Ponyo ★★★★

Infinitely wonderful, sweet and innocent, vibrant and lush, Ponyo is another heartwarming addition to the Ghibli catalog. Like My Neighbor Totoro, it focuses less on grand narrative akin to Ghibli's Spirited Away or Howl's Moving Castle and instead opts for a more serene, meandering story of youth and innocence. Also similarly to Totoro it focuses more on nature, and the spirits that reside within it. A world that humans have no knowledge of and have unwittingly intruded on.

The story of the adorable young Sosuke and his newfound friend Ponyo is sweet through and through, with few moments of conflict or tension. These are the kinds of narratives that Ghibli and Miyazaki excel at so much - works that are compelling (and enjoyable for all ages) while not concerning or constraining themselves with traditional structure or situations. There's little reason to be concerned throughout, but you find yourself caught up in these adorable moments, like Sosuke and Ponyo zipping across the water on a toy boat - and your heart is just filled with joy.

While the animation is certainly less complex than other Ghibli films, it's certainly no less technically beautiful. The lack of complexity is made up for in beautiful landscapes, vibrant colors and buttery smooth motion.

I think I'll be coming back to this one less than others, but that doesn't make it any less wonderful. I love Ponyo!

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