettys family.


If theres one thing this film wants to let you know right off the bat its that Studio Ghibli have money, lots of it, and they put it to good use too. The amount of detail in the backgrounds is intense, so immense that looking at it for prolonged times may lead to an epileptic seizure. Trust me when I tell you this is visually the best looking Anime film I have ever seen and yes Ive seen Redline, Macross: Do You Remember Love and all of Makoto Shinkais films.

The animation is top notch as well as can be expected from a Ghibli fim. They even take the time to animate the leaves shaking off of trees and the leaves shadows shaking as well, its quite honestly a visual marvel. I personally liked the robust amount of colour on the screen, a lot of greens and yellows making the whole experience bright and joyful and just a delight to look at.

The Character designs were your typical Ghibli fair but Arrietty had more of a modern appearance, she looked very cute and her expressions occasionally put a smile on my face, theres something for the moe fans here as well.

The themes covered in this film are some of the most mature in any Ghibli film Ive ever seen. Arriettys family is constantly questioning if they are the only borrowers left or not. Sho seems to have lost his will to live due to his terminal illness and he clearly expresses this in his words which are quite bitter to swallow the first time you hear them. The story even touches on the importance of family and separation. Add a touch of forbidden romance in there and you have story GOLD (Im such a sucker for tragic romance).

The score in the movie does a great job at setting the right mood at the right time but the real achievement in this film is the sound production. The sound constantly switches from Borrowers perspective to normal humans perspective giving you a coherent sense of size and depth. The camera angles used also help with this, the scene where Sho first meets Arrietty is the most memorable one that used this technique.


Im sure as you were reading what I said about the themes covered in this movie you were wondering to yourself ” just how is this movie for little kids?” well in my opinion, the honest answer to that is this films primary target audience is definitely not kids under 10 (see Ponyo).  “So how is this a negative exactly?” well by doing this, it may effectively alienate what has come to be known as Studio Ghiblis primary audience. There is still a lot for the kids to enjoy though like pretty colors and silly jokes.

The opening of this film is extremely slow, nothing seemingly important happens until you are atleast 30 minutes in. It does get better but that first half hour can and will be boring for a lot of viewers.


This movie is now my favourite Studio Ghibli title surpassing even the brilliant Whisper of the Heart. It spoke to me on so many levels and touched me emotionally, all while giving my eyes a visual feast like I have never experienced before. I highly recommend this movie to anyone that is a fan of drama, romance and especially Studio Ghibli because it feels very different from their previous works.

Rating 8.5/10

Final Verdict :Buy It/Go see it in the Cinemas… I guess. This is a film that will fit quite nicely next to your Summer Wars, Nausicaa and Evangelion 2.22 on your shelf of anime classics.

The movie is yet to get a home video release date but Madman will have it screening in Major Cinemas starting January 12 next year.You can view news and updates on the film on the official Arrietty Madman Page.


~ by kiddtic on December 22, 2011.

10 Responses to “Arrietty: The Borrowers Sub Review”

  1. Lucky you getting to go to a pre-screening…. kind of sucks living up in Queensland and not getting to attend such awesome events!

    Heck… where I live we only just got the announcement one of our cinemas would be showing the film… I even turned that happiness into a post xD

    • LoL I was indeed very lucky to be picked to go see this pre-screening.

      You guys have Supanova though and thats like the best anime convention in Australia in terms of content and guests. So Im Jelly too XP

      I was looking for a list of cinemas screening the film thanks for the link.

  2. But we technically have to share Supanova with Sydney and Melbourne… so I wouldn’t call it exclusive by any means =P. Glad to hear Arrietty is good though, looking forward to checking it out myself…

    I will most probably base my final review off the home release however, I learnt from my review of Children Who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below that one screening is never enough for a feature film review.

    • Oh yes, Im gonna have to review the Home Video Release as well, I mean what if the dub sucks thats gonna lower the rating, or what if the extras are pathetic?

      For Madmans sake and for the fans I hope none of the above the bad but you never know.

  3. The UK dub actually suits the mood of the film and it sounds pretty decent.

    Yes watching anime on the big screen on your couch definitely is the best way to view anime.

  4. Oh I didnt know that @Dazza, thats awesome guess that another thing to add to the list.

    It was nice meeting you too man 🙂

  5. I had pretty much the same thoughts as you. The visuals were stunning and it was had taking my eyes off the screen. The slow start definitely was the one “bad” part that stood out for me, otherwise, it was great.

  6. […] of it I got the chance to see special screenings of anime that I would only have dreamed […]

Well said but my Opinion Is...

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