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File:Arrietty 7797.jpg

The Borrower Arietty is a 2010 Studio Ghibli film directed Hiromasa Yonebayashi and written by Hayao Miyazaki, in what marks the former's directorial debut. It's based on Mary Norton's series The Borrowers.

Arietty is a young member of a race known as the Borrowers. As one might suspect from that name, they make their living stealing items (borrowing, in their parlance) from the giant "human beans." Their primary rule is to avoid ever being seen by these terrifying creatures. Arietty, however, meets a human boy whom she doesn't believe means her or her family harm. Nonetheless, she is forbidden from seeing him.

The film hit UK cinemas in the summer of 2011 under the shortened title Arrietty, in Australia in the summer of 2011, and was released in February of 2012 by Disney in the US, retitled as The Secret World of Arriety. The film has a Disney dub and a separate UK dub.

Tropes used in The Borrower Arrietty include:


  • Actor Allusion: This is not the first time real-life couple Will Arnett and Amy Poehler had roles in the same movie! ... One of them playing a "tiny person raising a child!"
  • Action Girl: Arrietty, natch.
  • Animation Bump: Apparent with the close-ups and Scenery Porn sweeping shots, especially with the flora and fauna, which move rather realistically with the wind.
  • The Archer: Spiller, though the audience never sees him use it in action. The first time was really just to show off to Arrietty and to show how the bow is used. The second time around, he aims for Sho when he sees the latter conversing with Arrietty, but realizing that they're saying their farewells, he backs off.
  • Audible Sharpness: Arrietty's pin/sword.
  • Badass Adorable: Arrietty. Spiller when he's trying to show off for Arriety
  • Badass Cape: Spiller has a fur cape that doubles nicely as a hang glider.
  • Bamboo Technology
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: All of the good characters are drawn to be normal and decent-looking. Haru, on the other hand, looks rather toad-like half of the time.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: Any bugs when drawn in comparison to the borrowers. Ants are the size of rats to them, and crickets are as big as dogs.
  • Big Fancy House
  • Bittersweet Ending: Arrietty and her family ultimately move away from the house, the Borrowers never ended up using the doll house like Sho's great-grandfather hoped, and Sho soon faces his operation. However, Arrietty and Sho tenderly part ways, exchanging tokens to each other, and it's implied that Arrietty and her family will live in a more hopeful and safe place. In the Disney dub, Sho's operation was a success. He was basically preparing to die beforehand, but the ending narration reveals that he's still alive a whole year later.
  • Bland-Name Product: We briefly see a bottle of "Ivori Soap".
  • Boy Meets Girl
  • Butt Monkey: If anything bad happens, it's always to Homily.
  • Cats Are Mean: Played straight at first--Sho's cat Niya is a mean predatory thing. Ultimately subverted when he makes his peace with the Borrowers.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The pin.
    • Averted with the dollhouse.
    • "Don't look down."
  • Creepy Cockroach: Arrietty tries to fight one to show off her bravery, but Pod discourages her, saying a borrower shouldn't go looking for trouble.
  • Cultural Translation: Unlike many Ghibli films in the past, some names where changed in the dub as well as flipping some scenes to make it seem like it's set in America, although the backgrounds make it clear where it is actually set.
  • Dub Name Change: Sho to Shawn, Sadako to Jessica and Haru to Hara in the Disney dub.
  • Dying Race: The Borrowers, at least allegedly. Borrowers live so far away from each other (in comparison to their size) that they have very little contact, so they can't be sure how many other Borrowers still exist in the world.
  • Expressive Hair: A Ghibli staple.
  • Expy: Nearly every major human character has a counterpart in the original books. Sho/Shawn is The Boy, and Aunt Sadako/Jessica is basically Great Aunt Sophy.
  • Facial Markings: Spiller.
  • Fainting: A monster faint, of sorts, when Homily sees Shawn put the doll house kitchen in their home.
  • Forbidden Friendship/Odd Friendship: Between Arrietty and Sho.
  • Gaslighting: Sho pulls a minor case of this on Haru, moving the dollhouse kitchen back to the dollhouse when she's not looking to convince her that she's imagining the Borrowers.
    • He also appears in front of her after she locks him in his room, visibly startling him
  • Gentle Giant: Sho would be this from Arrietty's point of view.
  • Good Parents: Pod is a stern yet fair version. Homily may be a bit more easily hysterical and anxious when it comes to the safety of her family, but she cares very much for Arrietty and wants the best for her daughter.
  • Hair Decorations: Arrietty and her little clothespin hairclip. She gives it to Sho/Shaun in the end.
  • Happily Married: Pod and Homily.
  • Hate Sink: Haru
  • Housewife: Homily is the only non-action one in the family, preferring to stay at home.
  • Humans Are Cthulhu: Although Sho and his aunt respect the Borrowers.
  • Ill Boy: Sho, who was always a weak boy and will be getting an operation on his heart.
  • It Was Here, I Swear: Haru tries to show Sadako/Jessica the Borrowers' home.
  • I Will Protect Her: Sho to Arrietty.
  • Last of His Kind: Arrietty's mother references this, fearing that she and her family were the last Borrowers. Later proven not to be the case.
  • Lilliputians
  • Memento MacGuffin: Before they go their separate ways in the ending, Arrietty gives Sho her clothespin hairclip.
  • Mouse World: Well, more like a single dwelling.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Sho's effort to do Arrietty and her family a kind turn by giving them the dollhouse kitchen not only traumatizes Homily and forces the family to prepare to move, but it also leads to Haru discovering their home and capturing Homily. Though Homily, as predicted, really likes that kitchen and is heartbroken to part from it.
  • Noble Savage: Spiller certainly looks the part.
  • Non-Action Guy: Sho, due to his heart condition. Even running for a short distance wore him out.
  • Parental Abandonment: Sho's parents are divorced; he rarely sees his father and his mother is often working.
  • Parents in Distress: Arrietty and Sho team up to rescue Arrietty's mother Homily from Haru.
  • People Jars: Or rather, a Borrower jar.
  • Playing Against Type: Comedic actor Will Arnett voicing the Harrison Ford-esque Pod.
  • Plucky Girl: Arrietty, of course, yet another Ghibli staple.
  • The Quiet One: Pod and Spiller even more so.
    • Sho isn't very talkative either.
  • Ravens and Crows: A crow attempts to catch Arrietty, only to crash and get stuck in a window screen.
  • Soap Opera Disease: Sho has a heart condition ever since he was a child.
  • Scenery Porn: It's Studio Ghibli. Were you expecting anything else?
  • Ship Tease: There are a few hints dropped here and there that Spiller likes Arrietty.
  • Shout-Out: Spiller's costume and facial markings are very reminiscent of San's wardrobe and make-up from Princess Mononoke, which is an earlier Studio Ghibli film.
    • In the photo of Sho's mother and aunt as children, they look similar to Satsuki and Mei from My Neighbor Totoro. In addition, their mother resembles the mother of Satsuki and Mei.
    • The title character is a young woman in her early teens belonging to a mythical race. She wears a mono-colored one-piece dress, has dark(-ish) colored hair, has a bow-like hair ornament, and she befriends a cat. Sound familiar?
    • A rude, spotted fat cat who fights with a crow? That's new.
  • Shown Their Work: The way the liquids behave on small-scale. They all have surface tension, so water beads from their teapot in droplets, and melted cheese forms big round balls, among other things.
    • The flora and fauna are animated in a rather realistic manner, right down to the dew that forms on top of them.
  • Sleep Mask: Arrietty's mother wears one in bed.
  • The Stoic: Pod. Sho/Shawn may also count to a lesser extent, since he never really shows any extreme emotions.
  • Surprisingly Good English: Inverted with Cecile Corbel and the Japanese version of Arrietty's Song, which she sings herself. It works.
  • Timmy in a Well: Sho's/Shawn's cat leads him to Arrietty's departing family.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The U.S. trailer reveals the Clocks in the teapot on the river, Arrietty befriending the cat, Arrietty and Sho/Shawn saying goodbye, and Arrietty rescuing Homily.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Haru, when she finds that all the evidence of the Borrowers has disappeared.
  • Wham! Line: When Shawn and Arrietty first have a conversation: "I'm sorry for upsetting you. I'm actually the one who's going to die."
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