When Marnie Was There G-View: Part 2 (Spoiler Warning)

Welcome to part 2 of the When Marnie Was There G-View. As previously mentioned this review will contain massive spoilers on the movie’s events, especially the relationship between Anna and Marnie. You have been warned.

Check out the part 1 review down below and watch the movie before coming back here unless readers had already seen it.

268th G-View: When Marnie Was There

When Marnie Was There

Let’s go through the topics I want to discuss one at a time.

Marnie and the moon

1: Is Marnie a ghost?

Marnie is not a ghost. She is a being created using Anna’s subconscious memories of the stories told to her by her grandmother about Marnie and her mansion. Hence every time Anna and “Marnie” interact it is within Anna’s dreams. That’s why I refer to this Marnie as Dream Marnie. After all, Subconscious Construct Marnie is a mouthful.

Anna and Marnie running

2: What kind of person is Dream Marnie?

As mentioned she is a construct of the deepest memories inside Anna’s mind. She is a combination of the stories Granny Marnie told Anna about the girl and her life at the mansion before moving away and based on said tales Anna’s mind created a world and Marnie she would imagine the blonde girl would look, act and sound like based on Granny’s tales and pictures that she saw when she was very young. Because it happened such a long time ago her memories of those tales were quite vague. It was not until Anna saw Marnie’s mansion that the deeply buried memories began surfacing, creating the dream world and Dream Marnie.

3: Anna’s journey.

A 12 year old girl whose parents died in an accident when she was very young, who also found out her guardians were being subsidized to take care of her, leading to her seeing herself as a burden and blaming them for not telling her, thus seeing their parental love for her as forced. She’s also upset at her parents for having been taken away from her too soon. This led to her self-loathing and being seen as different in a bad way and wanted to be left alone even when people around her were not being mean. Her encounter with Marnie changed that as through her she learned to open herself more to others because she finally found someone she could relate to. Even if her trust were to be somehow betrayed she had Marnie to go back to. Speaking of…


Image source: http://akinta79.deviantart.com/art/When-Marnie-Was-There-520723951

4: Is the movie yurirific?

As mentioned in part 1 it is as long as the viewer paid attention and here is why. All of Dream Marnie’s actions were based on the bits of story Granny Marnie told her about the blonde girl, who Anna had long forgotten was her grandmother at a young age. Basically every time Dream Marnie spoke to Anna it was a legitimate conversation between two girls occurring in a new reality crafted by Anna’s mind. The events that transpired were based on Anna’s memories slowly coming together after getting a hint in the real world. However, the dialogue between the girls, completely original and out of Anna’s control.

My point is that Anna’s first crush, heck love, was another girl. The bond the two shared grew stronger than best friends in time. Dream Marnie went from daisuki to aishiteru and Anna’s longing to be with the blonde girl went beyond friendship. Some would argue it was dormant memories of how much she cared about her grandmother, but at best Anna mentioned her grandma and that was it. The same went for the Kazuhiko arguments. He was in the Dream World solely because Granny Marnie mentioned a guy. She initially saw as a pest. The second time during the silo scene when Dream Marnie called out his name and later when she left Anna behind with his silhouette, the only thing in Anna’s mind was Marnie abandoning her. She did not acknowledge his presence at all. Oh and this happened before Sayako showed her the missing pages of Granny Marnie’s diary and Hisako told them the very sad tale of Marnie. Also notice the events of the dream world and Hisako’s tale have glaring differences, a huge one being Granny Marnie never attended her parents’ parties like Dream Marnie did.

Takako and Runa

To explain it in a simpler sense, think of Anna’s adventure and love story as a combination of the movie Inception, something similar to Final Fantasy X’s “Dreamscape” and…I cannot believe I am bringing this up, Runa Houraisen’s initial infatuation with Takako before meeting her face to face was based on the stories Rena told her…oh and also because she wanted to conquer a woman her supreme onee-sama let get away but that is unrelated to the subject matter.

In short: 1/3 Inception, 1/3 Final Fantasy X, 1/3 A Kiss For The Petals 7.

5: Anna’s open ending.

The mystery of the blonde girl and mansion are solved but other than Anna patching things up with a chubby girl and her worrywart guardian mom, Anna’s future is unknown. This gives strong emphasis to the fourth point. Who knows? The next person Anna has a crush on could once again be female. Something to consider.

If nothing else, the Japanese mainstream threw a tantrum over the movie’s lesbian undertones.

And that’s it. That’s how I saw the movie’s focal points and its main relationship.

For another fan of the movie’s opinion on these topics check out Yuri Canon’s analysis, or as she calls it, rant.

And here is yet another lovely lady who shares the same opinion, Dr Animeniac.

About OG-Man

Yuri and Slice of Life are my anime passion.
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8 Responses to When Marnie Was There G-View: Part 2 (Spoiler Warning)

  1. Pingback: 268th G-View: When Marnie Was There | The Yuri Nation

  2. NemoPrime says:

    Ok, well after reading both this and Yuri Canon’s review, I can safely say that I must’ve misinterpreted what I read about this movie’s controversy.


  3. bcy says:

    Although I agree with your review, there’s, at least to me, one glaring flaw in the movie: the MC’s first crush was shown to be an illusion that didn’t liked the MC for being herself but only because she took the place of a boy. I find it hard to get from it another message than: “you damn lesbos, stop thinking you can fool young girls into thinking you’re like a man, and moreover your love isn’t even real”. It would have been easy not to give such an impression by having the disillusionment less harsh (it basically was “lol, the pseudo ghost you created never liked you, it was someone else!”) and having the ending a bit more open ended. As it stands, this movie feels like almost every other Ghibli about becoming an adult, but this time, the message is what the japanese society tells to young girls about what is homo- and bi-sexuality, that is, mere transient feelings before the real deal.

    Liked by 1 person

    • KueKyuuQ says:

      Hnn… imo, it was Anna who -albeit subconsciously- decided to take the place of the boy (aka gender doesn’t make the rules). Also dreamMarnie never told Anna who or what to be, and ‘cept where Anna’s story and her memories started to merge, dM did know and accept Anna as a girl.
      I was half-expecting the aunt to tell the uncle to not cut Anna’s hair, because she should let it grow out for “pretty”-reasons; hence I was delighted that trope wasn’t used and how clearly these two accepted Anna’s tomboyant style and everything else about her.

      Coming to terms with your sexuality is or can be a bigger part of growing up. If that was really what Ghibli was aiming at (though I could argue that the point of the movie was an even more ambiguous one), then in my opinion it did a fairly good job:
      Anna was never judged, except by herself (and that chubby girl’s protective mom) – heck, Sayaka didn’t even flinch about Anna sharing she made up an imaginary friend.
      When Anna’s memories caught up with her construct and dMarnie was forced to get back on track with her own story, Anna was left to return to her life too, but with a much more open mind than she started off with; now capable of dealing with her emotions, her own losses and capable of embracing everything good in her life as well. Anna accepted herself and her fairwell with Marnie was a heartfelt promise, to never forget, to always be strong and to always be true to yourself (cue sunshine and rainbows, the storm is over).
      Her journey isn’t over yet, but now she’s ready to take it on.
      They waved at each another one last time, but it was more of a good-bye to the idea of dMarnie rather than her experience with her – which I felt was made clear during Anna’s last talk with Sayaka. She’s never going to forget, she learned from it, gained experience that already helped her find a friend…
      I don’t feel, that anywhere in the movie there was any judgemental implication against homosexuality. Although the other girls around her kept fussing about their presumably male love interests. If anything that only added to Anna feeling as the odd one out (on top of her eye color), yet Anna never gave her infatuation with Marnie a second thought. It just felt right to her and the movie never negated that notion (for/from Anna’s POV).

      That said, I don’t agree that there is only one interpretation of the movie and its ending. That “gay is only cute when you’re young, but make sure to grow out of it” message you speak of – I didn’t see it. If you want to read that into it, well, sure you can. And that may be Japanese society’s main standpoint on the matter. But in this movie, I can’t find any tangible hint supporting that.

      Liked by 2 people

      • bcy says:

        You do bring interesting points. To be fair, I didn’t spend much time thinking about this movie as I found its conclusion to be disappointing – regardless of what I said earlier – when compared to how it began and how exciting the mystery surrounding Marnie sounded.

        Liked by 1 person

      • OG-Man says:

        I should have added that part where the girls were yammering about boys. Anna’s response was both a mix of her still introverted self and lack of interest in the topic. Oh well. To me that was just a “girls talking about boys” moment. The important part of the scene was Anna lashing out at the chubby girl.


  4. DrAnimaniac says:

    You already know my thoughts on this, so I can completely agree with both yours and Yuri Cannons reviews and they mirror my own feelings. Ultimately, this was a great movie and we don’t need cannon kisses or whatever to interpret the movie as we have. It’s more so just a shame they missed out on a groundbreaking opportunity, but considering Japan’s view on homosexuality, it’s not hard to understand why they didn’t take it. Great review, thanks for this.

    Liked by 1 person

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