Reviews of yesteryear: Secret World of Arrietty

I’ve reviewed several Stiudio Ghibli films since I started doing these. Most of which have gotten positive reviews. The only exception has been Tales from Earthsea. Unfortunately, that’s also the newest Studio Ghibli film I’ve reviewed. This was true at the time but it’s been replaced since by From Up on Poppy Hill. Or it was. Today I’ll be looking at The Secret World of Arrietty and hoping that Tales from Earthsea isn’t a sign of things to come.

If you’ve read The Borrowers you probably have a pretty good idea of the basic plot. A sick child moves to his aunt’s large house way out in the country. He’s heard stories of little people from his mother and he quickly spots one, an adventurous young girl named Arrietty. The two of them speak with each other and he decides to try to make their lives easier, not knowing that borrowers can’t stay somewhere after they’ve been spotted. The film does a very good job of keeping the main focus of the story intact but also making it dynamic and interesting, even if you’ve read the story. The conflicts they set up are interesting and they have a lot of tension.

The cast of characters is pretty small and Studio Ghibli does a great job making them all very fleshed out and interesting. They interact well with one another and it really helps drive the story. The only exception is Spiller who only gets a couple of scenes and doesn’t do much. As a result he feels pretty two dimensional.

The art is amazing. There’s so much attention to detail and the colours are very vivid. I know, Studio Ghibli art is always excellent. That’s why it surprised me that they actually outdid themselves a bit with this one.

The voice acting is great. It’s very natural and the entire cast does a good job at expressing emotions subtly and in a way that enriches the film. I especially enjoyed the performances of Miura Tomokazu, Kamiki Ryunosuke and Shida Mirai. It’s especially impressive when you notice that none of them have a lot of voice acting experience. The music is beautiful and really helps setup a spectacular tone.

The yuri factor is a 1/10. There is no yuri here.

My final rating for the Secret World of Arrietty is a 9.5/10. It’s an amazing film that’s compelling from start to finish with all of the charm that Studio Ghibli usually offers. If you’re a fan of Studio Ghibli’s work you’ll definitely enjoy this.

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