Ghibli’s “Arrietty the Borrower” Headed to US

Add another title to the list of animated features opening in the US in 2011. According to The Ghibli Blog, Arrietty the Borrower (directed by Miyazaki’s key animator Hiromasa Yonebayashi) will open in American movie theaters via Disney later this year. Frank Marshall is once again producing the US translation (as he had with Ponyo in 2008). The borrower sprite Arriety is being voiced by Bridgit Mendler (Disney’s Good Luck Charlie), her parents are being dubbed by Will Arnett and Amy Poehler. David Henrie (Disney’s Wizards of Waverly Place) and Carol Burnett will be voicing the human characters, Sho and his Aunt respectively. Based on Mary Norton’s 1952 book, The Borrowers, the Studio Ghibli production was released in Japan last July. It will most likely open in the U.S. during late summer.


  • Donald C

    I wish they’d stop just using the characters from their shows as voice actors. I can’t really say David Henrie’s acting has ever particularly wowed me to say the least.
    Hope they do a good job though.

    • hellohue

      I agree. I think English voice-actors would bring something nice to the role of the Borrowers, not just because of their origins in Norton’s novel, I loved the voice of Sophie in Howl’s Moving Castle, it went fantastically with the rustic visuals in a way that a Disney Channel kid would struggle to.

      Though, of course, can’t say anything before seeing it. Will Arnett as Pod is an interesting choice, too, since the role seems quite serious.

      • Tim Douglas

        I think I heard that Will Arnett was a dramatic actor before Arrested Development but I’m still not holding out much hope for the dub. But one way or the other I’m watching this.

        THIS LOOKS STUNNING, this is something that bothered me about (the great) Summer Wars & (excellent) The girl who leapt through time, they just look like above par OVA’s.

    • julie

      David is much better actor than Jonas and Miley clown who can’t act their way out of paperback, have you seen his other works before Disney? He surely looked different than his funny character on Disney

  • rebecca

    lets hope that they do a better job than the live action one.

  • http://www.cyndifoster.info Cyndi

    Did anyone else go, “WTF?” at the end of this trailer? What up with the sexy lips?

    Just remembering the old Borrowers cartoon series on tv it was a very kiddy show. Can’t wait to see this movie though. Huge Studio Ghibli fan.

    • http://www.inkandpixelclub.com Sara

      Might you be thinking of “The Littles”? All but identical premise, but i don’t think it was related to the “Borrowers” series of books.

      • http://www.cyndifoster.info Cyndi

        Yes you’re right. I thought they were the same thing for a moment there.

      • http://www.inkandpixelclub.com Sara

        Like I said, the premise as I recall it seems remarkably similar: species of tiny people, living hidden at the feet of the human world, using human objects to make their world, existence only known to one human kid. But they seem to be totally unrelated. Based on a comment further on in this discussion, I checked the Wikipedia article and found out that “The Littles” is actually based on an even bigger series of books. Weird.

    • Andrew Kieswetter

      The ‘sexy lips’ belong to the human boy.He’s saying ‘Don’t be Afraid’ to Arrietty.

      • Gamma

        Mmm sexy guy lips.

  • http://www.punkrobot.cl antonia

    I’ve found that almost all american dubs are really annoying and over-acted. I don’t know why that is (maybe this type of industry hasn’t developed that much in the US, since almost all movies are american and already in english?)
    I’d much rather watch it in japanese with english subtitles.

  • Daniel J. Drazen

    Since my hearing is bad and I need to read subtitles anyway, I’m not going to sweat the voice acting. Visually, this reminds me of the rococo brilliance of “Spirited Away.” It also demonstrates, in the elevator surfing scene, a nice interweaving of traditional cell animation and the use of computers. Looking forward to it.

  • http://thatssokraven.livejournal.com/ Kelly Tindall

    If dubbing is the necessary evil that must prevail in order for me to see Ghibli movies in a theatre with a handful of popcorn, then so be it.

    • http://www.inkandpixelclub.com Sara

      Agreed. While I’d rather see the film subtitled if that’s an option, I’m not going to miss seeing it in theaters just because the dub may be kind of mediocre.

      Any word yet on whether “Arrietty the Borrower” is the official English title? I was thinking they might change it to “The Borrowers” to make the connection to the book 100% clear.

  • fpeak

    Correct me if I’m wrong…but wasn’t THE LITTLES based off of The Borrowers as well?

    • http://www.cyndifoster.info Cyndi

      According to Wikipedia, the Littles are very similar to the Borrowers but the Littles are more mice like in appearance.

      The Borrowers the book series published in 1952 in the UK and the Littles was published in 1967 in America. Kinda interesting.

  • NR

    Looks awesome as usual! Ghibli is amazing. Excited!!

  • http://woweh.com Kelly

    Gonna assume right off the bat that the English dub will be mediocre at best, but I’ll see it in theaters to support it, then buy it on DVD! That way, I can watch it the way it was intended – Japanese with English subtitles! <– anime snob ;)

  • http://www.slitherandfriends.com Michael

    I wonder how great the original japanese voice acting is, though. I mean, perhaps someone who has seen the original and speaks the language fluently could tell us, but it’s not like that version doesn’t have it’s share of popular actors taking the place of professional voice actors.

    That said, I mirror the sentiments of a few posters here. Don’t care if it’s a mediocre dub. Still going to try to see it in the theater.

  • http://palais.wikidot.com Jordan Scott

    Thing is, the way it was intended to be seen is in a cinema, from 35 mm or uncompressed 2K, so with such releases as this the best one can do is to tolerate the dub for the sake of the visuals, music and sound effects and mentally combine them with the dialogue and lip-syncing when the home release hits. But considering it this way, that’s still a whole lot better than only getting the DVD or even Blu-ray Disc. <– Film snob :-)

    And nice to see Daniel Thomas' Ghibli Blog getting linked here; I may still disagree with him on the Hols/Horus debate, among other things, but he's put a shaming amount of work into that thing over the years and deserves the publicity.

  • Tim Douglas

    Following on from Michael’s comment I’d also really like some feedback from any fluent japanese speakers.

    I’ve always wandered if the original voice acting is really many times better as it sounds to my ears or if it’s just a language barrier thing. Both in big movies like this as well as just your typical tv series.

    Also Jordan Scott makes an excellent point but I’m torn between the film & anime snobs inside me. Part of me wants to SEE this the correct way & support anime getting wider releases. The other part wants to abstain to demand anime be subbed like any other foreign film or just have better quality dubs, that would be fine too.

    Hmmm… call it a draw: cinema first, DVD later.

  • djm

    I just want better animation distributed here, regardless of where it comes here. I do wish more animation was coming from other places than Japan. There’s a lot of great stuff going on that we will never see, but anime is always a posibility. Its dominance is kinda stifling, and the otakus it breeds are annoying.

    Still, I’ll echo everyone else. This looks beautiful, and I’ll support it twice.

  • Andrew Kieswetter

    I am really looking forward to seeing this on the big screen. It doesn’t matter to me who the English dub voices are,
    I just want to see it.

  • Warhead

    It looks great, but the casting choices are… well, to put it bluntly, shit. Seriously, why do they cast Disney Channel actors in movies like these? None of them have any sort of talent, and it made no sense for Ponyo(and probably drove people away from it), and it makes just as much sense here.

    • John

      You do realize that voice acting is different from screen acting? They’re a completely separate set of skills; a good screen actor may not make a good voice actor and vice versa.

      Regarding Arrietty: This is the second time ONLY that Disney has cast an actor directly correlated to their television channel. The young Cyrus and Jonas who voiced the leads in Ponyo barely has any acting experience (usually stand in credits and one liners) so your negative bias against Disney is a detriment to your enjoyment and the kids efforts. Also, most of the people who brought their kids to the theater to see Ponyo when it was released knew through Disney magazines and advertisements. You have them to thank for Arrietty’s much wider release since that was a modest anime success in the States.

  • rebecca

    Ok so Disney is obviously trying to look after its own actors and allowing the general public a type of comfort zone by choosing well known actors. As we have seen in the past this hasn’t worked.
    I’m wondering if the Cartoon Brew followers had the final say in who was chosen, who the final voice cast would be? I’ve read some of the other comments about Ponyo (I was lucky enough to see this with subtitles but no dubbing but i have seen the dubbed version on dvd) and I’m wondering who would have been better choices than Cate Blanchett, Tina Fey etc?
    On the up side at least Disney is allowing for children from other language backgrounds to have the opportunity to see works from other countries.

  • kenneth

    Back in 2009, I saw my first Studio Ghibli film in theaters, “Ponyo on a Cliff,” and it was one of the greatest movie experiences I’ve ever had. If “Arrietty” is released widely, you can bet I’ll be there to see it on opening day!

  • Heinz

    It looks awesome!!! I can’t wait to see it.

  • Yuki

    I don’t understand why it takes 2 years for this movie to come out I mean come on just subtitle it and bring it to America I’ve been waiting for this movie and I don’t want it ruined by someones poor voice acting