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Studio Ghibli has been gearing up for the release of its next film, Omoide no Mani, a story about the friendship between a lonely orphan, Anna, and the rather otherworldly Marnie. With less than two months to wait – the film is due out in Japan on July 19 – a few more images have been revealed.

The above shot is also one of the film’s posters:

marnie poster

The next image was available a while ago already, but I don’t think I posted it before. For those who haven’t read the book that the Ghibli film is based on, this shot is a reminder that some of Marnie and Anna’s meetings take place at night.

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Here is the ethereal Marnie:marnie 16

The official Omoide no Mani webpage has also been updated with profiles for additional characters:

Anime News Network provides more details on the who’s-who:

Matsushima will voice Yoriko, the foster mother of one of the main leads, Anna. […] The film will also star […] Susumu Terajima as Kiyomasa Ōiwa who takes care of Anna, Toshie Negishi as Kiyomasa’s wife Setsu, Ryoko Moriyama as a grieving old woman, Kazuko Yoshiyuki as the staff member Baaya at the Marsh House where Anna lives, and Hitomi Kuroki as Hisako (the woman who paints a picture of the Marsh House).

The list is interesting as there seem to be some changes in comparison to the original novel, Joan D. Robinson’s When Marnie Was There, that the film is based on. These characters have different names (which was to be expected), but additionally there appears to be a shift in roles. Some characters also seem to be entirely new and others missing, at least for now. Yoriko, Anna’s foster mother, is Mrs. Preston in the original – no change there. She sends the girl to Norfolk, which becomes an island town in Hokkaido in the Ghibli adaptation, where Anna stays with the Peggs family. These are Kiyomasa and Setsu, although curiously the description (at least as Anime News Network phrases it) emphasises the husband, when in the novel it is Mrs. Peggs (Setsu) that plays the more important role, with Mr. Peggs (Kiyomasa) taking a backseat. Meanwhile, the characters of the Nanny, Hisako and the Elderly Lady seem to be additions or alterations of the original characters.

Missing entirely for now is the Lindsay family: mother, father and five children that move into the Marsh House in the second half of the story. It is particularly the children of the Lindsay family that are important here and although Anna’s encounter with them shifts the story somewhat away from Marnie into another direction (I am trying very hard to avoid spoilers here), it is a crucial turn for the girl. While it could be cut from the plot – or perhaps simplified by focusing only on the adults of the Lindsay family – it would be quite a pity to do so. The encounter only matters plotwise in terms of the resolution of the story through the Lindsay parents, but in terms of Anna as a person, it is the friendship with the children that leads to growth from a character that goes from being a total outsider to a girl that has a place in the world. Narratively, the friendship is filler-material, in real life, however, it is what I think the readers of When Marnie Was There cherished so much about this tale.

Fingers crossed then that Ghibli’s character list is thus still incomplete.

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