May 5, 2010

Ponyo on a Cliff - Ghibli v.s. Disney

Ponyo on a Cliff is a Japanese animation film directed by Hayao Miyazaki, one of my favorite directors. It was released by Studio Ghibli, one of the most renowned animation studios. In North America, it was distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. Overall, the movie was received well from audiences all around the world.

Music is crucial to Hayao Miyazaki's films. Joe Hisaishi is a very famous composer and he has worked with Hayao Miyazaki before. For this film, he wrote the score for the theme song which was then performed by Fujioka Fujimaki and Nozomi Ohashi. The English pop version was recorded by Frankie Jonas and Noah Cyrus. Since Japanese is difficult to translate without destroying the appropriate connotation, creating the newly translated and remixed version is in itself an accomplishment. However, I didn't feel that the English version was even remotely up to par. The Japanese original, though childish, was very cute and catchy. It also seemed very appropriate for the film. The English version, on the other hand, was filled with Auto-tune (or maybe the singer's voice was extremely nasally, or both) and the initial feeling of the song was destroyed. The lyrics sounded foolish too. Simply put, I wasn't satisfied in the least. I hope next time, the original receives a bit more respect. Actually, I can't say that the Japanese version is perfect, but my dislike for the English version and its choice of performers heavily outweighs any negative feelings I had for the Japanese version.

This is the original Japanese version of the theme song.

This is the rather disappointing English version.

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