What is the charm of ‘Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea’? The ‘nemesis’ is Totoro!

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Hayao Miyazaki’s animated movie “Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea” (released in 2008) will be broadcast on “Friday Road Show” (NTV) from 9 pm today. It’s a popular work that has exceeded the box office revenue of 15 billion yen, but it seems that some people haven’t seen it yet … I will explain the charm of this work and the background related to “My Neighbor Totoro”.

Mermaid Princess + modern Japanese port town

“Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea” is set in a seaside town with abundant nature. A 5-year-old boy, Sosuke, who lives in a house on a cliff, helps a fish cub, Ponyo, who is in trouble in a bottle and is drawn to each other. However, Ponyo is taken back to the sea. Ponyo, who thought he wanted to be a human, escaped and reunited with Sosuke, despite the raging sea.

In a word, it is the story of “Happy Mermaid Princess”. At the beginning of the pamphlet, Director Miyazaki explains, “The story of Ponyo, a fish cub living in the sea, who wants to live with Sosuke, a human being, and goes through selfishness.” While conscious of Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid” and eliminating the Christian colour, the stage is set in a modern Japanese port city.

Director Miyazaki devised the concept for this film at Tomonoura in Fukuyama City, Hiroshima Prefecture. A port town that has been responsible for the economy of Setouchi since ancient times. When a person who knows the Seto Inland Sea sees the sea expressed in animation, various things may be seen.

“I want to create a character that surpasses Totoro”

The reason why Director Miyazaki stayed in Tomonoura is explained by Toshio Suzuki, the producer of the film, in his book “Thinking of a Genius” (Bunshu Shinsho). After the animated movie “Howl’s Moving Castle” (released in 2004), he was invited by an NPO to Tomonoura when he saw the tired director Miyazaki and thought he needed a new environment. At first, Director Miyazaki was reluctant, but he liked Tomonoura and lived while working for two months.

The name of the main character, Sosuke, comes from Natsume Soseki’s “Gate”, which caught my eye at a second-hand bookstore on the outskirts of the town. The original title of “Ponyo on the Cliff” was “Sosuke under the Cliff”. In that sense, Sosuke and Ponyo may be two sides of the same coin.

First, the setting where “the main character comes from the sea” was decided, and then Director Miyazaki said, “I want to make a character that surpasses Totoro.” Of course, it will be difficult, but the toy that I happened to see, such as a goldfish watering can, was a hint, and the name was changed to “Ponyo” because it felt like “Ponyo” when I touched it.

Ponyo’s “nemesis (rival)” was Totoro. With that said, there are scenes where Ponyo’s eyes look like Totoro’s… If you imagine various things, isn’t there something that is very tasty?

Three highlights The great taste of real-time viewing

The charm of this work … There are various “highlights”, but I will focus on three.

The first is the expression of various seas and water. At the time of the release, there was even a story that the child cried because he was afraid of the depiction of the waves because the waves had “eyes”. However, sometimes the sea is beautiful, and when it goes wild, it can easily kill people, so it is scary. And while drawing a fantastically submerged town, it seems that the problem of marine debris is also casually woven into it.

The second is Kizuna. Not only Sosuke and Ponyo but also the parent-child relationship is skillfully drawn. If the relationship between “Sousuke and mother” is “moving on the front”, then “Ponyo and parents” is in contrast to “quiet on the back”. There are other scenes that make you feel the richness of human relationships that is different from the city.

The third is a well-known theme song that “I’ve heard” even if I haven’t seen the work. The theme song was strongly used in the promotion of the same work, and the CD sold as well as exploded. In the sense that the theme song is accepted by children, it is similar to “Sanpo” in “My Neighbor Totoro”.

While pursuing workability, Ghibli’s works will please you even after you have finished watching them, taking into consideration entertainment. Nowadays, it is normal to write your impressions on SNS while watching TV. It’s a big deal, so don’t forget to watch it in real-time instead of recording it.

It’s an era when something is squeaky, but I want you to see a happy story and calm your mind.

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