Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on July 2010

Credit: ©2010 GNDHDDTW

Whenever Studio Ghibli releases a film these days, it’s a national event—even if the film is not directed by Hayao Miyazaki and is essentially a remake. Karigurashi no Arrietty, helmed by veteran Ghibli animator Hiromasa Yonebayashi, is a reworking of the 1997 British live-action flick The Borrowers, but nonetheless comes across as a fine, entertaining film in its own right. The story concerns “little people,” about three inches small, who live under the floorboards in humans’ houses and appropriate the necessities of life—fortunately, one cube of sugar lasts them a long time. Being seen by humans is so dangerous for them that they must move to a new home whenever it happens. Arrietty (Mirai Shido) is an adventurous adolescent “little” girl who is glimpsed by 12-year-old human boy Sho (Ryunosuke Kamiki), prompting an inter-species romance that’s complicated by the need for Arrietty’s family to relocate. The sumptuous visuals are reminiscent of Miyazaki’s Tonari no Totoro, and the richness of the miniature world is unparalleled. Naturally, it’s all a tad sentimental, but wonderful nonetheless. (English title: The Borrowers.) (94 min)