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Ponyo (2009)



Average Rating: 7.6/10
Reviews Counted: 159
Fresh: 146 | Rotten: 13

While not Miyazaki's best film, Ponyo is a visually stunning fairy tale that's a sweetly poetic treat for children of all ages.


Average Rating: 7.7/10
Critic Reviews: 39
Fresh: 35 | Rotten: 4

While not Miyazaki's best film, Ponyo is a visually stunning fairy tale that's a sweetly poetic treat for children of all ages.



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Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 94,682

My Rating

Movie Info

Acclaimed anime master Hayao Miyazaki returns for his ninth animated feature with Ponyo, which deals with a friendship between a five-year-old boy and a goldfish princess who yearns to be human. The daughter of the king of the ocean, Ponyo is no ordinary goldfish -- she has all the magic of the sea at her disposal. But when five-year-old Sosuke befriends the spunky little fish near the seaside home he shares with his mother and father, a special connection sparks between the two children, and

Mar 2, 2010


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All Critics (159) | Top Critics (39) | Fresh (146) | Rotten (13) | DVD (9)

Even when the film feels murky, Miyazaki's painterly eye keeps things afloat

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Newsday
Top Critic IconTop Critic

We're drawn under the waves of the sea to a hidden enclave of neon-hued aqualife more vibrant, surreal and enchanting than any of the floating 3D whatsits in 'Avatar'.

February 16, 2010 Full Review Source: Time Out | Comment (1)
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Children will love this. It's classic Miyazaki.

August 27, 2009 Full Review Source: MovieTime, ABC Radio National
MovieTime, ABC Radio National
Top Critic IconTop Critic

One of the anime master's weaker efforts.

August 20, 2009 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader | Comments (12)
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Ponyo hasn't changed my mind about Miyazaki. But I'm willing to accept and enjoy this little window into the dream life of fish.

August 19, 2009 Full Review Source: | Comments (4)
Top Critic IconTop Critic

I liked that it wasn't bound by the conventions of normal storytelling and I loved seeing a film that is just hand drawn animation.

August 17, 2009 Full Review Source: At the Movies
At the Movies
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Not as profound as Miyazaki's other works, but the fact that an animated children's film actually has the brains to go for larger, resonant themes is worth congratulation.

April 21, 2014 Full Review Source: Movie Mezzanine
Movie Mezzanine

Miyazaki's ode to motherhood; the sea is the greatest nurturer of all. The underwater sequences are some of Ghibli's most luminous, complex reflections of nature's teeming beauty.

May 6, 2013 Full Review Source: Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)
Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)

The fantasy elements are so seamlessly blended with real elements. There is very little disbelief by the characters, and you want to believe yourself by the end.

July 22, 2012 Full Review Source: 7M Pictures
7M Pictures

Apart from the ecofriendly message, we have, as always, Miyazaki's magnificently inventive animation, which is almost enough to carry the day.

February 17, 2012 Full Review Source: Time Out Chicago
Time Out Chicago

There's still plenty of gorgeous eye-candy to keep adults going if they've taken their kids along for some unthreatening entertainment.

July 14, 2011 Full Review Source: Digital Spy
Digital Spy

Let's say you have a five-year-old child who's not all caught up in the details of boring, mundane reality. Here's that kid's new favorite movie.

April 4, 2011 Full Review Source:

For once, Japan's animation maestro is all at sea.

December 29, 2010 Full Review Source: | Comment (1)

A sweet love story about a boy and his fish, Ponyo is a weird yet wonderful children's fantasy, and marks another milestone in the career of Hayao Miyazaki.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Matt's Movie Reviews
Matt's Movie Reviews

A charming hand-drawn Japanese spin on Hans Christian Andersen's Little Mermaid.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

His antediluvian underwater creatures are gorgeous, a world removed from Finding Nemo, his sweeping tides and smashing tsunamis are a patchwork of colour and technique.

July 4, 2010 Full Review Source: Screenwize

That rare children's movie that actually taps into the unique imaginative power of a child's mind.

June 15, 2010 Full Review Source: DCist

Though far from Studio Ghibli's best film, Ponyo is still a magical experience.

April 15, 2010 Full Review Source: Fan The Fire
Fan The Fire

Significantly, Miyazaki creates realistic, valid and memorably attractive characters, such as the heroic-vulnerable-patient-nurturing-tough mother, Tina Fey.

April 13, 2010 Full Review Source: Entertainment Insiders
Entertainment Insiders

... this gentle storybook film is a simple, sweet tale animated with a delicacy unique to animated features.

March 25, 2010 Full Review Source:

While the animation in Ponyo is simplistic, even crude by many people's standards, there is no denying the film's dazzling color palette, masterful attention to detail and dizzying imagination.

March 19, 2010 Full Review Source: | Comments (2)

Shouldn't an anime' auteur of Hayao Miyazaki's stature avoid a story about a sea creature interacting with a human child? Isn't that "Finding Nemo?"

March 18, 2010 Full Review Source: Cinema Signals | Comments (15)
Cinema Signals

Beautiful and thoughtful, Miyazaki once again shows he's a master of taking the magical and making it endearing.

March 16, 2010 Full Review Source: Movie Views

Doesn't commit itself to mining our deeper feelings, and as such it feels much more geared to younger viewers; but with that comes dazzling displays of drawn and painted visuals, full of color, life.

March 12, 2010 Full Review Source: Window to the Movies
Window to the Movies

Though Ponyo contains images so haunting that it's hard to dismiss altogether, this is one of Miyazaki's feeblest efforts.

February 16, 2010 Full Review Source: Daily Mail [UK] | Comments (3)
Daily Mail [UK]

Audience Reviews for Ponyo

Welcome To A World Where Anything Is Possible.

Great Animated Film! The film is simultaneously stunning in its beauty and endearing in its simplicity, unrestrained enthusiasm walking the edge between inspired brilliance and mind-addling delirium. At its core, its about love, that between the family members of Koichi, Lisa and Sosuke, and especially between mother and son. More so, it's about the love between the boy and his new pet fish which he christened Ponyo, and I tell you Ponyo herself has enough cuteness in her to beat the likes of Bolt, WallE and Eve all hands down. Characterization here is top notch, and it's hard not to fall in love with Ponyo, in whichever form adopted, especially when she's such a playful being who doesn't hide her emotions - if she's upset with you, either she turns away or you could expect a jet stream come spewing from her mouth into your face! Like a modern day fairytale, the film tells a timeless story of friendship and love that will surely be cherished in years to come.

The son of a sailor, 5-year old Sosuke lives a quiet life on an oceanside cliff with his mother Lisa. One fateful day, he finds a beautiful goldfish trapped in a bottle on the beach and upon rescuing her, names her Ponyo. But she is no ordinary goldfish. The daughter of a masterful wizard and a sea goddess, Ponyo uses her father's magic to transform herself into a young girl and quickly falls in love with Sosuke, but the use of such powerful sorcery causes a dangerous imbalance in the world. As the moon steadily draws nearer to the earth and Ponyo's father sends the ocean's mighty waves to find his daughter, the two children embark on an adventure of a lifetime to save the world and fulfill Ponyo's dreams of becoming human.
April 1, 2014
Manu Gino

Super Reviewer

A very adorable and visually beautiful hand-drawn animation by master Hayao Miyazaki, who goes for a more innocent and simpler approach for this story instead of delivering an epic of environmental message like some of his more memorable works.
January 30, 2014

Super Reviewer

A cute, magical, and visually enthralling 'The Little Mermaid'-esque fairy tale from the master himself, Hayao Miyazaki. A sweet and invigorating ride for all ages.
August 3, 2013
Christopher Heim

Super Reviewer

For American animated movies, the forefront of this genre is obviously Pixar. The studio manages to attract children and adults with its great storytelling, gorgeous and fluid animation, and memorable characters... Hayao Miyazaki is arguably on the same caliber as Pixar.

If "Ponyo" were a well of imagination, it would be shooting up water all over the place. It's overflowing with very diverse, strange, and unique imaginative settings, effects, and characters. See, the thing about Pixar is how they take stories that have occurred to adults and place them upon cute animals, children, or children-friendly protagonists. The journey these characters take are tweaked to appeal to children but "Ponyo"... wow, everything is created from the imaginative vision and mind of a child.
There's creepy imagery and strange concepts going on, but "Ponyo" is entertaining throughout. The transition from the Japanese voice actors to the American? Almost flawless. Great move to get professional A-list actors to substitute for the original voice actors -- I wouldn't even know if the Japanese version or American is better. The only problem I had with this movie is that though it is visually spectacular, it could've been MORE entertaining but other then that, "Ponyo" is one of those animated movies that any child and adult will willingly invest their attention to.
March 10, 2012
Albert Kim

Super Reviewer

    1. Lisa (English Version): So, what's your mother like?
    2. Ponyo (English Version): She's big and BEAUTIFUL!!! But, she can be very scary.
    3. Sosuke (English Version): Just like my Mom!
    – Submitted by Bram S (21 months ago)
    1. Gran Mamare (English Version): [upon seeing Ponyo] Ugh! it has a real face on it! Throw it back into the sea before it causes a tsunami!
    – Submitted by Alan Torres Dwyer B (2 years ago)
    1. Ponyo (English Version): HAM!
    – Submitted by Alan Torres Dwyer B (2 years ago)
    1. Ponyo (English Version): [Holding out sandwiches to woman on boat] Here, take these!
    2. Sosuke: She already ate all the ham out of those.
    – Submitted by Maeve K (3 years ago)
    1. Lisa (English Version): [Looking over shoulder at tsunami] Wow, that wave is really after us.
    – Submitted by Maeve K (3 years ago)
    1. Lisa (English Version): I say we start with dessert and go backwards. It's been a backwards kind of day!
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
View all quotes (7)

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Foreign Titles

  • Ponyo - Das große Abenteuer am Meer (DE)
  • Ponyo (Gake no ue no Ponyo) (UK)
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