崖の上のポニョ/Ponyo

[Screenshot]Another day, another Miyazaki. I fear the Miyazaki clan (and Hayao himself is moving into an increasingly advisory role) is a bit past their golden years. So, despite the generally high production values and empathic characters, Ponyo as a whole left me kind of cold. I think a lot of it was the messiness of the plot, and the lack of any actual antagonist: the King of the Sea is a control freak and the obvious obstructionist, but he just doesn’t rise to any sort of effectual antagonism, nor do his actions make a whole lot of sense. It felt like it fell into an uncomfortable space between being wholly antagonist-free (like, say, Totoro), and having a credible, believable malign force bearing some responsibility for the hostility of nature (like, say, every other Miyazaki film). There’s plenty here that is good: as always, the art is lovely, with a special emphasis on aquatic scenes this time. The human characters are generally lovable and realistic. The dub seems pretty good, but Disney generally does a good job there (although whoever decided to fold a rap into the already-insufferable ending music should probably bew banished to projects where they can do no harm).

I din’t think any girls fly in this one. But Ponyo swims a lot, which is kind of like flying, only underwater.

See also: IMDB, Wikipedia, Anime News Network.

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About Jake
I'm a mathematics professor at the University of Louisville, and a geek.

2 Responses to 崖の上のポニョ/Ponyo

  1. grysar says:

    I had thought it was rather fun, so I wasn’t left cold but I could see how it might have that impact. Your critique is a fair one. I wonder if the problems you raised would be best addressed via an editor or perhaps mixing up subject material. The themes Miyazaki likes to address are as relevant as ever but I would say that both Ponyo and Howl’s Moving Castle had some big picture structural issues that are tricky to address with small fixes.

  2. Pingback: ゲド戦記/Tales from Earthsea « The Ecclesiastical Revue

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