The Borrower Arrietty is yet another movie from Studio Ghibli, and once again, a movie that doesn’t disappoint. The movie is based off of the fantasy novel “The Borrowers” by Mary Norton. This is also the directorial debut of Hiromasa Yonebayashi, Ghibli’s youngest director at 37 years old. I give Yonebayashi-san a ton of credit sine he was able to pull off a Ghibli movie that both looks and feels like Miyazaki himself directed it. The art, tone, soundtrack, characters, and situations, are done so well that you notice and take in every little bit you can.
Not to take away from anything else, but one thing that really stands out above it all is the soundtrack. Usually when I watch an anime or animated film, I notice the art above everything else, but In Arrietty, the music was absolutely beautiful. It captures the mood so well that I could probably listen to the soundtrack alone, and re-experience every sensation of the movie as a whole.
The art is Ghibli art and there really isn’t much else to say. The characters stay on model, the frame rate is where it should be, the colors are vibrant and the animation quality is perfectly fine. One thing that truly stuck out in the art department was the background work. Now, Ghibli background art is almost always outstanding, but in this movie, I just blew me away, it’s like someone traveled to the most beautiful place in Japan and painted it in such a way that it was even more beautiful than the real thing.
Usually I focus on the artistic values of a film, but with this being a new director I paid close attention to technical details as well and yet I found nothing to complain about. The pacing is perfect, nothing really drags on. The editing is fine, nothing is too jumpy or over edited. The writing is on par with other Ghibli films, though the drama is a little weak and the characters are pretty shallow. Finally, the voice acting, to me, was fine. The emotions seemed accurately expressed, and the voices fit the characters well, though I have very limited knowledge of the Japanese language, so I can’t say for sure.
Finally, there is the overall entertainment value. I enjoyed this movie quite a bit. To follow these little Borrowers (people about the size of a field mouse that borrow from humans to survive) through their struggle is fascinating. I’m very impressed that such a simple idea could be so interesting. Also, it’s never a bad idea to watch a Ghibli movie. Even if you don’t like some things, you can always find something for you, be it the music, art, story, or characters. I give The Borrower Arrietty a 9.9/10.