Ponyo (Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea) / Gake no Ue no Ponyo
Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Kids, Studio Ghibli
First Released: July 2008, 101-minute film
Summary: Sousuke lives with his mother, Risa, on a cliff by the sea. During the day his mother works at the assisted living center. The only interaction he has with his father is when he comes close to shore in his ship and flashes messages across the water. Sousuke and Risa get along well enough, but something is missing for both of them. Risa wants her husband to get off his ship once in a while and spend time with the family. Sousuke wants a friend. Everything changes one night when a storm comes in and Sousuke comes across Ponyo, a delightful little goldfish. Fantasy and reality clash as Ponyo begins to exhibit human-like traits and have a desire to become more like Sousuke.
Ponyo is directed by none other than Hayao Miyazaki himself. The story is based on The Little Mermaid, but it’s nothing like the Disney version. It has an anime twist that makes it significantly more enjoyable if you ask me. The artwork is classic Ghibli with incredible attention to detail, from the characters to the bubbles in the water. The backgrounds are gorgeous and lifelike. The underwater scenes are magical and animated beautifully. The soundtrack is composed by Joe Hisaishi and it lives up to the expectation of adding to the film. The combination of storytelling, animation, and music provide an amazing Ghibli film that is geared towards children but can be enjoyed by all.
You might enjoy this if: You are looking for a light-hearted entry into the anime universe for you and the family, or just yourself. Ponyo does a terrific job making a kid’s film that is not just cheap laughs for kids. It tells a deep story while being able to keep the children interested.
You might not like it if: You are afraid of the ocean.
Note to the Viewer: Miyazaki went back to his roots with Ponyo. Some of the previous Ghibli films had used computer animation, but Miyazaki insisted that Ponyo be entirely hand-drawn. The end result was 170,000 hand-drawn separate images to complete the film, a record high for a Miyazaki film.
Ponyo Official Trailer
AMV – Counting Stars by Ellipselris
(Warning, the AMV contains spoilers. I figure if you haven’t seen the show, you don’t know what’s getting spoiled anyways, right?)