Is Ponyo Based on a True Story?

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The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen is credited as the basis for Hayao Miyazaki’s new animated picture Ponyo in the production notes, however Miyazaki informed reporters that his inspiration was more abstract than a specific narrative.

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Ponyo is a goldfish that departs the aquatic realm to investigate the human realm, but his transformation into a human disturbs nature’s equilibrium.

“It’s incredibly hard to define what becomes the motive or instigation to do a picture,” Miyazaki remarked in a press conference in Beverly Hills, Calif., last month, speaking via a translator. “I get the impression that I am exploring my subconscious with a fishing net, and that I have caught a goldfish in that net. That was the impetus for beginning to produce this film.”

When you delve a bit deeper into Miyazaki’s mind, you’ll discover that the initial idea for the film was not even a goldfish. The filmmaker couldn’t recall the title of the narrative, but he began Ponyo with a frog narrative for youngsters.

“At the beginning, there was a children’s book geared at tiny children that offered me a suggestion,” Miyazaki remarked. “I was considering utilizing that as the starting point for my novel, but there was a frog in there. However, as I worked on the tale, it evolved into something quite different from the original children’s book. As a result, I didn’t follow that path. However, I informed the author of that children’s book that that was a foreshadowing for this film.”

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Of course, Miyazaki is the well-known Japanese animator and also known as the co-founder of Studio Ghibli, best known in the West for Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away, the first anime film to receive an Academy Award in 2001. He is really talented in the major of animation. 

In Ponyo, Miyazaki claimed he was cautious not to tread on the toes of Disney’s own rendition of The Little Mermaid. “I viewed the Little Mermaid DVD when it was initially presented to me many years ago, but I haven’t viewed it since,” Miyazaki stated. “I didn’t watch it on purpose when shooting this film.”

Ponyo’s activities produce tremendous storms that endanger mankind, reflecting more current environmental viewpoints than the Disney picture. Miyazaki wants his young audience to be environmentally conscious. “I think the most important thing is that children grow up in such an atmosphere, they learn to appreciate it, and they like living in it,” he remarked.

Ponyo’s parents must fix the imbalance produced by their daughter, thus he also has a message for them. “I believe the most essential thing is that parents and children see each other as really valuable and precious,” Miyazaki remarked. “I believe it’s ok if they can get that out of the movie.”

Do you think that Ponyo is based on a true story? The film is good for children, isn’t it? Leave your comments here and we can discuss more about all things in the anime world together!