Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea (FAQ)

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Q: When can I see it?

Release dates around the world:

  • Japan - 19 July 2008
  • Hong Kong - 17 January 2009
  • Italy - 20 March 2009
  • France - 8 April 2009
  • Spain - 24 April 2009
  • Netherlands - 23 July 2009
  • Israel - 30 July 2009
  • Turkey - 31 July 2009
  • USA - 14 August 2009
  • Australia - 27 August 2009
  • Portugal - 27 August 2009
  • UK - 5 February 2010

Q: What is the story?

Ponyo is a magical goldfish princess whose father is trying to rid the world of humans and return it to prehistoric times, when the ocean-dwellers ruled the world. Her mother is the Great Mother, the Sea.

Sosuke is a five year old boy who meets Ponyo when she washes up on the shore by the seaside house he shares with his mother Lisa, and whose father is often away at sea.

The growing closeness of Ponyo and Sosuke threatens to upset the delicate balance of nature.

Q: Where does it take place?

Tomo-no-Ura in Seto-naikai. Miyazaki spend a few months during 2005 in a rental house on a cliff after previously visiting the area during a company tour in 2004. He was inspired by the scenery to create the story for Ponyo.

Q: Is this Miyazaki's version of The Little Mermaid?

The storyline resembles certain aspects of Hans Christian Andersen's story:

  • The water-dwelling girl falls in love with a human and takes on human aspects to win his love.
  • She is in danger of reverting to sea foam if she fails to win his love.

But other aspects of the stories do not coincide at all, and Andersen's apparent Christian-religious moral fable is something that Miyazaki has taken pains to avoid in the past.

It is likely that Miyazaki used The Little Mermaid for inspiration in the same way he used Swift's Gulliver's Travels to inspire certain elements of Laputa.

Q: Is Sosuke based on Miyazaki's son?

Yes, Goro Miyazaki is the basis for Sosuke. According to Studio Ghibli President Toshio Suzuki the elder Miyazaki reflected seriously before choosing to use Goro as the model.