When Marnie Was There (Omoide no Mani) (Blu-ray) (2014)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 21-Oct-2015

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Animation Storyboards
Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Featurette-Making Of
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2014
Running Time 102:38
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Hiromasa Yonebayashi

Madman Entertainment
Starring Geena Davis
Kiernan Shipka
John C. Reilly
Hailee Steinfeld
Kathy Bates

Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $39.95 Music Takasugu Muramatsu

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Japanese DTS HD Master Audio 5.0
English DTS HD Master Audio 5.0
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
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

†††† When Marnie Was There (Omoide no Mani) is likely to be the last Studio Ghibli production for some time (or maybe ever) due to the retirement of its two principal filmmakers. This film is directed by neither of those two but rather by younger talent Hiromasa Yonebayashi, the man who helmed Arrietty. He has been working at Ghibli since Princess Mononoke in 1997 where he was a junior animator. It is based on a novel written in English and set in England by Joan G Robinson. The story here is transplanted to Japan and is a gentle, wistful and bittersweet story about a 12 year old girl, Anna, who feels disconnected from the world due to the deaths of her parents and grandmother when she was little. Her adoptive mother who she calls Auntie decides that due to her melancholy and asthma she should spend some time in rural Hokkaido with some of her relatives, the Oiwas. They are relaxed and friendly, living in a small house near a marsh which opens to the sea. She slowly starts to explore the area, sketching the various landscapes. One day she notices an old house across the marsh and as she approaches sees a blonde girl of a similar age in the window. She helps her out of her rowboat and she introduces herself as Marnie. They soon become inseparable, however Marnie seems to abruptly appear and disappear and begs Anna to keep their relationship secret. Will Marnie help Anna to feel better about herself or is there some other secret hidden in the marshes?

†††† This is a beautifully made film with stunning animation which tells a gentle, bittersweet story of childhood, loss and growing up. It is slow paced at times, however the beauty of the animation and the story will hold the attention of older children (probably girls especially) and adults. The score and sound design are lovely really enhancing the beauty of the animation. Yonebayashi showed with Arrietty that he can tell an emotionally affecting story without resorting to Hollywood tear-jerking tactics and he has repeated that approach here. The voice acting is of a high calibre in both the Japanese and English versions with the English voice cast including Geena Davis, Kiernan Shipka (Mad Men), John C. Reilly, Hailee Steinfeld and Kathy Bates. The score by Takasugu Muramatsu is also very memorable and adds wonderfully to the film. Although the character of Marnie seems a little odd to begin with, the payoff in the final act makes perfect sense and it is easy to see why this is one of Hayao Miyazakiís favourite children's books.

†††† Personally, I do not love this film as much as Ponyo or My Neighbour Totoro but its gentle pleasures will certainly appeal to fans of the book and adults with a sentimental streak. It is pleasurable to watch and emotionally effecting with a heartfelt ending which makes up for the lack of pace at times. Younger kids will probably get bored due to the fast pace of most recent children's animation. Recommended.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


†††† This is a lovely video transfer, the animation looks marvellous and detailed, the colours are magnificent. The beauty of this film is shown off by this wonderful transfer. It is 1080p high definition as you would expect in the original aspect ratio of 1.85:1. There is not much more to say about this transfer except that it is awesome.

†††† There are subtitles available in English which follow the Japanese dialogue, which is quite different to the English dub. There are also English for the Hearing Impaired subtitles for the English version.

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


†††† The audio on this Blu-ray includes two options both of which are very detailed, precise and atmospheric. The options are the original Japanese or a high quality English dub, both in DTS HD-MA 5.0 which is perfect for the nature of the film. There is wonderful placement of atmospherics around the room, from doorbells, to wind, rain and the marvellous score. The sound design is excellent and it is captured extremely well on this transfer. It is hard to imagine a better designed soundtrack for a quiet gentle film. Dialogue is clear and easy to understand at all times.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


†††† The extras are worthwhile without setting the world on fire.


†††† The menu included pictures from the film and music.


†††† The full storyboard reel is available as a picture-in-picture extra as you watch the film.

Behind the Scenes with the English Voice Cast (12:36)

†††† A standard extra for Ghibli films, this featurette covers the English voice cast, their thoughts on the film and their characters and the English adaptation. Fairly superficial.

Making of (42:30)

†††† Japanese TV making of for the film which goes through the various stages of production, shows the animators working on the film, includes footage from press conferences etc. Worthwhile but probably too long for non-Japanese speakers. In Japanese with subtitles..

Yokei Taneda creates the art of When Marnie Was There (17:08)

†††† Featurette in Japanese with subtitles which shows various artworks, models, sketches, paintings developed for the production, I would guess from the Ghibli museum accompanied by commentary about the story. Interesting for animation fans maybe a little long for others.

Japanese Trailers & TV Spots (6:07)

†††† A collection of promos.

Reversible Cover


R4 vs R1

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

††† This Blu-ray is available in the same format in the UK and the US. Draw.


††† A gentle, heartfelt film which may be the last from Studio Ghibli.

††† The video quality is awesome.

††† The audio quality is exceptional for a quiet, gentle film.

††† The extras are decent.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Thursday, January 14, 2016
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic DMR-PWT500, 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

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE