When Marnie Was There

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When Marnie Was There
When Marnie Was There.png
Japanese theatrical release poster
Japanese 思い出のマーニー
Hepburn Omoide no Mānī
Literally Marnie of [my] Memories
Directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi
Produced by Yoshiaki Nishimura
Screenplay by
Based on When Marnie Was There
by Joan G. Robinson
Music by Takatsugu Muramatsu
Cinematography Atsushi Okuo
Edited by Rie Matsubara
Distributed by Toho
Release date
  • 19 July 2014 (2014-07-19)
Running time
103 minutes[1]
Country Japan
Language Japanese
Budget ¥1.15 billion
(US$10.5 million)
Box office ¥3.85 billion
(US$34.1 million)[2]

When Marnie Was There (Japanese: 思い出のマーニー, Hepburn: Omoide no Mānī, "Marnie of [My] Memories") is a 2014 Japanese anime drama film written and directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, animated by Studio Ghibli for the Nippon Television Network, Dentsu, Hakuhodo DY Media Partners, Walt Disney Japan, Mitsubishi, Toho and KDDI, and distributed by Toho. It is based on Joan G. Robinson's novel of the same name, although it transposes the setting from Norfolk, United Kingdom in the original novel to Hokkaido, Japan.[3][4]

The film follows Anna Sasaki living with her relatives in the seaside town. Anna comes across a nearby abandoned mansion, where she meets Marnie, a mysterious girl who asks her to promise to keep their secrets from everyone. As the summer progresses, Anna spends more time with Marnie, and eventually Anna learns the truth about her family and foster care.

It was the final film for Studio Ghibli, before they announced that its division would take a short hiatus after The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, and the retirement of Hayao Miyazaki a year before the film was released.[5] The film featured the final work for Studio Ghibli animator Makiko Futaki, who died in May 2016.[6] It was also the final film that Yonebayashi directed for Ghibli before he decided to quit the studio. The film was released in theatres on 19 July 2014,[7] and on Blu-ray and DVD in Japan on 18 March 2015.[8] It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature at the 88th Academy Awards.

Places such as Sapporo were part of the film.
The old silo that appears in the film is based on Burnham Overy Staithe Windmill.


Anna Sasaki is an introverted 12-year-old girl living in Sapporo with foster parents, Yoriko and her husband. One day at school, she collapses from an asthma attack. Yoriko discusses with Anna’s doctor about her recently withdrawn attitude and her parents decide to send her to spend the summer with Setsu and Kiyomasa Oiwa, relatives of Yoriko, in a rural, seaside town where the air is clear, located between Kushiro and Nemuro.

Anna sees an abandoned mansion across a salt marsh and goes to investigate it. She looks around, finding it familiar, but gets trapped there by the rising tide until she is found by Toichi, a taciturn old fisherman, who brings her back to the pier with his rowboat. When she returns to the Oiwa's, Setsu tells her that the mansion used to be a vacation home for some foreigners, but that it has been empty for a long time. Starting that night, Anna dreams of seeing a blonde girl in the mansion.

On the night of the Tanabata festival, Anna gets into an argument and runs away to the mansion across the marsh where she meets Marnie, the blonde girl. The two agree to keep their meeting secret and they meet again on the next evening. Marnie invites Anna to a party at the mansion, filled with guests. Marnie disguises Anna to get her into the party. While there, Anna sees Marnie dancing with a boy named Kazuhiko. Later, some townspeople find Anna asleep by the post office. The next day, Anna returns to the mansion, but it appears abandoned and dilapidated again.

One week later, while sitting on the shore sketching, Anna meets Hisako, an older woman who paints pictures of the marsh and the mansion. Hisako comments that Anna's sketches look like a girl whom she knew when she was young, and who used to live in the mansion. She also tells Anna that the mansion is being renovated for new owners. Anna runs to the mansion, where she meets a girl named Sayaka, who discovers Marnie's diary hidden in a drawer.

The next day, Marnie reappears and the two girls discuss their home lives. Anna admits to finding government documents that show how her foster parents are paid to take care of her. Anna makes the assumption that they only pretend to love her for the money. Marnie then shares with Anna how her parents are always traveling abroad, how they leave her in the mansion with her nanny and two maids, and how they abuse her physically and psychologically, threatening to lock her in the silo near the mansion. Anna leads Marnie to the silo, where she helps her confront her fear. Anna wakes up at the stairway, only to find Marnie gone.

Meanwhile, Sayaka finds the missing pages from Marnie's diary, which include passages about Kazuhiko and the nearby abandoned silo. Sayaka and her brother find Anna unconscious and bring her back to her relatives' house. While in her feverish state, Anna dreams about confronting Marnie, who tells Anna she is sorry for leaving her and that she cannot see Anna anymore.

When Anna recovers from her fever, Sayaka shows her the missing pages and a painting Hisako gave to Marnie. They converse with Hisako who tells them about Marnie's story: Marnie was neglected by her parents, as they always leave her in the care of the nanny and two maids. Marnie married Kazuhiko and they had a daughter named Emily. Kazuhiko became sick and died then Marnie was committed to a sanatorium to recover from the psychiatric effect of his death. Emily was sent to boarding school since Marnie's parents had also died and had no one to look after Emily. After Marnie was released and Emily came back from boarding school at the age of 13, Emily blamed Marnie for abandoning her. Emily ran away and had a daughter herself, but she and her husband were killed in a car accident when their daughter was one year old. Marnie raised her granddaughter, who was placed in foster care after her death.

At the end of the summer Yoriko goes to the town to take Anna home. She gives Anna a photograph of the mansion and says it belonged to Anna's grandmother. When Anna sees Marnie's name written on the back, she realizes that she is Emily's daughter and Marnie's granddaughter. This revelation helps to bring Anna closure about her identity. Yoriko also tells Anna about the government payments for her care and reassures her that whether they receive them or not does not change what they feel about her. However, Anna admits she knew about the payments but now no longer cares about them. For the first time Anna calls Yoriko her mother instead of her aunt. During the end credits Anna says goodbye to the friends she met in town, before seeing Marnie in the mansion waving goodbye to her, as Yoriko drives Anna back home.

Voice cast[edit]

Character Japanese cast English dub cast[9]
Anna Sasaki Sara Takatsuki[10] Hailee Steinfeld
Marnie Kasumi Arimura[10] Kiernan Shipka
Taylor Autumn Bertman (young)
Sayaka Hana Sugisaki[11] Ava Acres
Hisako Hitomi Kuroki[10] Vanessa Williams
Mila Brener (young)
Elderly Lady Ryoko Moriyama[10] Catherine O'Hara
Yoriko Sasaki Nanako Matsushima[10] Geena Davis
Kiyomasa Oiwa Susumu Terajima[10] John C. Reilly
Setsu Oiwa Toshie Negishi[10] Grey Griffin
Nanny Kazuko Yoshiyuki[10] Ellen Burstyn
Tōichi Ken Yasuda[ja] Fred Tatasciore
Mrs. Kadoya N/A Kathy Bates
Nobuko Kadoya Akiko Yoritsune Raini Rodriguez
Doctor Yamashita Yo Oizumi Bob Bergen
Neighborhood Association Officer Takuma Otoo[ja] N/A
Art Teacher Hiroyuki Morisaki[ja] N/A


When Marnie Was There Soundtrack Music Collection
Soundtrack album by Takatsugu Muramatsu
Released 16 July 2014 (2014-07-16)
Genre Soundtrack
Length 1:11:18
Label Studio Ghibli Records
Tokuma Japan Communications
Singles from When Marnie Was There Soundtrack Music Collection
  1. "Fine on the Outside"
    Released: 2 July 2014

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 16 July 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. Priscilla Ahn, the writer and performer of the movie's theme song, "Fine on the Outside", also released an accompanying album to the film called Just Know That I Love You on 16 July 2014.

Track listing[edit]


When Marnie Was There was released in Japan on 19 July 2014. On 14 January 2015, GKIDS announced that they would be distributing the film for a North American release.[13] The film premièred at the New York International Children's Film Festival on 27 February 2015.[14] The film had its UK premiere during the BFI London Film Festival on 10 October 2015 with a wider release scheduled for 10 June 2016.[15]

The film was released on Blu-ray and DVD in Japan on 18 March 2015,[16] and released on Blu-ray and DVD in America by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment on 6 October 2015.[17]


Box office[edit]

When Marnie Was There opened at third place, grossing ¥379 million during its opening weekend in Japan.[18] By its fourth weekend, it had earned ¥2.08 billion,[19] made an additional ¥930 million in its next two weekends,[20] and had a total of ¥3.63 billion by its eighth weekend.[21] In North America, the film had grossed US$186,844 by its third weekend.[22]

Book sales[edit]

Following the success of the film, Robinson's original novel experienced a boost in sales internationally. Her agent Caroline Sheldon sold the rights of the book to 10 countries, including Japan, Italy, Spain and China. The book was also re-released in English by HarperCollins Children's Books as part of its classics range.[23]

Critical response[edit]

When Marnie Was There received positive reviews. On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes the film has a rating of 91%, based on 91 reviews, with an average of 7.5/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "When Marnie Was There is still blessed with enough visual and narrative beauty to recommend, even if it isn't quite as magical as Studio Ghibli's greatest works."[24] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 72 out of 100, based on 22 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[25]


Year Award Category Recipient(s) Results Ref(s)
2015 Japan Academy Prize Japan Academy Prize for Animation of the Year Nominated [26]
Chicago International Children's Film Festival Best Animated Feature Film Won [27]
Asia Pacific Screen Awards Best Animated Feature Film Nominated [28]
2016 Annie Awards Best Animated Feature — Independent Nominated [29]
Directing in an Animated Feature Production Hiromasa Yonebayashi Nominated
Writing in a Feature Production Keiko Niwa, Masashi Ando and Hiromasa Yonebayashi Nominated
Academy Awards Best Animated Feature Nominated [30]
Saturn Awards Best Animated Film Nominated [31]


  1. ^ "WHEN MARNIE WAS THERE [Japanese subtitled version] (U)". British Board of Film Classification. 15 January 2016. Retrieved 15 January 2016. 
  2. ^ "When Marnie Was There - International Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. 31 January 2016. Retrieved 29 February 2016. 
  3. ^ Loo, Egan (12 December 2013). "Ghibli Adapts Joan G. Robinson's When Marnie Was There Novel Into Anime". Anime News Network. Retrieved 13 December 2013. 
  4. ^ Osmond, Andrew (17 May 2016). "Original When Marnie Was There Novel Int'l Sales Boost". Anime News Network. Retrieved 17 May 2016. 
  5. ^ O'Brien, Lucy (3 August 2014). "Studio Ghibli May No Longer Be Making Feature Films". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved 5 August 2014. 
  6. ^ Blair, Gavin J. (29 May 2016). "Makiko Futaki, 'Akira' and Studio Ghibli Animator, Dies at 57". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 12 June 2016. 
  7. ^ Ma, Kevin (12 December 2013). "Studio Ghibli adapts Marnie for Summer 2014". Film Business Asia. Archived from the original on 1 September 2014. Retrieved 13 December 2013. 
  8. ^ "映画『思い出のマーニー』2015年3月18日(水)ブルーレイディスク&DVD発売決定!". When Marie Was There official website. Studio Ghibli. Retrieved 17 December 2014. 
  9. ^ Fischer, Russ (5 March 2015). "Hailee Steinfeld Leads When Marnie Was There English-Language Cast". /Film. Retrieved 5 March 2015. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h 思い出のマーニー [Characters]. When Marnie Was There official website (in Japanese). Studio Ghibli. Retrieved 19 July 2015. 
  11. ^ "「思い出のマーニー」に第3のヒロイン メガネの少女・彩香を演じたのは"回鍋肉の子"" [The "Twice-Cooked Pork Girl" plays the role of Sayaka, the glasses-wearing third heroine in Ghibli's latest work, "When Marnie was There"]. Eiga.com (in Japanese). 2 August 2014. Retrieved 20 August 2014. 
  12. ^ Muramatsu, Takatsugu (16 July 2014). "When Marnie Was There (Soundtrack Music Album)". iTunes. Apple Inc. Retrieved 8 September 2014. 
  13. ^ Millions, Cole (23 January 2015). "GKIDS to Release Studio Ghibli's 'When Marnie Was There' in North America". Rotoscopers. Retrieved 3 February 2015. 
  14. ^ Loveridge, Lynzee (28 January 2015). "Ghibli's When Marnie Was There Gets N. American Premiere in NYC". Anime News Network. Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  15. ^ "When Marnie Was There". Optimum Releasing. Archived from the original on 15 February 2016. Retrieved 11 February 2016. 
  16. ^ Beveridge, Chris (18 December 2014). "Disney Japan Sets 'When Marnie Was There' English Subtitled Anime DVD/BD Release". The Fandom Post. Archived from the original on 7 June 2015. Retrieved 22 May 2015. 
  17. ^ "When Marnie Was There (Blu-ray + DVD)". Amazon. Retrieved 11 February 2016. 
  18. ^ Ma, Kevin (23 July 2014). "Pokemon defeats Ghibli at Japan box office". Film Business Asia. Retrieved 25 July 2014. 
  19. ^ Ma, Kevin (12 August 2014). "Doraemon defeats Transformers in Japan". Film Business Asia. Retrieved 20 August 2014. 
  20. ^ Ma, Kevin (26 August 2014). "Doraemon wins round three in Japan". Film Business Asia. Retrieved 27 August 2014. 
  21. ^ Ressler, Karen (14 September 2014). "Japanese Box Office, September 6–7". Anime News Network. Retrieved 21 September 2014. 
  22. ^ Sherman, Jennifer (13 June 2015). "Ghibli's When Marnie Was There Earns US$77,452 in 3rd U.S. Weekend". Anime News Network. Retrieved 16 June 2015. 
  23. ^ Eyre, Charlotte (16 May 2016). "Robinson novel gets sales boost following Japanese animation". The Bookseller. Bookseller Media. Retrieved 16 May 2016. 
  24. ^ "When Marnie Was There (2015)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 13 April 2018. 
  25. ^ "When Marnie Was There Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 28 May 2015. 
  26. ^ Sherman, Jennifer (27 February 2015). "Stand By Me Doraemon, Rurouni Kenshin Win Japan Academy Prizes". Anime News Network. Retrieved 13 April 2018. 
  27. ^ Pineda, Rafael Antonio (7 November 2015). "When Marnie Was There Wins Chicago Int'l Children Film Festival Prize". Anime News Network. Retrieved 13 April 2018. 
  28. ^ Ressler, Karen (26 November 2015). "Miss Hokusai Wins Asia Pacific Screen Awards' Best Animated Feature". Anime News Network. 
  29. ^ "43RD ANNUAL ANNIE AWARDS NOMINEES". Annie Awards. ASIFA-Hollywood. 1 December 2015. Archived from the original on 3 December 2015. Retrieved 13 April 2018. 
  30. ^ Donnelly, Jim (14 January 2016). "Best Animated Feature Film Nominations 2016 Oscars". Oscars.org. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 13 April 2018. 
  31. ^ "The 42nd Annual Saturn Awards nominations are announced for 2016!". Saturn Awards. Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films. 24 February 2016. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 4 March 2016. 

External links[edit]