I’ve been waiting so long to watch this movie; I’ve been literally counting days until it would be on dvd. My patience ultimately got rewarded: once again we get a Ghibli masterpiece with a fantastic setting and a beautiful storyline. I’m sure fans of the Ghibli movies won’t be disappointed: Karigurashi no Arrietty is a top-notch visual piece.

The Borrowers are very small people that borrow small things from people’s houses. Arrietty, one of these Borrowers, is a fourteen year old girl who lives with her mother and father under the floorboard. The first time that she can go with her father to borrow things from the household, she gets discovered by Sho, a young boy with health problems. This causes a lot of problems, as Borrowers are actually not allowed to be seen by people…

Ghibli, fantasy

The story is a typical story for Ghibli, since it contains many elements that are also seen in other of their movies. It is a heartwarming story, and even though it may seem to develop rather slowly, it definitely picks by the second half. The ending – without spoiling too much – is not what I had been expecting, and I was rather shocked that it didn’t go as I had thought it would. Don’t expect major themes or difficult motifs, but be ready to be charmed by a sweet story. And believe me, you will be charmed.

I think the main characters looked rather simplistic; their clothes weren’t very detailed, they didn’t really have any specific characteristic that made them look special and all in all they looked a lot like other characters from Ghibli movies. But this is not a negative comment: on the contrary even. Because once you look away from the characters and starts paying attention the background, it’s an amazing difference. The house where the Borrowers live is a perfect example of this: there were countless intricate details and I loved the way how they really made everyday objects serve a totally different purpose. Now if they had made the characters as detailed as the background, it would have been in excess, and enough is as good as a feast.

The main characters are children, and I love how “naive” (not in the negative sense of the word) they are. They don’t care about what is right or wrong, they only care about what they feel. As in most Ghibli movies we have a limited number of characters, but I didn’t feel that that element made it more boring. I even liked that they had more opportunities to deepen out the personalities of the main characters instead of introducing one character after another. The very local setting of the story (it takes place in and around one single house) also has to do with this of course.

The music was simply beautiful, and it fitted very well with the movie. A fantasy movie that looks like a fairy tale asks for a specific type of music, and they really did a good job asking Cécile Corbel. A fun fact is that she got chosen to provide the music for Karigurashi no Arrietty after she had sent a fan letter to the Ghibli studio, including a sample of her music. I especially liked her contribution to the movie in the form of a song, which is called ‘Arrietty’s Song’. Her voice fitted the mood of the movie perfectly. As for the voice actors, they did very good, I liked most of their voices.

I’d say everyone should take a look at this movie, especially if you have seen and liked Ghibli movies before. It might not be as original and popular as Spirited Away or Howl’s Moving Castle, but it is comparable at the very least. The visuals are stunning and the movie has a solid plot, and there are not many remarks to make about the overall quality of this anime. So let’s not waste any more words on this: go see Karigurashi no Arrietty and find out for yourself!