Book Review: The Art of The Secret World of Arrietty
The lush, full-color book presents the pre-production and production art in chronological order, ending with the Japanese theatrical poster. There are extensive quotes from director Yonebayashi, and shorter quotes from art directors Yoji Takeshige and Noboru Yoshida. The different preliminary character designs of the main character, 14-year-old Arrietty Clock, are especially interesting. Curiously, although many different looks for Arrietty were considered (including many that were overly similar to Studio Ghibli’s previous young heroines), she ended up looking very much as she does in Beth and Joe Krush’s 1952 illustrations for Norton’s novel. (So does Arrietty’s mother, Homily. Her father, Pod, looked very working-class English in the Krushs’ artwork, and looks more “international” in the film.)
The book concludes with the complete 37-page English-language voice-over script, as translated and adapted from the Japanese.
The Borrowers is a well-beloved book translated and published throughout the word, including in Japan. This high-quality and faithful movie version will not disappoint the novel’s fans. The profuse pre-production and production art, more extensive here than in many “making of” books, will be especially valuable to students of animated film-making.
Fred Patten has been a fan of animation since the first theatrical rerelease of Pinocchio (1945). He co-founded the first American fan club for Japanese anime in 1977, and was awarded the Comic-Con International's Inkpot Award in 1980 for introducing anime to American fandom. He began writing about anime for Animation World Magazine since its #5, August 1996. A major stroke in 2005 sidelined him for several years, but now he is back. He can be reached at email@example.com.