Critics Consensus

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



Total Count: 165


Audience Score

User Ratings: 97,400
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Ponyo Photos

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 Ponyo becomes determined to become human. Transforming into a little girl, Ponyo shows up at Sosuke's doorstep, delighted to make herself at home with her new land-dwelling family. But having a magical fish princess walking around on dry land begins setting the mystical balance of the world off kilter, and even though the innocent love Ponyo feels for her dear friend is strong, it will take some help from the greatest powers in the ocean to make things right again. ~ Jeremy Wheeler, Rovi


Cate Blanchett
as Gran Mamare
Matt Damon
as Koichi
Hiroki Doi
as Sosuke
Kurt Knutsson
as The Newscaster
Liam Neeson
as Fujimoto
Yuki Amami
as Granmammare
George Tokoro
as Fujimoto
Carlos Alazraqui
as Additional Voices
Bob Bergen
as Additional Voices
Johanna Braddy
as Additional Voices
Marsha Clarke
as Additional Voices
John Cygan
as Additional Voices
Jennifer Darling
as Additional Voices
Jennessa Rose
as Kumiko (English Version)
Madison Davenport
as Additional Voices
Courtnee Draper
as Additional Voices
Crispin Freeman
as Additional Voices
Jess Harnell
as Additional Voices
Ella Dale Lewis
as Additional Voices
Sherry Lynn
as Additional Voices
Danny Mann
as Additional Voices
Mona Marshall
as Additional Voices
Mickie T. McGowan
as Additional Voices
Laraine Newman
as Additional Voices
Colleen O'Shaughnessey
as Additional Voices
Jan Rabson
as Additional Voices
View All

News & Interviews for Ponyo

Critic Reviews for Ponyo

All Critics (165) | Top Critics (45) | Fresh (151) | Rotten (14)

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

    Jul 6, 2010 | Full Review…

    Rafer Guzman

    Top 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'.

    Feb 16, 2010 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    David Jenkins

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • As usual, Miyazaki treads a thin line between intuitive, unshackled fantasy and simply seeming to makes things up as he goes along, but there is never a dull moment in the film's imagery.

    Feb 16, 2010 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • An arresting work from an unmistakable film-making personality.

    Feb 16, 2010 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • It may be a feelgood story but it's the stunning animation and the director's imagination that take the eye.

    Feb 16, 2010 | Rating: 4/5
  • The underwater scenes are as rich and teeming as Miyazaki's boundless imagination; little Ponyo in her human form, joyfully wobbling around on her newly sprouted legs, is a pure delight.

    Feb 12, 2010 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Wendy Ide

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Ponyo

  • Feb 14, 2016
    Probably my least favorite of Miyazaki's films, mostly because this is just so damn weird. The story is badly explained, and the animation is uncharacteristically shitty at times (at least compared to Miyazaki's work in general, which is usually of the highest quality). The characters look like they're made of fucking Jello half the time. What really annoys me is despite how crazy, unusual, and magical all of the events of the movie are, no one seems to even give a shit. There are waves like 200 feet tall, ancient fish swimming everywhere, and a fish who turns into a girl, and no one even cares! Why does no one give a shit in this film about anything?! That's what really bothers me here, along with all of the other issues that plague this film.
    Stephen S Super Reviewer
  • Apr 08, 2012
    Ponyo does run a bit too long and treads into a million different directions at the same time, but it is a lush fairy tale filled with imagination and ingenuity. The entire affair seems to have been written and animated from the perspective of a child, with actions exaggerated, larger than life situations and fanciful images around every corner. The story lacks complete explanations of some points for audiences-maybe there is a problem in the American culture-but really, no bother. Ponyo can be both nightmarish and graceful, gorgeous to look at and perplexing all at the same time. It's about friendship which transcends looks, abilities, flaws or family.
    Jason V Super Reviewer
  • Jan 16, 2012
    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.
    Albert K Super Reviewer
  • Sep 22, 2011
    Sosuke: Mom! Ponyo came back, and she's a little girl now! "Welcome To A World Where Anything Is Possible." Ponyo, simply put, is one of the best animated films I have seen. It's a beautiful and overall delightful movie that is just a joy to watch. It kind of makes you feel like your five years old again. It sucks you in and you can't take your eyes off it. It is like watching another, better world. The film does what a lot of animated movies don't, in that it is as engrossing plot wise as it is visually. And that's saying a lot because visually this is a masterpiece. The story starts with a five year old boy, Sosuke, finding a gold fish in the ocean. He names it Ponyo and spends the say with it only to lose it at sea and that's when the real magic starts. The American version has a superb voice cast including Cate Blanchett, Liam Neeson, Matt Damon and Tina Fey. The film has enormous heart which is shown through the love of Sosuke and Ponyo. It isn't as confusing as I had expected, but it does have some elements of, "So what is going on?" I would expect kids to be infatuated with this movie though, purely because of the spectacle. Little kids don't need to understand every little detail of the plot, they just need something beautiful to look at and this is it. For adults, it has a lot of substance and makes for an extremely enjoyable hundred minutes. Family films don't come much better than this.
    Melvin W Super Reviewer

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