Welcome one and all to the greatest show on earth! Well, at least for someone that is!! This is the newest installment in the series now. I dub it: Anime we Love! This is simple in idea and execution. I find a wonderful person on the interwebs and just simply interview them about their favorite anime. I feel like the culture and fandoms we see so often are just a distorted and ugly place most of the time. I’m tired of all the perverse and mean behavior. People insulting things just because, and then in turn insulting the person for having unique tastes. It’s awful and needs to stop. So, I am here to spread the love.
In 2014, we witnessed what is currently the last Ghibli film, until someone else comes forth in the company. Hiromasa Yonebayashi’s drama, When Marnie Was There was this very anime. It tells the story of a young girl named Ana, and her struggles with many things from: being misunderstood, her own adoption, and many many relatable concepts. It’s a film in the same vein as works from the company like Whisper of The Heart and Kiki’s Delivery Service, where the main focus is meant to be on a very down to earth level. When Ana meets Marnie things start to spiral in ways she never imagined up until the thrilling conclusion. Today, I am here with my friend Feethebunny to discuss his favorite anime film, and why it holds that special place in his cynical heart.
DISCLAIMER: This post contains spoilers for the film When Marnie Was There. If you have not seen the movie, and want to avoid spoilers, I recommend coming back to this post afterwards. Thank you so much for your time, and now on to the interview!
Do you recall when you first saw the movie? Was it something you already had planned to watch or was it on a whim of sorts?
Fee: I don’t recall the date specifically, but I do remember that it was just starting to show up as a fansub at the time, so probably sometime early to mid 2015 if I had to hazard a guess. It hadn’t been licensed officially for western release as far as I know though. At the time I was in a period where I was starting to make better attempts to watch the Ghibli movies and this one piqued my interest with what I could gather about it’s story at the time, so I downloaded it and, unlike a lot of things I download, actually got around to it in a pretty timely manner.
Doaki: Tisk tisk, you naughty bunny you. Going and watching stuff through fansubs like a crooked animal! Although, based on what I can tell, it was at least well worth the evil deed. I actually saw it in theaters in North Carolina when it came stateside and was dubbed. Nothing quite beats seeing it on the silver screen.
Fee: I have my reasons, but we won’t get into that here, hehe.
So now for the fun part. Tell me a little bit about what makes this anime stick out so much for you. Why do you love it so much?
Fee: Oh man, this is going to be a multifaceted answer. There are several things that grab me.
The big one is obviously how I relate to the two main characters. With Ana, it’s all about that depression and self loathing we see at the beginning of the movie. While not for the same reasons as her, I definitely have had, and to some degree, still do have a major problem in this area. I didn’t know how to relate to people around me, was terrible at making friends because of how I viewed myself and for a long time had a pretty shaky relationship with my parents at best. Also, I used to draw a lot, so there’s the whole art aspect as well, hehe. I feel kinda funny saying these things because I relate to Ana for all the bad reasons mostly, but at the same time, I kinda want those things that she gets at the end of the movie as well. I want to be happy like that and have good friendships and relations with those around me. I’m getting there, but it needs work.
With Marnie, I also kinda relate, but it’s mostly just on the whole neglectful parent thing. I had a pretty rough time when I was about the same age as these two because my parents were in a pretty bad place at the time. All’s better now, but I know that want for love and attention.
As for other reasons I love the movie, well, it comes down to a lot of visual things. I love the setting, the art style used and the way it doesn’t look like any other Ghibli movie. It has subtle touches that some people wouldn’t notice, but that are very obviously not going to be found in something like Kiki or Ponyo. Just look at the way the characters are drawn and animated for one. It’s similar, but a bit different, in a slightly more realistic way. And also, one I didn’t notice till I watched the behind-the-scenes featurette. The clouds follow Ana’s moods through the film. It’s subtle at times, but also brilliant in it’s execution, and I love touches like that.
And of course, well, I can’t not mention that song at the end. That thing hits so many points that resonate with me that I can’t help but love it, even when it reminds me of times I wish I could forget sometimes.
Doaki: Wow, now that was a neat factoid. I had no idea about the clouds reflecting her emotions! That truly is something you can’t help but marvel at in its simple but deft execution. I would have to agree this film is a lot less fantasy in feel than the rest of the Ghibli catalog. Which is funny enough, the other film that came to mind with a similar feel to me was Arriety, which Yonebayashi was also the head creative mind behind.
It’s nice to see how the main characters really struck a chord with you due to a personal and deep reason. Nothing quite beats the emotional pull of a narrative having characters that are reminiscent of a younger version of yourself. I know for a fact Ana reminds me of lots of people I’ve met in my life who have issues with social interacting. It makes her feel so organic to her world when you can see real life inspiration in her actions.
Fee:This is why it’s sometimes worth going in and watching those extra features on the DVDs and Blurays for things you like. You get some amazing insights into the movies and series you already love.
The movie has a small cast and I assume you have a favorite of the handful. Who is it and why are they the personal favy?
Fee: I have to go wth Ana, for all the reasons I stated above. She’s just so relatable for me, so it’s hard not to love her as a character. I watch her through the film and even knowing the ending, I just want so bad for her to have all the good things she deserves.
Are there any particular scenes in the film that really exemplifies your love for it?
Fee: There are two that really just get me so much. One is oddly the festival scene when Ana calls the other girl a fat pig. I’ve been in that spot many a time and wish I’d spoken my mind so I’m kinda glad to see that she got to do so here, even if she wasn’t totally in the right. That other girl was a bitch though. The other one is Marnie’s story at the end. I’ve seen the movie what, four times now, and it still gets me every single time. It’s so sad, and especially after you see the movie again so you can piece together things that might have not made sense the first time through, it just becomes more powerful knowing that this vibrant character is going to have some truly rough times ahead.
Doaki: I would definitely say the insult scene with the pig mention really did have a strong touch to how hard it can be for someone like Ana. And with her being the main lead it’s obvious why it plays out this way too. I always enjoyed seeing her apologize at the ending, to show that it was never forgotten. And ahh yes, the big reveal of Marnie’s past is easily the most memorable sequence of the film. I can be honest, it made me cry pretty damn good the first time I saw it. And the second time, and…..okay yeah it destroys my poor little heart!
Fee: Hehe, yeah, I think that whole reveal of Marnie’s past easily makes a list of anime scenes that can bring tears to even the eyes of those people that have a brick for a heart (side note not meant for this interview, but you might think about this as another top ten list idea actually, if you’ve seen enough of these kinds of scenes of course).
Doaki: I will certainly consider that! haha
Studio Ghibli is known for making a lot of big hits, and I know you are hit or miss with them. What about Marnie separates it from the typical Ghibli flair?
Fee: I mentioned the two technical aspects above. I think those are pretty interesting in and of themselves. Having seen all of their movies now, I do tend to have a distaste for Miyazaki though, and that certainly pushes me towards the other directors of the studio. There’s a sameness to his movies that you won’t see in Takahata’s or Yonebayashi’s works. This is definitely more true for Takahata, who has made more films, but Yonebayashi has really proven that he can do great things and make them his own, especially here where Miyazaki’s name doesn’t grace the list of credits anywhere. That might be the most amazing thing really. This movie proved that the studio can function without him. But yeah, I’ve said all of this and not even talked about why the movie is not typical Ghibli flair. I suppose subject matter could be part of of it. It’s not overly set in fantasy, only relying on the one supernatural element, Marnie. It doesn’t have much in the way of action either, which is pretty common in several Ghibli movies, so I suppose that would be something. It’s very much slice of life with a supernatural touch to it. I dunno, that’s about all I got there. Next!
Doaki: It’s interesting to see someone who doesn’t identify with the big man on campus, and instead a person he obviously strongly influenced and mentored over the past many years. It’s a good look to what the future may hold with anime films when the new generation has their own way of making movies.
Fee: As a community, we do tend to have a few big names that are big and important, but I think it’s important to take off those rose-tinted glasses sometimes and be honest about what we’re watching. It’s far too easy to jump on the bandwagon and love everything, but these guys are human and they can make mistakes. But before I wander way down that road, I’ll stop and just say that overall, I’m happy with what I see as one of the possible futures of the anime industry, at least in terms of movies.
Doaki: I do feel that sometimes, it can be blinders that cause people to not want to back down on a product’s quality. Although, in general I feel the main reason certain anime appeal to more folks is they have broader, and easier to identify with themes. Miyazaki is pretty much the person who makes the most widely understood anime, even to those who don’t watch it like my mother. However, I am glad to see more creative minds come forth, to lead the next generation of anime fans as the industry continues to blossom.
Music always plays a large part of any anime. It’s rarely an exception. What musical tracks were your favorite and why?
Fee: This almost feels unfair since the movie only has 3 actual tracks that I’m aware of (and one is just used as background music at the party in the marsh house), and then some background music. Granted, it’s good background music, but still. So again, I have to go with that final track. It just hits too close to home in ways that hurt a little, but resonate and make me think about my life and what I could do to make things better.
Why add on to that with a reply when I can just show you folks the beautiful track he mentioned twice!
If you had to say one reason, that is the definite reason you would recommend this film to someone, what would it be?
Fee: I won’t cop out and say that anyone determined to watch all the Ghibli movies should watch this. That’s too easy, and they have far less watched movies that I’d sooner recommend because I know this one is far less likely to be skipped. I’ll also stay away from mentioning feels. Anyone who wants feels can ask and will surely get this mentioned among many other great things. That just leaves the more specific reason of subject matter. If I knew someone was struggling with depression or possibly the loss of a loved one, I’d have this high at the top of the list of things they should watch. It sends a good message for both of these and can certainly be uplifting, even when it hits it’s darkest moments.
Doaki: Haha! It just wouldn’t be you without the take away of trying to find a unique answer rather than the easy one. As someone who suffers from depression, and has lost more than I wish I had these past few years, I can say nothing more than I agree with that sentiment. This film sends a very inspirational message for those who may struggle with those things, and I think it will always be the lasting testament of it.
Describe your perfect day together with Ana and Marnie!
Fee: Oooo, tough one there. Ana has the whole drawing thing, and I think it would be cool to have a day out on the boat drawing the marsh house, but that doesn’t feel like Marnie’s thing. But I don’t dig parties much, so it would probably be a day similar to the scene we see of them hiking about in the woods, picking mushrooms and sharing secrets. Definitely no trips to the silo though.
Doaki: Awww No silos!? Are you sure!!? It could be fun you know, on second thought that may be better avoided. On the other hand, your idea of a great day does sound awfully pleasant so you won’t see me disagreeing on that any time soon.
Fee: No silos! I live in what at least used to be a community heavily involved in farming, so I know those are not places to be playing around anyways, and even less so when they are half as spooky as the one seen in this movie. Better to have nice safe hikes with someone who knows what’s safe to eat along the way, hehe.
Describe Marnie to someone who hasn’t seen it in 10 words or less!
Fee: So good Miyazaki didn’t come out of retirement to help.
That is it folks! Thank you so much Fee for your contribution. This could not have been done without you! So, there isn’t much I want to say in regards to closing this article. I just want everyone who has seen Marnie, and those who haven’t, to see why someone could love it so much. Why do you love your favorite anime? It’s a great question that people don’t take the time to ask. Why would that be so important? I think it is good to step back and appreciate what you love and why you love it. Enough of this world of criticism and judgement! I want a place where we all sit down and learn to love why someone else loves their favorite anime. Spread the love ❤ ! That is all my friends.
Until next time, See you around my little wanderers!