Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea, written, directed and animated by Hayao Miyazaki, in the year 2009 was an animated movie aimed at young audiences and their parents. He took Hans Christian Andersen’s short story The Little Mermaid as a blueprint for portraying this poetic, fantastic work using adorable pictures with interesting and impressive storyline to attract audiences.
I would personally consider the movie Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea as an improved version of Andersen’s The Little Mermaid because Miyazaki had introduced a lot of new elements to make the story look more realistic and interesting by considering the current preferences of children’s. In this movie, Miyazaki has not only described the love between people and people, but he has also highlighted the relationship between creatures and people using a simple story line.
Generally, I would perceive Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea as a great animated movie because it contains various outstanding features such as simple but attractive story, visually appealing animated pictures which are far better compared to other animated movies released recently and the music in the movie is quite pleasant touching people’s soul. In the following part of the essay, I am going to describe how Miyazaki successfully captivated the audiences’ likenesses through his new movie: Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea.
There is a huge difference between the Hans Christian Andersen’s story The Little Mermaid and the Miyazaki’s movie Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea. In the Andersen’s The Little Mermaid, there were so many children who got upset on her demise and her infatuation towards the prince. While suffering with great pain, she drank the potion and the Little Mermaid lost her tongue in exchange for her tongue, which was considered as the most beautiful part of the story, but still her sacrifice could not get the prince’s love.
At last, her body turned into foam and it never existed again. According to Robinson, “the story’s agony and tragedy [actually loses] the people’s heart” (Robinson). Such a pathetic story used to break the children’s dreams. However, I would consider Hayao Miyazaki’s movie Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea as an ameliorated story of The Little Mermaid because he slightly modified the ending of the story and introduced a lot of exciting elements to make the story more closely related with children’s preferences.
Miyazaki has drawn several cute scenes about the main character girl Ponyo, such as eating noodles with her lover Sosuke and playing around with her pinky sisters. These scenes attracted the current generation of young audiences and made them fall in love into this adorable character and hence got them emotionally attached towards the movie. In addition to that, the climax of the movie was slightly changed that the Ponyo gets transformed into a little girl from a fish, so that she can be with Sosuke forever and it can be considered as one of the major difference when compared to the climax of The Little Mermaid’s.
Therefore, I would personally consider the happy ending, the way of presentation and depicting characters as major elements making Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea better than The Little Mermaid. People regard Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea, not only as a better version of The Little Mermaid, but also consider it as a great animation movie due to its simple and attractive storyline. Although there are people who criticize that the story sounds weird, and like many of Miyazaki’s previous films, Ponyo is also written from a child’s perspective and with a child’s sense of logic (Rodriguez).
Miyazaki has raised the complexity of the movie’s theme to a higher level, enabling both children and adults to think and enjoy. The audiences are provided with three ways to observe the main theme of the story, which is the love between people, families, and creatures. First the audiences could feel the love and the relationship between Ponyo and her father Fujimoto. In the story, their relationship is not so well due to the busy schedule of Fujimoto, which reduced the time spent by him to understand his daughters and vice-versa.
As her mother was also busy and hardly available at home, Ponyo had very less time for interacting with her parents. Even though Fujimoto tried his best to take care of Ponyo, such as providing clean food and taking them out for sightseeing at the sea, she didn’t care much about her father’s feelings. The only thing that she wanted to do was to get away from her father. What Ponyo did was immature and completely understandable, because she was just a 5 year-old girl at that time.
But I believe that Miyazaki wanted to stress the issue that there does exist children who are bound do the same thing with their parents as well, and he wanted the young audiences to understand that whatever their parents are doing is only for the love they have towards their children. Secondly, the audiences may notice how Sosuke loved his mother. Although his father used to leave him and his mother at home while going for fishing, he realized how to take good care of his mother and carry the responsibilities of the family as a whole.
I do remember a scene, when Sosuke’s father called to apologize for not coming back for dinner which left Sosuke’s mother crying about that. At that time, Sosuke’s passes her a napkin, consoling her not to get sad about that. Sosuke doesn’t know the reason for her mother being upset, but his actions represent the second type of love, which indicates how the younger generation shows their love towards their parents.
Finally Miyazaki wanted to express the pure love between the main characters, Ponyo and Sosuke to the audiences as the third kind of love. One of the scenes comprised of a test that Nereus had given to Sosuke. Without anybody’s help, any ship to drive, and any lights to walk in the tunnel, Sosuke builds his courage to take care of Ponyo, the one whom he loves a lot and he overcomes all the hurdles that come in his way. These scenes inspired me to think about the children of this era.
It is common that children would cry and call for their parents when they encounter difficult situations; however, despite the worry about his mother’s disappearance at that moment, Sosuke tactfully handled all these challenges physically and mentally encouraging Ponyo too to be strong. Therefore, I personally think that the act of the 5 year-old boy, Sosuke should be highly appreciated because it is really not an easy task for a normal child to either handle or accomplish it. The only reason why Sosuke could do it is all because of the love he had towards Ponyo, which gave him the power to raise his courage to get through all the challenges.
The factors that decide whether an animated movie was successful or not doesn’t purely depend on the storyline or content that the director wants to emphasize, but it also depends on the way the movie was filmed that embellishes the movie with eye-catchy and enthralling features. When compared with the Disney film The Little Mermaid, Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea didn’t involve any Computer-Generated Imagery (CGI) work, which meant that the whole film was drawn by animators, and this further heightens the film’s natural characteristics.
“In Miyazaki’s fertile imagination, the ordinary and magical worlds blend into each other; both are full of marvels” (Young). Young adds that Miyazaki’s movie provided softer and more realistic pictures to the audiences as all the things were hand-made. For example, I would personally consider the sea to be the most imaginative part of the movie. Miyazaki used his abundant imaginations in transforming the sea into a living character that can represent the mind of Ponyo’s father Fujimoto.
One of the scenes is that, Fujimoto uses his magic to transform the sea into a living creature to chase Ponyo, but the sea couldn’t catch her and it fiercely outbursted onto the land. In addition to the much hyped imaginative scenes, Miyazaki had asked Joe Hisaishi to compose the background music for the movie. The movie became additionally attractive, as Hisaishi had used children to sing all the songs. Hence, these specialties made Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea so special that it induced people to come and enjoy.
In summary, Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea possesses nice elements for being considered as a great animated movie. First of all, being structured similar to the traditional tale The Little Mermaid, Miyazaki’s movie is more appreciated by the audiences of this era as it had a better climax than the story and the more updated elements are provided to meet the expectations and interests of children. Secondly, the complexity of the movie initiates audiences to deeply think about how people should interpret love and relationship between people, families, or even lovers.
Thirdly, with the inclusion of more animated pictures and intoxicated music, audiences felt emotionally attached to the movie, trying to feel the happiness and sadness of the characters in the movie. Even though there are people criticizing the movie, but I believe that it has already qualified as a good animation movie because Miyazaki has designed it to become approachable by both adults and children. I personally feel that people can get inspired by the love of the story, trying to practice it in the real world, and very soon the society will become more harmonious.
People would become friendlier to each other, making the world a better place to live on. Works Cited Robinson, Tasha. “Ponyo. ” 13 Aug. 2009. The Onion Inc. A. V. Club. 2 May 2010 <http://www. avclub. com/articles/ponyo,31664/>. Rodriguez, Rene. “Review : Ponyo. ” 14 Aug 2009. The Miami Herald. Miami Herald Media Co. 02 May 2010 <http://www. miamiherald. com/2009/08/13/1183921/review-ponyo-g. html>. Young, Deborah. “Film Review: Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea. ” 30 Aug. 2008. The Hollywood Reporter. 2 May 2010. <http://www. hollywoodreporter. com/hr/film/ reviews/article_display. jsp? rid=11566>.
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