For anime movies, there is one name synonymous with good quality movies, and that name is studio Ghibli. In case you didn't know, they did such movies like Howl's Moving Castle and Spirited Away, and who can forget the lovable adventure of Ponyo. All these movies have been well known to the anime community and has made Studio Ghibli one of the most well known for movies in the anime community. When I came across Kariguarashi no Arrietty or The Secret World of Arrietty, I had problems finding the subtitled versions, so I waited for the English release, which just so happened to fall on the Valentine's Day weekend, I was stoked to be honest.
The story follows Shawn, or Shou in the original Japanese version, who has come to the country side in order to recuperate before his sugery on his heart. Also, we follow Arrietty, an adventurous pint sized girl, literally, or a borrower. Her and her family survive by taking little things that the humans, or being will not miss, like cookies, tissue paper, or sugar cubes. As she goes out with her papa on her first borrowing, Shawn sees her and the whole mission is aborted, and they return home empty handed. Shawn learns later from his folks that there is a legend of the little people, and that his grandfather believed in it so much to even make a fully functioning house for them. Shawn and Arrietty meet, and this creates a problem for Arriety and her family because, because as the humans steadily become aware of their existence, Arrietty and her family have to move, because it is a law among Borrowers that thy have to move if the beings find them due to the beings curiosity. However, before they can get away from the house they borrow from, Haru finds the Borrowers, and then goes to the extreme route of trying to exterminate them. As Shawn and Arreitty try to save her family, it starts to foster a forbidden bond between the two of them.
To be honest, I was expectinggreat things from the movie its self due to the fact it was made by Studio Ghibli. However, since Disney took up the dub, I was a bit scared because they have a tendency to make awful dubs. I will admit however, they did a decent job on the voice acting and each voice fit the character well. The only complaint I have about the dub is the fact they changed some of the named to better fit American audiences.
The characters were each well designed in the Studio Ghibli way, although Shawn looks like a typical harem lead, even though this is not a harem. Arreitty was well designed as well, along with each of her family memebers. I will also give studio Ghibli credit for animation consistency, which always important in movies like this. Also, the sceneries were all well drawn and vibrant and well matched for the tone of the movie.
The music track was also very good. It fit each scene very well, and the opening and end themes also fit the movie very well. The only complaint is the last song for the American version quite frankly plucked my my nerves, however, the music track was also very good.
I will this is a good family film. The film does handle the adult messages very well, and can be an enjoyable film as well. I recommend this film to all ages, from young kids to the elderly adults.