I finally watched Ponyo last night. As most of you know, it’s Hayao Miyazaki’s latest film, about a magical goldfish who wants to become human. The whole time I was watching, I was thinking, hey, this story is kinda like Little Mermaid! Later I found out that Miyazaki was supposedly inspired by the Little Mermaid — which makes perfect sense. Before I watched this film, some people told me it wasn’t going to be that good. I don’t agree. While it may not have been his best film to date, if we discard the high expectations we have of the prolific filmmaker, I think we’d appreciate it for what it is — a ridiculously cute, imaginative, wonderful animated movie.
Even with the magical goldfish who can metamorphose into a human, Ponyo is a little bit more “normal” compared to some of Miyazaki’s other films, like Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle. Most of the characters are normal humans, for one thing. I instantly fell in love with the ocean scenes and the colors he used to depict the world beneath the water. I also thought Ponyo was maybe the cutest character in the world — she reminded me a bit of my childhood favorite, the purple-haired robot Arale-chan.
Ponyo also has some really interesting character depictions that are reflective of contemporary Japanese culture. For example, Ponyo’s dad is overprotective and often misunderstood by his daughter, who pushes him away the more he tries to get close to her. And Sosuke’s mom is a strong, fearless working mother who only loses her cool when her husband flakes on her, but is otherwise unfazed by anything, including the giant tsunami and a girl who used to be a goldfish. I love when she says something like: Weird things are happening, and we might not understand them now but one day they’ll make sense, and we just have to do what’s right for now. Isn’t that nice? I really enjoyed the movie and would watch it again and again if I had time.