Ponyo (2008 IMDb)

Categorization

Ghibli's purest children's film. Quite wild fantasy. Partly based on a book.

Subject

While an alchemist who has given up hope seeks to rejuvenate the oceans, one of his children with the goddess of the sea decides to have an adventure and goes floating off between two jellyfishes.

Commentary

The scope recalls Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984), including a great deal of apocalypticism, but Ponyo is set at a very different angle. As usual with Miyazaki, the future apocalypse is portrayed largely as a good thing: here it has hardly any negative results. Instead of realistic premisses, there are many wonderful scenes of children at play, and of Ponyo overpowering her surroundings with Totoro-like enlightened mindlessness: let the adults worry about the end of the world! There is a fantastic air of innocence throughout, without malice, and without denial of environmental degradation and the possibility, albeit shifted to an “unobtrusive” abstract plane, of horrifying consequences. It isn't perfect, but I feel no need of a more cohesive plot.

References here: Ghibli movie titles, The title of Princess Mononoke.

Ghibli Japanese production Miyazaki Hayao Suzuki Toshio animation movie