Ponyo anime review


Rightstuf synopsis:

In Ponyo, a young boy named Sosuke rescues a goldfish named Ponyo, and they embark on a fantastic journey of friendship and discovery before Ponyo’s father, a powerful sorcerer, forces her to return to her home in the sea. But Ponyo’s desire to be human upsets the delicate balance of nature and triggers a gigantic storm. Only Ponyo’s mother, a beautiful sea goddess, can restore nature’s balance and make Ponyo’s dreams come true.

(No Spoilers!)

It has been a long time since I seen a Miyazaki movie. The only ones I recalled watching years ago was Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle and The Castle of Cagliostro. Since I found Ponyo on TV, I set my DVR to record and I was able to watch this movie. Today I am going to review this movie without spoilers and talk about input.


Like the synopsis says, the movie is about named Sosuke who encounters a mysterious goldfish with a human face. The goldfish is named Ponyo and she comes the sea and is raised by a sorcerer and a sea goddess. After Sosuke accidentally cuts himself, Ponyo licks his blood and heals him and this causes her to give the desire to leave her under water home and dwell on land with Sosuke. However, this causes a problem because according to her father, if Ponyo leaves her water life and move to dry land, it will bring an unbalance force to both worlds. The results is that the dry land is hit by storms and tsunamis.

Feedback Story: A story similar to the Little Mermaid

While watching this movie, I felt like this movie was very similar to the Disney movie The Little Mermaid because of similar details. Here are my reasons:

  • Ponyo is a female fish girl that wants to be human to be with a male human. In the Little Mermaid, Ariel wanted to be human and be with Prince Eric even if it means leaving her under water home.
  • Ponyo has multiple sisters and the same goes to Ariel.
  • Both Ponyo and Ariel has fathers where they don’t want their child to leave home and explore land.

Besides that, this movie is also not like the Littler Mermaid because it doesn’t have a singing crab who sings Under the Sea and it doesn’t have any romance themes. As matter of act, there was no “Ursula” or any evil force to be the antagonist either. In a way to describe this movie, it’s a very simple movie where anyone can sit down to watch and even let children watch. I haven’t seen a lot of Miyazaki movies but this movie is something kids will most likely enjoy. The plot is pretty easy to understand and the main character Sosuke is very unique character for someone being very young and brave in the trials. I enjoy the English cast of the movie. The voice for Sosuke is Frankie Jonas, Ponyo is voiced by Noah Cyrus and surprisingly, the voice of her father is done by Liam Neelson (the same actor who did the Qui-Gon in Star Wars Episode 1 and the main character in the Taken series); the minor characters have recognizable voices such as Matt Damon (main character in the Jason Bourne movies and in The Martian) being the voice of Sosuke’s dad and Betty White being one of the old women in the retirement center. The art and animation is beautifully well done. The colors where the magic happens where Ponyo transform into human is captivating and you can’t help but not blink at all. I also want to say that ending song is so catchy and adorable. This is something you can sing to your kids.

Flaws – Too simple and easy?

Even though I enjoyed this movie, there are some minor areas that kind of left me wondering. I won’t spoil but I want point out some stuff that little bit irked me. The movie felt a little bit fast pace from beginning to end. It felt like the introduction to meeting Ponyo and then the drastic change of her becoming human to the challenges Sosuke gores through happens too fast. Another thing that left me asking is the side characters. For example, after Sosuke shows his mom, Lisa, Ponyo,instead of wondering about her origins or where she came from, she just accepted her and not ask questions. Remember I mentioned about Matt Damon voicing Sosuke’s dad, Koichi? We don’t get much information on him besides him being a sailor. In the movie, it’s revealed that the Lisa is angry at Koichi whenever he wants to talk with light signals. It’s unknown why she’s mad and it made me wonder. Divorce or very busy people? Like mentioned in the title, the movie’s plot felt really easy for Sosuke. There is scene where he is alone and tries to sail boat on his own where everything is flooded. When he sees the police guiding people to shelter, the police asks if he needs help but he refuses. What do the police do? They leave him alone and says good bye. So basically, there’s no real challenge for the main character.


Would I recommend this movie? Besides being fairly simple and short movie, I would totally recommend this to anyone especially if you have kids or a fan of Miyazaki. The voices for the characters were great in English and the ending song credits were fantastic. The art and animation is breathtaking. The plot is very easy to understand and I recommend if you want kids to understand anime, pick this movie! Thanks to Disney, they picked a good cast and the content is kid friendly. However, the only thing I can point out is that it’s a short and simple movie. If you were expecting something big and something drastic, this is not the one. If there’s a Ponyo 2 movie, I would love to see it because the ending makes it seems like there could be more adventures.

That’s the end of my review. Comment down below if you seen the movie and want to share your opinions.

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8 thoughts on “Ponyo anime review

  1. I’m so glad you ended up reviewing this, Matt! To me, Ponyo is one of the most fun Ghibli movies out there—it’s sheer delight, childish fun and silliness. Not to mention the animation of the sea water and the art for the town are both top-notch seaside aesthetic. Like you said, it’s not a complicated film, but sometimes we need these kinds of scenic pieces to relax and enjoy our youth. Great review!

    • Thank you. This movie was very good and just like you said, I recommend it to anyone who wants to relax and sit down to see a cute movie. The animation in the water is beautiful.

  2. Yeah it sounds like the anime definitely glossed over some things along the way to the finish. Sounds like a good movie though and while it sounds familiar, I definitely wasn’t familiar with its story before.

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