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Ponyo (2008)
"Gake no ue no Ponyo" (original title)

G  |   |  Animation, Family, Fantasy  |  14 August 2009 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 78,886 users   Metascore: 86/100
Reviews: 141 user | 249 critic | 29 from Metacritic.com

An adventure about a five-year-old boy and his relationship with Ponyo, a goldfish princess who longs to become a human after falling in love with him.



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11 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Tomoko Yamaguchi ...
Risa (voice)
Kazushige Nagashima ...
Kôichi (voice)
Yûki Amami ...
Granmamare (voice)
Jôji Tokoro ...
Fujimoto (voice) (as George Tokoro)
Yuria Nara ...
Ponyo (voice)
Hiroki Doi ...
Sôsuke (voice)
Rumi Hiiragi ...
Fujin (voice)
Akiko Yano ...
Ponyo no imôto-tachi (voice)
Kazuko Yoshiyuki ...
Toki (voice)
Tomoko Naraoka ...
Yoshie (voice)
Shin'ichi Hatori ...
The Newscaster (voice)
Tokie Hidari ...
Kayo (voice)
Eimi Hiraoka ...
Kumiko (voice)
Nozomi Ôhashi ...
Karen (voice)
Akihiko Ishizumi ...


The son of a sailor, 5-year old Sosuke lives a quiet life on an oceanside cliff with his mother Lisa. One fateful day, he finds a beautiful goldfish trapped in a bottle on the beach and upon rescuing her, names her Ponyo. But she is no ordinary goldfish. The daughter of a masterful wizard and a sea goddess, Ponyo uses her father's magic to transform herself into a young girl and quickly falls in love with Sosuke, but the use of such powerful sorcery causes a dangerous imbalance in the world. As the moon steadily draws nearer to the earth and Ponyo's father sends the ocean's mighty waves to find his daughter, the two children embark on an adventure of a lifetime to save the world and fulfill Ponyo's dreams of becoming human. Written by The Massie Twins

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Welcome To A World Where Anything Is Possible.


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

14 August 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ponyo  »

Box Office


JPY 3,400,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$3,585,852 (USA) (14 August 2009)


$15,081,783 (USA) (30 October 2009)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(as Dolby Digital Surround EX)| (6.1 channels)| (English-language version)


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This was the first animated film to be nominated for and win the Best Film Score prize at the Japanese Academy Awards. See more »


Sosuke: [after several waves with eyes fail to catch him by the shore] That was weird.
See more »


Referenced in Nostalgia Critic: Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 (2012) See more »


Umi no okâsan
(Mother Sea)
Lyrics by Hayao Miyazaki
Composed by Joe Hisaishi
Performed by Masako Hayashi
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

All the Enthusiasm of Finger Paints
27 July 2008 | by (Japan) – See all my reviews

Gake no Ue no Ponyo is like something you might get if you mashed My Neighbour Totoro into The Little Mermaid, then put the entire project in the hands of a five-year-old animation prodigy. The film is simultaneously stunning in its beauty and endearing in its simplicity, unrestrained enthusiasm walking the edge between inspired brilliance and mind-addling delirium.

In the opening sequences, literally thousands of individually animated fish swirl across the screen—a task Western animators wouldn't touch without a room full of computers. And yet the film's omnipresent water is defined by hard lines that seem to have been drawn in with crayons and coloured by pastels. In style and content, this is clearly a children's fantasy, and yet it isn't.

Remarkably, Miyazaki has yet again achieved what he created in Totoro: a film that draws the viewer indelibly into the world of children, reminding us of the time when every discovery was unique, every possession precious, and the agony of loss crouched behind every well-meaning mistake. Perhaps this is why the film has appealed more to adults than to children in Japan: children still live in this world. They need no such reminders.

Sousuke, a five-year-old who retrieves the eponymous Ponyo from the ocean, is not another Pinocchio-like screen caricature. He is a real boy. He is intelligent yet careless, deeply conscientious but distracted by impulse. He grounds us in a world that wavers between the real and the surreal.

Wide-eyed wizard Fujimoto, voiced with narcoleptic mania by comedian Tokoro Joji, is by far the most rational of the film's fantastical creations. He's an oddball, but he makes sense. But when waves begin to lap at the doorstep to Sousuke's hilltop home and the townsfolk jovially pile into rowboats to scud over a swollen sea of prehistoric fish, we begin to wonder whether this is the real world or some beatific daydream. Miyazaki draws no clear distinction.

Gake no Ue no Ponyo is a children's love story, driven with monomaniacal ferocity by Ponyo and Sousuke's pure mutual affection. Composer Joe Hisaishi underscores this intensity, calling up mighty swells of strings to accompany Ponyo's first ascent to the surface, and later evoking Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries in a stunning sequence where Ponyo chases down a speeding car while running atop a cascading tsunami of gigantic fish.

While the film loses much of its energy—though none of its eccentricity—in the final act, Miyazaki has nonetheless succeeded in creating yet another modern fairy tale. It is a simple, pure vision, guilelessly washed across with a devoted kindergartener's finger paints.

171 of 181 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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