On July 19, 2008, the newest STUDIO GHIBLI movie directed by Hayao Miyazaki (of Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle fame), hit Japanese theaters under the title, Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea (崖の上のポニョ, Gake no Ue no Ponyo).
“Ponyo” has been hailed as a return to the enchanted atmospheres of the older, children-oriented Miyazaki works like “My Neighbor Totoro” (hooray!) as it tells the story of the meeting and tender friendship between sea-dwelling girl fish Ponyo and human boy Sousuke, who lives with his family in a village by the sea. Ponyo wants to become a human and stay on dry land with her little friend but…
…but I don’t want to spoil it for you! Enjoy the official Japanese trailer instead and Ponyo’s fun, cute antics!
Awww, I know… Upon seeing these short clips I was pleasantly surprised – the character design is simple yet captivating, as the carefully crafted backgrounds frame the fun acrobatics of the adorable little Ponyo and her young friend (note that everything has been hand drawn, without resorting to CG!) The villagers remind me of the old-school Miyazaki of “My Neighbor Totoro”, while Ponyo’s outlandish parents seem styled after the magical characters from his most recent movies (Howl’s Moving Castle comes to mind).
Although it looks like international release dates haven’t been announced yet, according to Nausicaa.net a US release and producers for Ponyo have been officially decided.
And since several European countries have seen the theatrical release of the latest Studio Ghibli movies (last in order of time the controversial Tales From Earthsea, directed by Goro Miyazaki, son of Hayao and the model Sousuke is based on, unfortunate winner of the Japanese Raspberry Awards for Worst Movie & Worst Director of The Year) we can reasonably hope we’ll be able to enjoy Ponyo on the Big Screen too… sooner or later!
Look forward to it!