Japanese Anime is always excellent, particularly the artwork. The theater was packed with little'uns and they were entranced from the get-go. I can see why Walt Disney is the distributor. I smiled as I noticed that parts of the musical soundtrack resembled Richard Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries particularly during Ponyo's ride on the waves of a tsunami.

The director, Hayao Miyazaki is already well known to American fans because he brought us "Princess Mononoke" and "Spirited Away."

As I said, "Gake no ue no Ponyo" is Anime, so of course the children are darling, the parents are laudable, and the little boy has to EARN his reward, it isn't just magically dumped on him. I LIKED that!

The English version has a terrific voice cast:
  • Liam Neesen ("The Chosen") is Ponyo's father
  • Cate Blanchett ("Elizabeth") is her mother
  • Tina Fey ("Baby Mama") is the little boy's mother
  • Matt Damon ("The Bourne" trilogy) is the little boy's father
  • Noah Cyrus (sister of Miley "Hannah Montana") voices Ponyo
  • Frankie Jonas (yes, he's one of the Jonas Brothers) is Sosuke, our brave little boy
  • Cloris Leachman, Betty White and Lily Tomlin are three of the old gals in the senior center.

I enjoyed the quirky little car and was reminded once again that the Japanese drive on the left-hand side of the road, so the steering wheel wasn't where I expected. Also, I appreciated seeing a woman who was confident, loving and resourceful (although her body language when her husband has to go back to sea is very, very funny and realistic). This terrific mother loves her son and trusts him. In return, he is respectful and trustworthy. What a concept!