The Secret World of Arrietty


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Arrietty (titled The Borrower Arrietty (借りぐらしのアリエッティ, Kari-gurashi no Arietti) in Japan and The Secret World of Arrietty in North America) is a 2010 Japanese animated fantasy film directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, written by Hayao Miyazaki and Keiko Niwa and produced by Studio Ghibli, based on Mary Norton's novel The Borrowers.

Ghibli announced the film in late 2009 with Yonebayashi making his directorial debut as the youngest director of a Ghibli film. Miyazaki supervised the production as a developing planner.[1] The voice actors were approached in April 2010, and Cécile Corbel wrote the film's score as well as its theme song.

Released in Japan on July 17, 2010, Arrietty received very positive reviews, all of which praised the animation and music. It also became the highest grossing Japanese film at the Japanese box office for the year 2010,[2] and is currently grossing over US$141 million worldwide.[3] The film also won the Animation of the Year award at the 34th Japan Academy Prize award ceremony.[4] Two English language versions of the film were produced, a British dub produced by Studio Canal which was released in the United Kingdom on July 29, 2011, and an American dub released by Walt Disney Pictures in North America on February 17, 2012.

Arrietty was adapted into a Japanese manga series. This manga adaptation was first published by Tokuma Shoten Publishing Co., Ltd. within Japan, and was released in four separate volumes. Viz Media released the English version of this manga adaptation of the film within North America in January 2012.


In Koganei, Tokyo, a boy named Shō arrives at the house his mother lived in as a child, to live with his great aunt, Sadako. When Shō leaves the car, he sees a cat trying to attack Arrietty, a Borrower, but leaves after being attacked by a crow. Shō discovers Arrietty just as she returns home. Later, Arrietty's father, Pod, takes his daughter above the floorboards to show her how he gets sugar. Their first stop is the kitchen, then they walk within a wall to reach a dollhouse in Shō's bedroom, to get tissue, but Arrietty then gets spotted by Shō and accidentally drops the sugar cube out of surprise. Shō begs her not to leave. Even though Arrietty hesitates, she still leaves.

The next day, Shō leaves the dropped sugar cube beside an underground air vent where he first saw Arrietty. Pod warns Arrietty not to take it because their existence must be kept secret from humans, but his daughter sneaks out to visit Shō in his bedroom. She drops the sugar cube he left on the floor and he detects that she is there. She tells Shō to leave her family alone and that they do not need his help. She does not show him what she looks like. On her return, Arrietty is intercepted by her father. Realizing they have been detected, Pod and his wife Homily decide that they must move out of the house. Shō learns from Sadako that some of his ancestors had seen Borrowers in this house, and they had the dollhouse made especially for the Borrowers, with working electric lights and ovens. The Borrowers had not been seen since, however, and the dollhouse stayed in Shō's room.

Pod returns injured from a borrowing mission and is being helped by Spiller, a Borrower boy he met on the way, who also informs them of some places the Borrowers could move to. While Pod is recovering, Shō uncovers the floorboards above the Borrower household, uproots their kitchen, and replaces it with the kitchen from the dollhouse as a display of kindness, in hopes the Borrowers would be more accepting of his knowledge of their existence. However, this causes the Borrowers to speed up the moving process.

After Pod recovers, he goes to explore some of the places Spiller suggested to them. Arrietty goes to say goodbye to Shō, but she discovers from Shō that the Borrowers are becoming extinct. Shō reveals he has had a heart condition since birth and will have an operation in a few days. The operation does not have a good chance of success. He believed that there is nothing he can do about it, saying that eventually every living thing dies. Arrietty convinces Shō that he will fight for the life he has now, even though everything dies.

Meanwhile Haru, Sadako's maid, notices the floorboards have been disturbed. Sadako is out and Shō is still in the garden speaking with Arrietty, when Haru unearths the Borrowers' house and catches Homily. Arrietty leaves Shō in the garden to see what has happened. Saddened by Arrietty's departure, Shō goes back inside the house and into his room. Haru locks the room and calls a pest removal company to smoke out the Borrowers and bring them to her alive. Cooperating with Shō, Arrietty stages a rescue attempt on Homily. Sadako returns soon after the pest removal company comes and tells them to leave. Haru and Sadako discover too late that the Borrowers are moving, and Shō has destroyed the remains.

The Borrowers stop for dinner during their move, and Shō's cat spots Arrietty. The cat brings Shō to Arrietty. He gives her a sugar cube as a parting gift, and tells her the Borrowers' fight for survival has given him hope to live through the operation, which will happen in two days' time. In return, Arrietty gives Shō her "hair" clip, then joins Pod and Homily in a teapot with Spiller just as they are about to leave. Shō's narration reveals that even though he and Arrietty never met again, he usually hears from neighbors about small things around their house just all of a sudden going missing. Spiller gives Arrietty a red berry after she joins him on the teapot's top.

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  1. "Studio Ghibli's Next Film Adapts Mary Norton's The Borrowers (Updated)". Anime News Network. December 16, 2009. Retrieved December 21, 2009. 
  2. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named mppaj
  3. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Box_Office_Mojo
  4. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named japanacademy

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