Ponyo on a Cliff may seem like a cheesy, children's animated film. Actually, this movie is actually more for children compared to Hayao Miyazaki's other works. However, there are aspects of the movie that make it truly enjoyable for everyone. In addition, there are messages we must not take lightly.
First of all, I really enjoyed the pictures. Hayao Miyazaki's artwork is always creative, new, and simply breathtaking. Watching the film makes me happy and relaxed. His expression of everyday objects is truly spectacular. For example, the waves of the ocean have a life and shape of their own. The way they move and act heightens the idea of nature being a spectacular entity of its own. In addition, Ponyo's mother is portrayed as a loving, beautiful, understanding, goddess of the sea, flexible and moving with its own force. I think that Hayao Miyazaki wanted the portray the idea of a "mother" in such a powerful way.
Sosuke's mother, Lisa, is also a very interesting character. She is loving and she is very open-minded. She encourages Sosuke's love of the sea and does not care when he brings a random fish from the sea to take to school. In addition, when Ponyo appears before her as a young girl, Lisa believes Sosuke when he says that Ponyo the fish has turned into a girl. She then brings both the children into her home, takes care of them, and tells them that although such queer occurrences are exciting, everyone must be calm. I know that if I brought home a friend and told my mother that she was a fish, my mom would just say, "Hello, come in and play for a while" without believing a single word. Although this is the normal reaction of most people, who really knows what happens in the world? Sometimes I like to believe in magic too because there is much much more to the world than I will ever know.
There are also some things that we must learn from this movie. In the movie, Ponyo falls in danger because of the trash that covers the ocean floor. Also, it is suggested that Ponyo's father was originally a human who did everything in his power to live in the sea because he was disgusted by what human beings were doing to nature. He also wants to create a world in which life forms may explode again in the ocean. He describes it as a second "Cambrian Explosion." However, he was mistaken in thinking that all humans evil. Lisa and Sosuke are not. They are able to accept Ponyo even though she was a fish because they loved Ponyo for just being Ponyo and they were also willing to open their minds and hearts to others.
Sosuke is also a very kind boy. He is polite to the villagers, he knows how to help his mother and others in the neighborhood, he knows how to love indiscriminately. I wish more children could grow up like him with such wonderful parents and happy environments.
What I also like about Hayao Miyazaki's films are that the heros may be women, animals, grandmas, children, or anyone else for that matter. He shows that such things do not inhibit us from being strong, brave, and loving. In addition, all these characters are able to be explorers and go on adventures of their own.