When Marnie Was There

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When Marnie Was There
Omiode no Marnie poster.jpg
Japanese 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
Distributed by Toho
Release dates
  • 19 July 2014 (2014-07-19)
Running time 103 minutes
Country Japan
Language Japanese
Box office ¥3.63 billion (Japan)

When Marnie Was There, known as Omoide no Marnie (思い出のマーニー lit. "Memories of Marnie"?) 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 19 July 2014.[2] It was the final film for Studio Ghibli before they announced that the film division is taking a short hiatus after the box office disappointment of The Tale of Princess Kaguya, and the retirement of Hayao Miyazaki a year before the film was released.[3]


The film opens to a 12-year-old girl named Anna, sitting alone on a park bench, sketching in incredible detail a scene of children playing on the playground equipment as part of a school assignment. Looking over and comparing herself to a group of girls laughing and talking amongst themselves on another bench while sketching the same assignment, she goes into a soliloquies, "There is a magical circle in this world that no one can see. Those girls are in the circle, and then there's me, on the outside. But I don't care about any of that. I hate myself," and begins to cough, goes into excruciating pain, then collapses.

She is then taken home, and is looked at by a doctor. A woman, Yoriko, reveals that Anna suffers from asthma and that she doesn’t have any friends because she is very quiet, and closed-off to others. Yoriko explains to the doctor that it seems like she doesn't know who Anna is anymore, because she used to be so happy and full of emotion, but is now always making the same, emotionless face. In order to help Anna, Yoriko decides it's best to put her on a train and send her away from the polluted air of her home city of Sapporo, to a small village on the shores of northern Hokkaido and have her stay with her relatives, Kiyomasa and Setsu for the summer.

Once there, they meet Anna at the station and drive her to their home, pointing out an old silo on a hill where it is rumored that ghosts come out at night. Upon getting there, she writes a postcard to Yoriko telling her that she arrived safely, and goes out to the post office to mail it. While out, she encounters a local girl and due to her closed-off nature, Anna runs away from her, ends up tripping down the stairs and landing on the shore of a bay. There, she sees a large, old manor on the other side of the bay, and feels strangely drawn to it. "What is that house? It's like I've seen it before," she says to herself as she takes off her shoes, walks through the shallow end of the water to the house and peers inside, to find out that the house is completely abandoned. Anna then dozes off and awakens several hours later to find that the tide has risen and she has no way of getting back, but then an old man comes along in a row boat and rows her back to shore. Halfway across, though, Anna sees all the lights in the house come on.

Back at their home, Anna tells Setsu and Kiyomasa about the house, and they tell her people in the village call it the Marsh House and that she couldn't have seen any lights, because no one has lived in it since the family of foreigners that used it as their villa left decades ago. That night, Anna has a dream where she is walking barefoot to the house across the shallow end of the water again, but is stopped by a heavy wave just close enough to see a mysterious blond-haired girl having her hair brushed by an old woman through the house's blue window. After sketching the house on the lake for a couple of days, Setsu wants her help running an errand at a friend's house. While there, Setsu's friend invites Anna to the neighborhood Tanabata festival, to which Setsu accepts, thinking that it would be good for her.

At the festival, that friend’s daughter, Nobuko, draws unwanted attention to Anna when she comments that eyes that have a slight blue tint to them, making her look like a foreigner. Anna calls the girl a "fat pig" and runs away from the festival, finding herself standing along the shore overlooking the Marsh House without realizing it. Anna becomes even more filled with grief and sadness, thinking, "This is just how I am. This is why I hate myself. This is why everyone hates me." She has a flashback to when she was many years younger, sitting alone in a chair with a doll in her arms as family members frantically tried to find someone to take care of her, but no one wanted her. But just as she breaks down crying from her intense emotional pain, she notices a row boat waiting for her with a lit candle in it. Finding this strange, she decides to take the boat out, but halfway across, the lights in the house come on, and the boat begins moving towards the house on its own, not responding to any of Anna's rowing. Suddenly, the mysterious blonde-haired girl Anna sees in her dreams runs out of the front gate to the dock, and shouts "toss me the rope!" At first, Anna isn't sure if the girl before her eyes is real or a dream, but the girl assures Anna that "this isn't a dream.” Eventually, Anna asks for her name, and she replies, "Marnie. I thought you knew." The two quickly become friends, going on moonlit picnics of cookies and tea while sharing secrets, and attending a formal dinner party hosted by Marnie's parents, all while promising to "keep the two of us a secret, forever."

Marnie, becomes the first person Anna can truly open up to, but one day Marnie and everything in the house simply disappears. Since Marnie is gone, Anna goes back to a life of sketching in solitude for a week, then comes across a woman named Hisako, who is painting Marnie's house on a hillside. She tells Anna that she will need to finish it quickly though, as a family is moving in and doing renovation work on the house. Startled, Anna runs to the house, and a young girl with glasses looks out from the blue window, calling out to her, "Are you Marnie?" The girl, Sayaka, explains that she found Marnie's diary in her room, and since Anna was always looking up at the room's window, assumed her to be Marnie. After Anna reads the 70+ year old diary, she realizes that everything she has been through with Marnie has been some kind of illusion because it's all written there word-for-word, from sneaking out at night, to the party. This convinces Sayaka that she's mistaken, and the two become friends as they try to find out what or who Marnie really is and what happened to her in the torn out pages at the end of the diary. One day, Marnie reappears before Anna, and while the two go mushroom picking in the forest, reveal their biggest secrets to each other: Anna came across a document in a desk drawer revealing that not only is Yoriko not Anna's real mother, she receives monthly payments in exchange for taking care of Anna. This is the real cause of her depression, as she feels that Yoriko doesn't love her, and wouldn't be taking care of her if she wasn't being paid.

Marnie comforts her, then reveals that she is extremely sad as her parents often leave for extended periods of time, so she’s all alone with the nanny who abuses her, keeping her locked in her room, brushing her hair so violently that it hurts. Her biggest fear is the silo on the hill, because of a time the nanny and the maids locked her up in it alone during a thunderstorm at night. Because of how much Marnie has helped her, Anna decides to help Marnie and the two head to the silo to conquer her fear, but Marnie suddenly vanishes on the way there. Anna finds Marnie in the top of the silo, shuddering in fear from the pouring rain and lightning crashing overhead. Marnie rushes to Anna and hugs her saying "Kazuhiko, Kazuhiko" over and over. Anna tries to get Marnie to leave, but she says she can't. She eventually vanishes again, leaving Anna upset that she was left in the pouring rain until she was feverish and collapsed on the side of the road, and Marnie didn't come to help her. Sayaka and her brother find her and get her back to Setsu's house where she recovers. A few days later, Sayaka comes over with the missing pages she found from the diary, describing the silo incident, and how Marnie's childhood friend Kazuhiko came to rescue her. Sayaka also has a painting she found that is signed "To Marnie, from Hisako." Recognizing the name, Anna and Sayaka show the diary to the old woman painting on the hill, asking for more information about Marnie.

Hisako then recalls how she and Marnie were best friends as children and were together all the time, until the silo incident. After Kazuhiko saved her, Marnie and Kazuhiko grew closer and eventually got married and had a daughter named Emily. Kazuhiko later passed away due to illness which drove Marnie to the point where she had to be put in a sanatorium. Emily was placed in a boarding school and raised there until she was 13 years old, when Marnie was well enough to leave, by which time Emily had become argumentative and selfish, eventually eloping with a man whose daughter she already bore. But one day, Emily and her husband were killed in a car accident, leaving their daughter in the care of Marnie, the girl's grandmother. Marnie desired to raise the girl with love, so she wouldn't experience the tragedy in their family, but passed away the next year due to her trauma, leaving the girl with no one until she was adopted. Anna later sees Marnie again through the window, and asks her why she betrayed her, and abandoned her in a time of need. Marnie responds "I couldn't help it. You weren't here when that happened." Marnie asks for Anna's forgiveness as she says goodbye, and Anna answers, "Of course I forgive you, because I love you!"

The movie concludes by Yoriko coming to get Anna at the end of summer, who's happy to see that Anna is doing much better and has managed to make friends with Sayaka. As the two catch up, she says how she was lonely and looking at old pictures while Anna was gone, and found an interesting old photo of the Marsh House that was taken by Anna's grandmother. Anna flips the photo over to find it signed "My favorite place. Marnie". Suddenly, the pieces come together and Anna recalls how when she was in pain as a two year old, her grandmother, Marnie took care of her and told her how, just as she made it through the silo, Anna could make it through her pain because she's her only grandchild. Anna says goodbye to everyone, telling Sayaka that she'll be back next summer and introduces Hisako to her foster mother, calling her "Mom" instead of "my guardian" for the first time in a very long time, and tells Hisako that she "has a wonderful announcement" to make once she gets home. As she's driven away back to Sapporo, she looks back to see Marnie waving at her from the house's blue window before vanishing one last time, never to be seen again. But she is not completely gone. She has left Anna with a sketch of her, wonderful summer memories, and a new found understanding of the meaning of love and friendship.


  • Sara Takatsuki (高月彩良 Takatsuki Sara) as Anna Sasaki (佐々木杏奈 Sasaki Anna)
  • Kasumi Arimura (有村架純 Arimura Kasumi) as Marnie (マーニー Mānī)
  • Hana Sugisaki (杉咲花 Sugisaki Hana) as Sayaka (彩香)[4]
  • Hitomi Kuroki (黒木瞳 Kuroki Hitomi) as Hisako (久子)
  • Ryoko Moriyama (森山良子 Moriyama Ryoko) as Elderly Lady (老婦人 Roufujin)
  • Nanako Matsushima (寺島進 Matsushima Nanako) as Yoriko Sasaki (佐々木頼子 Sasaki Yoriko)
  • Susumu Terajima (根岸季衣 Terajima Susumu) as Kiyomasa Oiwa (大岩清正 Oiwa Kiyomasa)
  • Toshie Negishi (根岸季衣 Negishi Toshie) as Setsu Oiwa (大岩セツ Oiwa Setsu)
  • Kazuko Yoshiyuki (吉行和子 Yoshiyuki Kazuko) as Nanny (ばあや Baaya)
  • Ken Yasuda (安田顕 Yasuda Ken) as Toichi (十一)
  • Yo Oizumi (大泉洋 Oizumi Yo) as Doctor Yamashita (山下医師 Yamashita Ishi)
  • Takuma Otoo (音尾琢真 Otoo Takuma) as Neighborhood Association Officer (町内会役員 Chounaikai Yakuin)
  • Hiroyuki Morisaki (森崎博之 Moriyuki Hirosaki) as Art Teacher (美術教師 Bijutsu Kyoushi)


Fine on the Outside[edit]

"Fine on the Outside"
Single by Priscilla Ahn
Released July 2, 2014 (2014-07-02)
Format CD Single/Digital download
Genre Folk/Pop
Length 11:43
Label Yamaha Music Communications
Writer(s) Priscilla Ahn

"Fine on the Outside" is a single by American recording artist and musician Priscilla Ahn. It features the title song, "Fine on the Outside", the theme song of the 2014 Ghibli movie, "When Marnie was There",[5] as well as "This Old House", the theme song of the "When Marnie Was There x Yohei Taneda Exhibition" that was held at the Edo-Tokyo Museum from July 27, 2014 to September 15, 2014.[6][7]


Priscilla Ahn grew up as a girl who was friendless and alone, and so turned to music, movies, books, and her guitar as her only friends. She describes how she "would literally sit on my bed and look out the window at night at the moon, and wonder if I was loved... if anyone would miss me if I was gone." This led her to writing "Fine on the Outside" in 2005, but she had never released it due to the lyrics being too personal, open, and vulnerable, and because she didn't want to have to change the song in any way to make it fit in with her other albums. As a big fan of Ghibli, she read the original novel "When Marnie was There" after the announcement they were working on a movie adaptation, immediately saw herself in Anna, and eventually decided to submit the song to Ghibli. The movie's producer Yoshiaki Nishimura contacted her soon afterwards saying how much he loved the song, and it was later officially chosen as the theme song.[8]


It was released in Japan as a CD single and a digital single on July 2, 2014.[9]

Track listings[edit]

  1. "Fine on the Outside" – 4:12
  2. "This Old House" – 3:19
  3. "Fine on the Outside (Original Karaoke)" – 4:12

Just Know That I Love You[edit]

Just Know That I Love You
Studio album by Priscilla Ahn
Released July 16, 2014 (2014-07-16)
Genre Folk/Pop
Length 36:00
Label Yamaha Music Communications

"Just Know That I Love You", known as Anata no Koto ga Daisuki (あなたのことが大すき , lit. "I Love You"?) in Japan, is an album by American recording artist and musician Priscilla Ahn. It features theme songs, "Fine on the Outside" and "This Old House" that were featured on her previous single, as well as other "When Marnie Was There"-inspired songs written by Ahn.[10]


It was released on CD in Japan, and in 113 countries worldwide (including Japan) as a digital download on the iTunes Store on July 16, 2014.[11]

Track listings[edit]

  1. "Fine on the Outside" – 4:12
  2. "Deep Inside My Heart" – 3:43
  3. "Pretty Dress" – 2:23
  4. "I See You" – 3:58
  5. "Marnie" – 3:07
  6. "This Old House" – 3:18
  7. "With You" – 3:45
  8. "You're A Star" – 3:45
  9. "Waltzing Memories" – 3:31
  10. "I Am Not Alone" – 4:12

When Marnie Was There Soundtrack Music Collection[edit]

When Marnie Was There Soundtrack Music Collection
Soundtrack album by Takatsugu Muramatsu
Released July 16, 2014 (2014-07-16)
Genre Soundtrack
Length 1:11:18
Label Studio Ghibli Records/Tokuma Japan Communications

"When Marnie Was There Soundtrack Music Collection", known as Omoide no Marnie Santora Ongaku Shuu (思い出のマーニーサントラ音楽集?) in Japan, is a two-disc soundtrack and image song album that was released on CD in Japan and in 113 countries worldwide (including Japan) as a digital download on the iTunes Store on July 16, 2014.[12] The first "Image Song" disc features music composed to express the personality of the characters and feel of places in the film. The second disc features all the background music for the film, as well as its ending theme song, "Fine On The Outside".

Track listings[edit]

Disc 1[edit]
No. Title Length
1. "'The Oiwa Home' (大岩さんの家 Oiwa-san no Ie?)"   3:36
2. "High Tide, Low Tide (潮の満ち引き Shio no Michihiki?)"   3:43
3. "Anna (杏奈?)"   3:38
4. "Marnie (マーニー?)"   4:37
5. "Sayaka's Dream (彩香の夢 Sayaka no Yume?)"   2:23
6. "Anna (Piano Version) (杏奈(ピアノバージョン)?)"   3:54
Total length:
Disc 2[edit]
No. Title Length
1. "'An Ordinary Face' (「普通の顔」 'Futsuu no Kao'?)"   1:40
2. "Anna's Journey (杏奈の旅立ち Anna no Tabidatsu?)"   1:42
3. "Off to the Post Office (ハガキを出しに Hagaki wo Dashi ni?)"   2:00
4. "The Marsh House (しめっち屋敷 Shimecchi Yashiki?)"   2:09
5. "'The Light is On!' (「明かりがついてる!」 'Akari ga Tsuiteru!'?)"   0:23
6. "The Girl in the Blue Window (青い窓の少女 Aoi Mado no Shoujo?)"   0:57
7. "Sketching on the Boat (ボートの上でスケッチ Boat no Ue de Sketch?)"   0:43
8. "The Girl Stood Up! (少女は立ち上がった! Shoujo wa Tachiagatta!?)"   0:39
9. "'Like Just What I Am' (「わたしはわたしのとおり」 Watashi wa Watashi no Toori?)"   0:59
10. "When I Held a Doll (人形を抱いていた頃 Ningyou wo Daiteita Koro?)"   0:47
11. "'It's Not a Dream!' (「夢じゃないわ!」 'Yume Janai Wa!'?)"   3:25
12. "The Two on the Boat (ボートの上の2人 Boat no Ue no Futari?)"   1:47
13. "Three Questions Each (質問は3つずつ Shitsumon wa Mitsu Zutsu?)"   1:14
14. "The Party (パーティ会場 Party Kaijou?)"   1:45
15. "Kazuhiko and Marnie Dance (和彦とマーニーのダンス Kazuhiko to Marnie no Dance?)"   2:22
16. "'Let's Dance, You and I!' (「あたしたちも踊りましょう!」 'Watashitachi mo Odorimashou!'?)"   1:57
17. "While Cutting Tomatoes (トマトを切りながら Tomato wo Kirinagara?)"   1:14
18. "Hisako's Painting (久子の絵 Hisako no E?)"   0:37
19. "The Blue Diary (青い日記 Aoi Nikki?)"   2:43
20. "The Mushroom Forest (キノコの森 Kinoko no Mori?)"   1:21
21. "The Two Confess (2人の告白 Futari no Kokuhaku?)"   3:38
22. "'It's Like We Traded Places!' (「入れ変わっちゃったみたい!」 'Irekawacchatta Mitai!'?)"   0:57
23. "Anna Runs in the Storm (杏奈、嵐の中を走る Anaa, Arashi no Naka wo Hashiru?)"   0:46
24. "A Final Wish (最後のお願い Saigo no Onegai?)"   2:52
25. "Hisako's Story 1 (久子の話1 Hisako no Hanashi 1?)"   3:13
26. "Hisako's Story 2 (久子の話2 Hisako no Hanashi 2?)"   1:26
27. "When Marnie Was There (思い出のマーニー Omoide no Marnie?)"   1:58
28. "Fine On The Outside" (Words and music written by Priscilla Ahn) 4:14
Total length:


The film opened at third place, grossing ¥379 million during its opening weekend in Japan.[13] By its fourth weekend, it had earned¥2.08 billion,[14] made an additional ¥930 million in its next two weekends,[15] and had a total of ¥3.63 billion by its eighth weekend.[16]


  1. ^ "Ghibli Adapts Joan G. Robinson's When Marnie Was There Novel Into Anime". Anime News Network. 12 December 2013. Retrieved 2013-12-13. 
  2. ^ Kevin Ma (12 December 2013). "Studio Ghibli adapts Marnie for Summer 2014". Film Business Asia. Retrieved 2013-12-13. 
  3. ^ O'Brien, Lucy (3 August 2014). "Studio Ghibli May No Longer Be Making Feature Films". IGN. Retrieved 2014-08-05. 
  4. ^ "The "Twice-Cooked Pork Girl" plays the role of Sayaka, the glasses-wearing third heroine in Ghibli's latest work, "When Marnie was There"" (in Japanese). 2 August 2014. Retrieved 2014-08-20. 
  5. ^ "Amazon.co.jp: Fine On The Outside "When Marnie Was There" Theme Song [Single, Maxi]" (in Japanese). Retrieved August 20, 2014. 
  6. ^ "YAMAHA MUSIC COMMUNICATIONS Co., LTD. | あなたのことが大すき。/プリシラ・アーン (Priscilla Ahn)" (in Japanese). Retrieved August 20, 2014. 
  7. ^ "思い出のマーニー×種田陽平展" (in Japanese). Retrieved August 20, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Girl In A Tree: Fine On The Outside + Movie Release!!!". July 18, 2014. Retrieved August 20, 2014. 
  9. ^ "iTunes - ミュージック - プリシラ・アーン「Fine On The Outside - Single」" (in Japanese). iTunes. July 2, 2014. Retrieved August 20, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Priscilla Ahn's Latest Album Includes When Marnie Was There Theme". Anime News Network. July 31, 2014. Retrieved August 20, 2014. 
  11. ^ "iTunes - Music - Just Know That I Love You. by Priscilla Ahn". iTunes. July 16, 2014. Retrieved August 20, 2014. 
  12. ^ "iTunes - Music - When Marnie Was There (Soundtrack Music Album) by Takatsugu Muramatsu". iTunes. July 16, 2014. Retrieved September 8, 2014. 
  13. ^ Kevin Ma (July 23, 2014). "Pokemon defeats Ghibli at Japan box office". Film Business Asia. Retrieved July 25, 2014. 
  14. ^ Kevin Ma (August 12, 2014). "Doraemon defeats Transformers in Japan". Film Business Asia. Retrieved August 20, 2014. 
  15. ^ Kevin Ma (August 26, 2014). "Doraemon wins round three in Japan". Film Business Asia. Retrieved August 27, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Japanese Box Office, September 6-7". Anime News Network. September 14, 2014. Retrieved September 21, 2014. 

External links[edit]