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Ponyo (2008)

Nothing can stop Miyazaki Month! Not even the fact that the actual month ended last Friday. I’m sad to say I don’t know when I’ll see The Wind Rises, but I can at least give you Ponyo. After years of staring at the Ponyo poster on my friend and fellow blogger Sean’s bedroom wall, in high school, I finally sat down and watched it. Why did it take me so long to watch it? Maybe the fact that it looked like a movie for babies. I mean, a movie about a cutesy fish who turns into a girl and befriends a little boy? It sounds like it’s dying to become a line of plush dolls. Fortunately, Ponyo is more than childlike whimsy (not that there’s anything wrong with that), it’s a film driven by poignant moments and among the most striking hand-drawn animation I’ve ever seen.

Ponyo is a familiar story, it’s more or less the Little Mermaid in new packaging. Fujimoto, is a once-human wizard who has become the de facto “King of the Sea”. His daughter is Bruhilde, a curious fish-girl amazed by the world around her. One day Bruhilde encounters a young boy named Sosuke, he takes her in and they bond. Sosuke names Bruhilde, “Ponyo” and eventually Ponyo learns how to turn herself into a little girl. Naturally, this pisses off the Sea Wizard as he proclaims that if Ponyo does not return to the sea the world will lose its balance. This is seen initially when Ponyo’s absence causes a huge tsunami and power outage in Sosuke’s waterfront town. But all this can be avoided if Ponyo falls in love. Ooh, what a fairy tale.


But what would a fairy tale be without a fairy tale world? Sosuke’s seaside town is a setting that instantly captures the imagination in one of the most beautifully animated films I’ve ever seen. In my last review, I criticized Howl’s Moving Castle for its use of computer animation. Ponyo is 100% hand drawn in a watercolor style that makes it possibly the most beautiful film in Miyazaki’s prestigious catalog. The opening shot alone of the bottom of the sea gave me chills. The movie is a gorgeous piece of eye candy that is only made better by its adorable story. The relationship between Sosuke and Ponyo is a real heart melter.

Seeing as I’m way past my initial completion date on this theme month I think I’ll wrap it up. As for what’s next? I’ll try and watch and review The Wind Rises as soon as I get the opportunity. Until then I’m calling Miyazaki Month to a close. I hope you enjoyed my journey, Otteni out.