A lonely little boy named Sousuke lives with his mother by the sea, flashing messages across the water to his father’s boat. One day, amid the detritus brought in with the tide, he stumbles upon a little goldfish. Delighted by this strange new friend, he takes her home and names her Ponyo. Sousuke comes to learn, however, that Ponyo is no ordinary fish. A visit from a strange man brings with it fantastical happenings that lead Sousuke and Ponyo on an enlightening adventure.
In Gake no Ue no Ponyo, magic and reality clash around Ponyo and Sousuke, testing their resolve. Despite the trials they face, Ponyo and Sousuke form a strong friendship. They meet many interesting characters, and learn just as many lessons from them.
I watched Ponyo a while ago and I loved it! It was an enjoyable, fun ride of the movie with a backdrop of interesting themes I could appreciate. It’s a great film which is easy to watch and I recommend it to every anime fan and any movie fan who likes studio Ghibli.
This is by far my favourite Ghibli film and I’ll go into deeper into this in the future as the topic is completely different. I don’t want to compare other films; I want to praise this one!
The show gets you to love the characters straight away! Even the perceived villain was eccentrically cool and weird which made up for his fairly two dimensional character. He was funny to watch yet threating enough that the conflict didn’t feel completely useless, mostly because they didn’t focus on it very much. He was bad enough to be funny but not so endearing enough that we started to feel bad when things went wrong for him.
Then Sousuke was immediately a character we could get behind. He was independent enough to collect a fish and actually look after it! He was responsible and tried to protect his secret whilst also enjoying the fish’s (Ponyo’s) company.
And Ponyo didn’t get much characterisation but we grew to like her as she sprayed people who disliked her with water and looked like she was genuinely having a good time.
The story is fairly simple but made interesting through great animation and visuals. The show is about a boy who gets a fish named Ponyo, she heals his wound by licking his blood and absorbs his DNA to become more human like. Due to this humanness the two form a love for each other which is tested through tragedy and difficult times. It’s a fun kind of love story which is a joy to see unfold.
I talked earlier about interesting themes and the most notable one straight away is water pollution. A beautiful sea is shown with rubbish littered all over it and it’s presented as terrible for the fish. The fact that ponyo is humanised to such an extent makes me think that a lot of the start was against pollution since it’s extremely easy to see.
As well as that I think it’s interesting the way the characters dealt with the flood at the end. It was treated as some kind of adventure but it was clear that the adults were putting on a brave face and were terrified for their friends, families, fellow citizens and properties. The idea that this place of tragedy was framed in such a way shows the hope people should have and that they shouldn’t let terrifying events tear their lives apart through causing misery. The children’s carelessness is further shown when they don’t shut their door after leaving on their boat. I was very concerned! Water could have easily gone in there and caused a lot of trouble! Oh well, I guess you have to forgive some things a film does or you won’t be able to appreciate the other great things the film has to offer.
The moment I became sold on the film was when Ponyo rushed along the tops of fish to try and get to Sou. The animation was fun and really enjoyable, it just kind of made me laugh at how sweet and innocent it was.
Overall I’d say you should definitely give Ponyo a shot. It might seem childish but the fun ride combined with interesting visuals make is good anyway.
Tonari no Totaro
Shows from the same studio: Studio Ghibli