If it’s not plainly obvious at this point, I love Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli’s work. There’s a sense of adventure and excitement in the stories they produce, and even when it’s a dark story, the animation is always colorful and fun.
After watching Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (Yes, I know, not Ghibli, but made by many of the same people, so it counts), Laputa: Castle in the Sky, and Howl’s Moving Castle to the point of memorization, and enjoying Kiki’s Delivery Service with my kids, I decided I wanted to branch out and bring some of the lesser known Ghibli movies into my house for my family to enjoy. Hense I started the Great Studio Ghibli Hunt. During this time, I will be buying one movie a month, and I will review it here for you.
This doesn’t mean they’re all getting a review. I already own about 10 of them and IMHO, they are the more well-known ones that really need no review.
So today I’m going to start off with a family favorite… one that my wife and kids absolutely love, but honestly… is fairly low on my list of beloved Studio Ghibli movies.
Yes, I know… while technically not one of the lesser known Ghibli movies, I did kind of want to address this one as a way to start off.
So the story is basically about a little boy who lives near the ocean with his mom in Japan. The boy loves playing down by the water and one day stumbles across a tiny fish with an almost human face. This fish is Brinhylda, a daughter of… what I can only describe as an underwater alchemist. He keeps her safe in his lab, but eventually, she finds a way to escape and finds her way to the little boy.
Eventually, her father locates her and steals her back. However, she gets into his potions, sets off… some kind of a chain reaction that’s never well-explained, and throws nature out of balance.
At this point, Ponyo’s mother shows up. It’s revealed that… I guess she’s the Goddess of the Ocean. Apparently, the only way for the balance of nature to be restored is for the little boy to agree to love and care for Ponyo as she lives between to worlds. At the end, she transforms permanently into a human and… everything is back to normal.
Scratching your head yet? I’d be surprised if you weren’t. The major problem with Ponyo is the story telling. It’s definitely the weakest of the Ghibli movies thus far. Too little is explained and as a result, not a whole lot makes sense. It can be a little tough to follow and… well… let’s address the Elephant in the room.
It’s the Little Mermaid!!!
Pretty much. It’s a modern re-telling of the Little Mermaid. Honestly, that’s not a bad thing. I actually prefer this version to the bastardization of the original as told by Disney.
Let me just be clear on this, I don’t dislike this movie at all. I think it’s a great movie, but a great movie placed with legends. In essence, it’s so far the least great of a library of amazing movies.
Up Next will be When Marnie Was There.
The list of movies to recieve reviews are as follows:
Grave of the Fireflies
Whisper of the Heart
My Neighbors the Yamadas
The Cat Returns
Tales from Earthsea
From Up on Poppy Hill
The Wind Rises
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya
When Marnie Was There
Ronja, the Robber’s Daughter
I’ve already ordered When Marnie Was There and plan on watching it in short order. So if there’s one in particular you’d like to see out of the above list next month, let me know. I was planning on doing Porco Rosso, but I can change that!
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Catch you on the flip side!