Ponyo on the Cliff
Yes, I love Gibli! I mean, who doesn’t? They’re the best!
And their 2008 animated film Ponyo on the Cliff, is no exception.
It is kind of a twisted take on The Little Mermaid: Brunhilde is the fishy daughter of a wizard and the goddess of the ocean. Her father is working on a concoction that will bring the ocean back to its glory days, when dinosaurs walked the earth and swam the sea. His reason for doing this is that the humans are a selfish, polluting lot of idiots (so there is a nice moral there), and well, who can argue? However, Brunhilde is the adventures type and she soon escapes and travels to the surface where she meets a boy, Sosuke.
Sosuke saves Brunhilde from a glass jar she is stuck in and keeps her in a bucket (believing she is a normal gold fish) ,and names her Ponyo (which, honestly, is a much better name than Brunhilde). Ponyo is soon brought back to the ocean by her father, but she is determined to become a human and live together with Sosuke. In a daring escape, she spills all of the magical concoction into the ocean, thus disrupting the balance of the universe and dooming all humans to extinction.
But who cares when you can have legs and eat ham with your new best friend?
A storm approaches. Will the world be saved? And will Sosuke pass the final test?
This is one of those Gibli films where you feel like you just enter in the middle of a story and get to tag along for a bit. Many questions are left unanswered (most of them regarding the wizard), but what the film lacks in story-building, it more than makes up for in charm. Ponyo is the cutest little freak to ever have come out of the ocean!
So yes, I highly recommend this film. And all other Gibli films.