7.7/10
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Ponyo (2008)

Gake no ue no Ponyo (original title)
Trailer
2:19 | Trailer
A five-year-old boy develops a relationship with Ponyo, a young goldfish princess who longs to become a human after falling in love with him.

Director:

Hayao Miyazaki

Writer:

Hayao Miyazaki
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Popularity
1,591 ( 403)
12 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

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

Taglines:

Welcome To A World Where Anything Is Possible.


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The first Hayao Miyazaki film to be rated G by the MPAA since the release of Kiki's Delivery Service (1989) in 1998. See more »

Quotes

Lisa: I say we start with dessert and go backwards. It's been a backwards kind of day!
See more »

Alternate Versions

"Baka!" is changed to "bug off" in the English version. See more »


Soundtracks

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

User Reviews

 
Return to Innocence - A Review of Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea
6 February 2009 | by andydreamseekerSee all my reviews

Said to be inspired from Disney's The Little Mermaid, Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea is Japanese animation master, Hayao Miyazaki's next big work after the well-received Spirited Away in 2001 and Howl's Moving Castle in 2004. In Ponyo, his signature style of animating fantasy realms and children characters are on display once again.

Sosuke (Hiroki Doi), the boy lead in the film discovers a 'goldfish' trapped in a glass jar while playing by the seaside below the cliff. He stays with his mum, Lisa (Tomoko Yamaguchi) above and atop it. Sosuke shakes the jar forcefully to try and get the 'goldfish' out but the little 'goldfish' is stuck. He then tries to pull it out but it just cannot come loose. Sosuke then place the jar on the ground before smashing a small rock onto it, breaking it into pieces instantly while suffering a small cut on the finger. He then checks inquisitively to see if the 'goldfish' is still alive. As he observes it, the 'goldfish' reacts by licking the blood off his finger suddenly. Excited, Sosuke quickly rushes back to the house and put the 'goldfish' in a small bucket of water in hope that it will survive. It did and he named it 'Ponyo'(Yuria Nara).

The above scene would signify what is to come for the remainder of the film. It is of the interactions between Sosuke and Ponyo. And it is one that Hayao Miyazaki did meticulously well in portraying. He must have a keen sense of observation and understanding of how children behave before he depicts this chemistry of communication between the two main characters. The behavior of the children would also extend into the rest of the film in their further encounters.

The affection between Sosuke and Ponyo grew as the film progresses from the moment Sosuke brought Ponyo to school in Lisa's car. The best moment came when the two were reunited after a brief separation when Ponyo's father, Fujimoto (George Tokoro), a magical sea dweller recaptures the errant Ponyo before encapsulating her in a magic bubble with kind intention.

Fujimoto who was once human has grown to refer humans with disgust for polluting the sea and stealing its life. But all Ponyo wants is to be human and be with Sosuke so for a second time she escapes, accidentally emptying his father's precious store of magical elixir into the sea, creating a storm of tidal waves and engulfing the small town in the process.

What follows are the adventures of Sosuke and Ponyo in the flooded town.

Is there a happily ever after in this one? Would true love prevail? You find out.

Looking at the art in Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea, there appears to be a deviation from Miyazaki's past works in terms of rendering. It looks unfamiliar because the environment apart from the characters at play in every scene is not colored in the usual fashion as in Spirited Away (2001) and Howl's Moving Castle (2004). The aesthetical appeal is discounted from what appears to be color penciled drawings. The objects and characters are also not as detailed as before.

This is peculiar if taken on face value but from the way the story is written and told, the possible explanation is that Miyazaki is allowing the audience to view the film with a child's tint, yet allowing the adults to reminisce on a Japan when they were younger. This move could have prevented prospective moviegoers, new to Miyazaki's work to see it. The trailer did nothing to promote Ponyo as well. Taking the case to Japan however would be a different story as Miyazaki's credential far than exceed any marketing technique.

In summary though, the whole did not equal to its parts. Aside from Miyazaki's ability to cast vivacious and animated characters, the film lacks elements of thrill and wonder when measured against previous works, resulting in a deficit of big screen presence.

The sparks of Ponyo and Sosuke failed to light up the film in a big way but moments of warmth, kindness, and love can still be found in recognizing the film as one that is not made for the kids, but of the kids who everyone is or once was.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Italian | Japanese

Release Date:

14 August 2009 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ponyo See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$34,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,585,852, 16 August 2009

Gross USA:

$15,743,471

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$203,204,882
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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