Anime Review: Ponyo
Updated: Oct 29, 2020
Studio Ghibli movies have been enjoyed by many people, anime fans or not, for many years, despite it coming into the world of animation in 1985. It is considered an anime since it’s a Japanese animation, but they do tend to release movies rather than series. One of their classics/most known movies is “Ponyo” also known as “Ponyo on the Cliff,” which came out in 2008 and was released in the USA in 2009 by Walt Disney Pictures and The Kennedy/Marshall Company.
The story of “Ponyo” follows two main characters, Sosuke who is played by Frankie Jonas and Ponyo played by Noah Cyrus (both in the English sub). Sosuke is a five-year-old boy who lives with his mother Lisa on a cliff in a little town. Similarly, Ponyo is a “fish” who lives in the ocean with her father and all of her sisters. The movie doesn't take too long to reveal the fact that Ponyo and her family aren’t normal humans, they’re magical. That’s how Ponyo was able to survive and undergo a lot of events that happen in this movie. When Sosuke first finds Ponyo she was washed up on shore stuck in a glass jar. Ponyo quickly takes a liking to him and he lets her know he will take good care of her, which is a recurring theme in this movie. Giving her the name “Ponyo” The writer of the movie Hayao Miyazaki named her Ponyo because he thought it was an onomatopoeia of what "soft, squishy softness" feels like when touched.
This film is a perfect family-friendly film because of the likable, kind characters and the soft scenery. I loved how the film touched upon friendship and family and even the hardships a family could face very subtly so it doesn't distract from the main idea or joyfulness of the movie. The art style and sceneries are a joy to look at, I could probably just watch the movie again with no sound and still appreciate it. They do an amazing job at telling the story through the scenes. I also appreciate how it seems like every character that is mentioned by name has a significant role in the story. For example Toki: you would think she is just an elderly woman who lives at the senior center that Souske’s mom works at. Yet when Souske shows her Ponyo she says something along the lines of “fishes with human faces can cause storms.”
There’s strong foreshadowing that somewhat shows the events for the rest of the movie. The only thing I didn’t really like about the movie was that the first time you watch it the storyline may be very unclear and confusing. The filmmakers show you things or events without really explaining how or why it happened; it probably would have helped if “Ponyo” had several minute-long prologues. Otherwise, this is such a great anime/Japanese film to watch in your free time, it’s definitely worth watching.