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When Marnie Was There Anime Review - Blog Banner
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When Marnie Was There Anime Review

When Marnie Was There Anime Review - Blog Banner

Step into the enchanting world of Studio Ghibli once again as we embark on a journey through their lesser-known gem, When Marnie Was There

This heartwarming and introspective anime film, directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, captures the essence of friendship, self-discovery, and the mysterious allure of a secluded seaside town. 

In this anime review, we will delve into the beautifully crafted narrative, the breathtaking animation, and the emotional depth that make When Marnie Was There yet another masterpiece in the illustrious portfolio of Studio Ghibli.

When Marnie Was There Synopsis

When Marnie Was There follows the poignant story of Anna Sasaki, a 12-year-old girl struggling with feelings of loneliness and self-doubt. Plagued by asthma and a sense of disconnect from the world around her, Anna is sent to live with her foster mother’s relatives in a quaint seaside village. 

There, she discovers a long-abandoned mansion across the marshes, which appears to be inhabited by a mysterious and ethereal girl named Marnie.

Anna’s initial interactions with Marnie are marked by a curious mix of fear and fascination. As the two girls form an unlikely friendship, they embark on enchanting adventures together, sharing secrets, dreams, and their deepest insecurities. Through Marnie, Anna begins to uncover her own hidden past and gradually learns to accept herself.

However, the line between reality and fantasy becomes increasingly blurred as Anna tries to make sense of Marnie’s existence and her own identity. The film unravels a poignant tale of self-discovery, the power of friendship, and the emotional healing that can come from connecting with one’s past.

When Marnie Was There is a touching and visually stunning Studio Ghibli masterpiece that explores the complexities of human emotions and the transformative impact of genuine connections.

Is When Marnie Was There The Movie worth watching?

People love the Studio Ghibli movie When Marnie Was There for a variety of compelling reasons:

1. Emotional Depth: 

The film delves deep into the emotional struggles of its protagonist, Anna, as she grapples with feelings of loneliness, self-doubt, and the search for her own identity. This emotional resonance allows viewers to connect with the characters on a personal level.

2. Beautiful Animation: 

Studio Ghibli is renowned for its breathtaking animation, and When Marnie Was There is no exception. The picturesque seaside settings, intricate character designs, and attention to detail create a visually captivating experience.

3. Strong Character Development: 

The movie features well-developed and relatable characters who undergo significant growth throughout the story. Anna’s transformation and her evolving friendship with Marnie are particularly poignant and endearing.

4. Mystery and Intrigue: 

The film weaves a compelling mystery surrounding Marnie and her connection to Anna. This element of intrigue keeps viewers engaged and eager to uncover the secrets of the story.

5. Themes of Friendship and Acceptance: 

When Marnie Was There explores the themes of friendship, acceptance, and the healing power of genuine human connections. These universal themes resonate with audiences of all ages.

6. Exploration of Memory and Identity: 

The film delves into the complex themes of memory and identity, encouraging viewers to reflect on their own past experiences and the impact they have on their present selves.

7. Subtlety and Ambiguity: 

The movie doesn’t spoon-feed its audience with answers but instead leaves room for interpretation. This subtlety allows viewers to engage in thought-provoking discussions and interpretations of the story.

8. Atmospheric Soundtrack: 

The hauntingly beautiful music by composer Takatsugu Muramatsu enhances the film’s emotional depth and adds to its overall atmosphere.

9. Relatability for Adolescents: 

The coming-of-age story, coupled with the challenges faced by adolescents, resonates strongly with younger viewers who may identify with Anna’s journey of self-discovery.

10. Studio Ghibli Legacy: 

Studio Ghibli has a loyal fanbase, and many viewers have a deep appreciation for the studio’s consistent quality and storytelling. When Marnie Was There continues this legacy, earning the trust and admiration of Ghibli enthusiasts.

When Marnie Was There is celebrated for its emotional storytelling, stunning visuals, and universal themes that touch the hearts of viewers, making it a beloved addition to the Studio Ghibli library.

When Marnie Was There The Movie flaws

While When Marnie Was There is widely praised, it has not been immune to criticism, and here are three notable criticisms it has received:

1. Slow Pacing: 

Some viewers have found fault with the film’s deliberate and slow pacing. While it allows for a deeper exploration of the characters and themes, it can also be seen as dragging the plot, making it less engaging for those who prefer a faster-moving narrative.

2. Ambiguity and Confusion: 

The film’s penchant for ambiguity and its intricate narrative can leave some viewers feeling confused or unsatisfied. The complex relationships and the blending of reality and fantasy can be challenging to grasp fully, leading to a sense of detachment for some.

3. Lack of Cultural Familiarity: 

Studio Ghibli films often incorporate elements of Japanese culture, which can sometimes be a barrier for international audiences who are less familiar with Japanese customs, settings, or social dynamics. When Marnie Was There leans on its Japanese context, potentially making it less relatable to viewers from different cultural backgrounds.

It’s worth noting that while these criticisms exist, they are relatively minor in comparison to the film’s overall acclaim and positive reception.


When Marnie Was There stands as another captivating testament to Studio Ghibli’s ability to craft emotionally resonant and visually stunning storytelling. Its exploration of themes like loneliness, self-acceptance, and the power of friendship is both heartfelt and thought-provoking. 

While some may find fault with its slow pacing, ambiguity, or cultural elements, these criticisms are overshadowed by the film’s ability to touch the hearts of those who appreciate its depth and beauty. 

When Marnie Was There is a poignant reminder of the enduring magic of Studio Ghibli, showcasing their ability to create timeless stories that continue to captivate and inspire audiences across the globe.


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