Arrietty (Blu-ray) (2010)

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Released 23-May-2012

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Animation Main Menu Audio & Animation
TV Spots
Storyboard Comparisons-Picture-in-Picture
Music Video
Interviews-Cast & Crew-Over 1 Hour
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 2010
Running Time 93:54
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Hiromasa Yonebayashi

Madman Entertainment
Starring Saoirse Ronan
Mark Strong
Will Arnett
Amy Poehler
Bridgit Mendler
David Henrie
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Cécile Corbel

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English-British DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Japanese DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English-British Linear PCM 48/16 2.0
Japanese Linear PCM 48/16 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

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Plot Synopsis

     Studio Ghibli are renowned as being one of the best animation studios in the world, along with the likes of Pixar. Accordingly, a new Ghibli production coming to local Blu-ray & DVD is always an event of some note. Their latest production Arrietty or The Secret World of Arrietty is the first directorial effort from long time Ghibli animator, Hiromasa Yonebayashi although the studio's artistic leader Hayao Miyazaki was heavily involved being responsible for planning and the screenplay. This time around the film is based upon a famous work of children's literature, The Borrowers by English writer, Mary Norton.

     For those not aware of the source material, the story revolves around a young boy, Sho, who has a serious heart condition and goes to live in the country with his aunt. His mother is constantly travelling for work. He is mostly left in the care of the housekeeper, Maru. Soon after arriving at the house he sees a very small person in the garden. The person he sees is one of a family who lives under the house and she is tiny. The family includes a girl Arrietty, her father Pod and her mother Homily. They believe they are the last 'borrowers' in the world. They are referred to as borrowers as they must go up into the house they live under a take little things like sugar cubes or a small amount of tea to survive. They try to avoid being seen by humans as they believe if they are they will be hunted down. An unlikely friendship starts between Sho and Arrietty, which worries her parents.

     This is a beautiful and gentle film with lovely animation especially in the various little details which have been added. One example is that the pictures on the wall in the borrowers house are actually postage stamps. It is quite a straight retelling of the original story despite being transplanted to modern Japan. The music by Cecile Corbel is lovely and adds to the gently whimsical tone of the film. There are some exciting adventures for Arrietty and her family but the film suits its G rating and is suitable for small children. Despite being a lovely film, I don't think it quite hits the heights of other Ghibli productions such as Ponyo or My Neighbour Totoro. The film feels a little unresolved at the end and some of the magical feel of those other films is missing. I also missed the music of Joe Hisaishi which graces many of the other Ghibli productions.

     One very pleasing change on this Ghibli production is that there were two different English dubs created, one with UK voice actors featuring Saoirse Ronan, Geraldine McEwen and Mark Strong and one featuring a US voice cast. The English dub included on our local release is the UK one, which is great as far as I am concerned.


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Transfer Quality


     The video quality is excellent.

     The feature is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio which is the original aspect ratio. It is 1080p encoded using AVC.

     The picture is very sharp and clear throughout utilising the high definition format well. Colour is excellent.

     The only artefact is some minor shimmer.

     There are subtitles available in English which are a direct translation of the Japanese soundtrack rather than titles for the English soundtrack.

    There are no obvious layer changes during playback.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


     The audio quality is excellent.

     This disc contains four soundtrack options, the original Japanese in DTS-HD MA 5.1 plus PCM 2.0 and the English dubbed soundtrack in the same formats. As I mentioned above the English dub is the UK version.

     Dialogue was clear and easy to understand throughout.

     The music by Cecile Corbel is light and whimsical with stringed instruments being the dominant element including harp. It sounds lovely on this transfer.

     The surround speakers are used quite extensively for enveloping atmosphere and lots of directionality. The sound design accentuates sounds as if you were a little person yourself.

     The subwoofer was also well used supporting the action scenes and music.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


     Lots of extras which are mostly interviews. Most of the extras are standard definition.


     The menu included music and scenes plus allowing for scene selection.

Trailers (2:32)

     The original Japanese trailer plus 2 TV spots.


     As with most Ghibli films the storyboards for the entire film are available as a picture in picture extra.

Arrietty's Song - Promo Video (3:40)

     Promo Video of what I presume is the composer playing the theme tune.

Interview with Hayao Miyazaki (23:42)

     A surprisingly candid interview with the artistic leader of the studio where he makes fun of the director and talks about how he wasn't convinced he was up to the job. He also discusses his approach to children's animation, the story, the adaption and other topics. Japanese with subtitles.

Interview with Hiromasa Yonebayashi (40:46)

     Once you watch this interview you can sort of get why Hayao was concerned about this guy's ability to direct the film. He is very stilted and struggles to explain his ideas (he is speaking in Japanese so it’s not the language issue). He discusses how he joined Ghibli, other projects he worked on, the nickname he got given when he joined, the story and characters of the film and his own lack of confidence he could do it.

Interview with Tom Holland (5:28)

     EPK style interview segments with the young voice actor who plays Sho in the UK version. Mostly focused on character and story.

Interview with Geraldine McEwen (5:42)

     EPK style interview segments with the voice actor who plays Maru in the UK version. Mostly focused on character and story.

Interview with Saiorse Ronan (3:17)

     EPK style interview segments with the young voice actor who plays Arrietty in the UK version. Mostly focused on character and story.

Interview with Mark Strong (2:42)

     EPK style interview segments with the voice actor who plays Pod in the UK version. Mostly focused on character and story..

Interview with Olivia Coleman (4:31)

     Disorganised interview with the voice actor who plays Homily in the UK version.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Blu-ray seems to be the same in the UK, however the extras on our version mostly do not appear on the US version, so buy local. The US version only has trailers, music videos and storyboards. The interviews are not included.


     A gentle and whimsical Studio Ghibli production.

     The video quality is excellent.

     The audio quality is excellent.

     The extras are quite extensive but mostly interviews.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Monday, September 03, 2012
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BDP-S760 Blu-ray, using HDMI output
DisplaySharp LC52LE820X Quattron 52" Full HD LED-LCD TV . Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt into amplifier. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationMarantz SR5005
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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