The Borrower Arrietty is an anime movie based on the novel ‘The Borrowers’ by Mary Norton. Produced by the famed animation studio, Ghibli, the anime was released in Japan in July 2010. The story follows Arrietty, a young teenage girl that lives with her parents under the floorboards of an old mansion in the countryside. Arrietty and her parents are a race of little people called the borrowers. They live within the floors and walls of human homes and sneak out at night in order to ‘borrow’ everyday essentials from places like the kitchen.
On her first borrowing trip with her father, Arrietty is accidentally spotted by a human boy, forcing them to return back home. Later, Arrietty discovers that perhaps not all humans are bad, and that they can be trusted. Her trust in humans soon becomes disastrous for her family as another member of the human household discovers their existence and attempts to eradicate them.
As with many of Ghibli’s films, The Borrower Arrietty draws you into a magical fantasy adventure that the whole family can enjoy. There is no violence, but the anime manages to add a good amount of action and suspense from being attacked by crows to the kidnapping of Arrietty’s mother. Relatively small events are made so much grander thanks to Ghibli’s excellent portrayal of the world from the point of view of someone who only stands 10 cm high.
The animation and visuals in The Borrower Arrietty is simply stunning. The anime starts off by showcasing a beautiful garden before moving into the cavern-like paths that Arrietty’s family has made throughout the house, and then into Arrietty’s home, which is amazingly detailed and gives that homely feel.
One of the things that I’m sure geeks would appreciate is that Ghibli accounted for the surface tension of water in all of their scenes. The borrower’s water taps do not have steams of water coming out like ours, but giant droplets due to their small size. They are also able to simply brush off droplets of water from surfaces without having to soak it up with a cloth.
The music in the movie is simply gorgeous. While this is a Japanese film, the theme song “Arrietty’s Song” is a mix of both English and Japanese. It makes sense considering the story originally comes from an English novel. What’s surprising is that the song was composed and sung by a French woman, Cecile Corbel. You can listen to a sample of the song on Youtube.
The Borrower Arrietty is indeed a joy to watch; if not for the imaginative story, then at least for the stunning animation and superb music. The movie has already been released outside of Japan in France and the UK. The American release is expected in February 2012.