Tag Archives: the borrowers


Just seen the film Arrietty, a Japanese anime film from Studio Ghibli.

Ever since seeing Spirited Away in the cinema some years ago and being totally blown away at the quality and drawing style of the art work I’ve been a fan of Ghibli. Don’t expect anything too dramatic or shocking from their films, they are not ‘action films’ in the way of a typical Hollywood blockbuster (though many of the films do involve violence and war), but are more films that make you stop and think – and you’re still thinking days after watching!

Arrietty is a Japanese take on The Borrowers by Mary Norton. Enjoyed the film and though
I’ve not read the books this has certainly encouraged me to look out for them the next time I’m book shop browsing. (One thing Harry Potter has done for me is to alert me to the fact that may books classed as for children are perfectly adult compatible.)

The showing of the film was in English, and this is one thing that I felt let the film down. Usually I’ve been quite happy with the English language versions of the Studio Ghibli productions, sometimes watching the DVDs I have in English, sometimes in Japanese but with subtitles. However I think in this case they got things wrong, they made to too English. It may be based on an English story, but like it or not this is a Japanese film, the principle building has an oriental feel to it, the characters may have a western style of dress, but they are still oriental characters, the whole visual style of the film is of a Japanese Studio Ghibli film, you know you are in the East. Yet they’ve given the characters such extreme and so stereotypical English accents that it’s totally out of place with the rest of the atmosphere and of the setting, and made it a bit disjointing to watch.

In all the other Ghibli films I’ve seen the English language version may not have been perfect, but it has never distracted me from the film. This time I really did find it failed to blend in, but sat separate / on top of the visual storyline. A shame, I’m sure I’ll see this film again and will get the DVD, but will definitely be going for the Japanese language version with English subtitles.