When Marnie Was There

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When Marnie Was There
Omiode no Marnie poster.jpg
Japanese teaser poster for When Marnie Was There
Directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi
Produced by Yoshiaki Nishimura
Toshio Suzuki
Written by Keiko Niwa
Masashi Andō
Hiromasa Yonebayashi
Based on When Marnie Was There 
by Joan G. Robinson
Starring Sara Takatsuki
Kasumi Arimura
Music by Takatsugu Muramatsu
Studio Ghibli
Distributed by Toho
Release date(s)
  • July 19, 2014 (2014-07-19)
Country Japan
Language Japanese
Box office ¥379 million (Japan)

When Marnie Was There, known as Omoide no Marnie (思い出のマーニー Omoide no Mānī?, , lit. "Marnie of My Memories") in Japan, is a 2014 Japanese anime film written and directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, produced by Studio Ghibli, and based on the novel "When Marnie Was There" by Joan G. Robinson.[1] It was released on July 19, 2014.[2]


The protagonist of the movie is a 12 year old girl named Anna, who lives with her foster mother in the city of Sapporo in Hokkaido, Japan. Due to the death of her parents when she was very young, she has closed off her heart to everyone, and lives thinking "There is a magical circle in this world that no one can see. There are those who are in the circle, and those on the outside. I'm on the outside. But I don't care about any of that because I hate myself." Constantly putting herself down like this put tremendous stress on her body, and causes her asthma to worsen, prompting her foster mother, Yoriko, to put her on a train and send her to live with her relatives in a small village on the shores of northern Hokkaido for the summer.

While recuperating there, she catches sight of a large, old house along the bay. "What is that house? It's like I've seen it before," she says to herself. According to the people in the village, it's called the Marsh House, and no one has lived in it for a long time. Regardless, she feels strangely drawn to it from the first time she lays eyes on it, to the point where she even begins to see the house in her dreams. Even stranger, those dreams always have her looking through the house's blue window, where she sees the figure of a mysterious blonde-haired girl who is closed off in her room.

One night, after causing a fight with one of the local middle-schoolers at a village festival, she runs away, and finds herself standing along the shore overlooking the Marsh House before she realizes it. Anna becomes even more filled with grief and sadness, thinking, "This is just how I am. Disagreeable, and unpleasant. I hate myself," and breaks down crying. But just then, the mysterious blonde-haired girl Anna sees in her dreams appears before her.

That girl's name is Marnie. Marnie is a beautiful, elegant young woman who Anna quickly takes a liking to, and the two begin to spend every day together. Marnie tells Anna, "The two of us are a secret, forever." To Anna, Marnie is the first person she can open up to, and is her sole reason to live, but at the same time, she finds that Marnie has intense pain and sadness of her own bottled up inside. So Anna proclaims "I want to help you, Marnie!" and in the midst of pouring rain and roaring thunder, the two head to the silo on the cliff to conquer Marnie's fear. But on the way there, Marnie suddenly vanishes into thin air.

Just who is Marnie? This final piece of the story is hidden away in the Marsh House. And what is the emotional truth Anna finally comes to grips with? Anna, a girl who lost herself, finds her soul healed by the beautiful scenery of Hokkaido and the love of Marnie. During the summer these two girls spend together, she forms unforgettable memories, and unexpectedly learns the meaning of "true love and friendship".



The film has grossed ¥379 million in Japan.[3]


  1. ^ "Ghibli Adapts Joan G. Robinson's When Marnie Was There Novel Into Anime". Anime News Network. 2013-12-12. Retrieved 2013-12-13. 
  2. ^ Kevin Ma (2013-12-13). "Studio Ghibli adapts Marnie for Summer 2014". Film Business Asia. Retrieved 2013-12-13. 
  3. ^ Kevin Ma (23 July 2014). "Pokemon defeats Ghibli at Japan box office". Film Business Asia. Retrieved 25 July 2014. 

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