Title: Ponyo (崖の上のポニョ)
Released: 2008

Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Class Superlative: Cutie Pie

In a Land of Pure Imagination

Who lives on the cliff down by the sea? Sōsuke! Sōsuke!

Ahem, anyway. Sōsuke finds a fish-girl that he names Ponyo, who then wants to become human to be with him. So it’s basically Littler Mermaid, right down to Ponyo’s red hair and her overprotective dad. 

Adorable Children Alert




Also: best mother-son duo EVERRRR. (Or at least in Ghibli.)


Lovable Anthropomorphic Sidekicks

Well, Ponyo’s sisters aren’t really human, so they count!

Wait, WTF?

Um, why didn’t I have a toy boat like Sōsuke’s!? And uhhhh the theme song with its lyrics about Ponyo’s round tummy. (At least it’s an accurate translation?) Although the worst musical offense has to be when the English version morphs into an autotune remix monstrosity.

But back to the movie: WHOA, that Ponyo sure is an Age Five Clinger, huh? And Sōsuke promises to love her forever? And his mom’s just going to raise the two of them together then? What happens when those two hit their teenage years and want to date around? This can’t end well. Never fall in love with fishes, y’all. 

Famous Voices

Class Superlative: Cutie Pie

Omg, this movie is absolutely saturated with cuteness (of the kids anyway, not their ‘romance’); I’m surprised I haven’t gotten cavities from all the sweetness. But there’s almost too much adorableness, that I don’t think I can watch this again without a child present. Or without being super depressed beforehand to offset the adorbs.

Exploring the Studio Ghibli Vault

Mandy (she/her) lives in Edmonton, AB. When she’s not raiding the library for YA books, she enjoys eating ice cream (esp. in cold weather), learning fancy pole dance tricks, and stanning BTS. Mandy has been writing for FYA since 2012, and she oversaw all things FYA Book Club from 2013 to 2023.