Ponyo tells the enchanted tale of Sosuke and his goldfish Ponyo, who longs to be human. Through the power of magic, Ponyo gets her wish, but it is only Sosuke who can make her dream permanent.
The animation is fluid and lively, what one has come to expect from Studio Ghibli. Unlike such fare as Howl’s Moving Castle, Ponyo appears, at first glance, expressly aimed at a younger audience. Along with the young protagonists, there is a lack of any real menace or villain per se.
The story, though simple, contains themes universal enough that a wide demographic can relate. Ponyo is a story about friendship, and the very innocent love between a boy and a girl. Furthermore, Sosuke’s mother Lisa has a pivotal role to play. In the exploration of her disappointment at her husband’s frequent absences, Lisa appears a natural and identifiable character for older audience members.
Overall, Ponyo is a charming film, which wisely errs on the sweet side, rather than straying into saccharine territory.