Magical, as you would expect. It's almost funny how comprehensively Miyazaki annihilates every other animated film ever made. The man is a wizard. A bona fide miracle-worker.

Ponyo is about growing up -- a little girl who is smothered by her father, who does not care about the duties he must perform, who runs away to explore the world. All fine, but I'm a little uneasy about the ending. There is a 'marriage', where the 'husband' is tested to see if his devotion is genuine. If he is ready to be responsible, then Ponyo will lose her magical nature (read: 'innocence') and join the real world. If he isn't, and gives Ponyo back to her father, she will die and the world will end. I'm slightly uncomfortable with how little agency Ponyo has in this process. She is in a bucket passed from her father to her 'husband'. But maybe I am mental and read into things a bit too much.

The kiddy stuff is wonderful, but what is really special about the film is Lisa. A fully realised adult character in a children's film -- when do you ever see that? Perhaps the most affecting moment (of many) is when Sōsuke comforts his pissed-off mother after she learns that her husband has shipped out again without returning home. There is a tension in this adult marriage. The 'responsible husband' and 'caring wife' ideal set out between Sōsuke and Ponyo isn't without its problems once it becomes a living reality. You get distance. Husbands (and fathers) are too busy being responsible to look after their family. Perhaps Miyazaki has used this adult relationship to critique the idealism of the kiddy relationship? Am I just being mental?

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