Ponyo (2008) IMDb


Suzuki Toshio (producer), Miyazaki Hayao (writer-director).


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


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.


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 premises, 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.

animation fiction Ghibli Japanese production moving picture