“Ponyo” splashes as one of Miyazaki’s best

“Ponyo” is by far the best anime film of 2009, with incredibly creative hand-drawn animation and visuals.

The latest anime film from Hayao Miyazaki focuses on a little goldfish with a human face, named Ponyo. It begins with Ponyo sneaking her way through a submarine window. A boy named Sosuke finds the little fish and decides to keep it as a pet.

Sosuke has no idea that Ponyo is more than just an ordinary goldfish. She has a human face, and she even speaks Sosuke’s named aloud. Ponyo is the daughter of an underwater magician named Fujimoto, who says that the natural order of the ocean will become out of balance if Ponyo lives in the human world.

The film gradually grows more wildly creative. Miyazaki’s use of hand-drawn animation is perfect for the character of Ponyo, whose actual body undertakes some magnificent metamorphosis from a simple red goldfish.

The true spotlight of the film is on director Hayao Miyazaki’s visuals. Miyazaki has always been known for creating a wonderful variety of characters, from the chaotic demons in “Princess Mononoke” to the cute creatures of “My Neighbor Totoro.” However, Ponyo may trump them all as being the cutest, but possibly the most powerful of all the characters. Ponyo has the ability to shift the oceans and cause floods and tsunamis.

In fact, her loving relationship with Sosuke is the only thing that keeps her powers in check. Although the romance between the two is kept to a minimum, Ponyo’s voice is adorably cute. To the very end of the film, the beauty of “Ponyo” lies in the power of love to withhold the obliteration of the Earth.

Director Miyazaki has created another masterpiece which ranks among his best. His palette of colors is filled with beautiful blues, greens and purples. His drawings are pushed to the limit, with smoothly animated creatures and humans. He even squeezed in a lovable song at the end all about Ponyo.

The English voice actors also hold the film together marvelously. There are a few lines that don’t translate too well, some of which involve an innocent conversation about a mother’s milk in the second half of the film. But for most of the film, the voice actors’ lines don’t sound awkward at all. Even Frankie Jonas is believable as the simple boy, Sosuke.

Hands down, “Ponyo” is one of Miyazaki’s best films ever made. Don’t be surprised if “Ponyo” wins an Academy Award for best animated film.



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