Ponyo is the first Studio Ghibli movie that I didn’t instantly love.

The Cinematic Aficionado
4 min readJul 22, 2021


Ponyo tells the story of Ponyo, a young goldfish princess who wishes to become human after meeting Sōsuke.

The story is a fairly simple one, Ponyo and Sōsuke meet, and they go on this epic adventure after where Ponyo wants to become human.

Unlike other Studio Ghibli movies, there isn’t much underneath the surface and I wasn’t expecting the movie to be as simple as it was. And while simplicity is not a negative, I expected a but….more.

Voice Acting

Even though they are animated characters, Ponyo and Sōsuke have great chemistry and this comes from the talent of the actors playing them, Yuria Nara and Hiroki Doi both of which were children at the time they recorded their performances. They both bring across a sense of childlike wonder and joy to their characters.

There are so many recognizable names in the English cast and even though I watched the movie subbed, it is worth mentioning that it includes, Tina Fey, Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, and Betty White.


In every Studio Ghibli review that I do, I mention the themes of the movie and the message that it conveys and in this movie, the central theme is not as obvious. (I kid you not when I say I figured it out, I think, as I was writing this review.) It has to do with loving people for who they are and not the outward facade that they present. At the end of the movie, Sōsuke says that he loves “all of Ponyo.” Insinuating that it doesn’t matter to him whether she is a goldfish or a girl, he will care about her regardless, and that’s a nice life lesson to learn from a five-year-old.

I will say that the writing in this movie is not as layered as… Princess Mononoke for instance. They each have deeper motivations and story arcs, and the lack of it in this movie could do with the fact that the protagonist is a five-year-old boy. He sees the world simply and it’s refreshing to watch.


I say this in EVERY SINGLE review of a Studio Ghibli but the animation is STUNNING the use of colours for contrast and the fluidity of the animation.

The Cinematic Aficionado

Just a girl who gives reviews on some movies that she’s seen. Some may be old, some may be new. There’s good and bad too. http://www.thecinematicaficionado.com/