Ponyo Trailer is a Throwback to Good 80’s Animation

Published 6 years ago by , Updated February 10th, 2012 at 7:52 am,

ponyo header Ponyo Trailer is a Throwback to Good 80’s Animation

A couple of months ago, Screen Rant reported on Disney’s attempt to bring back hand drawn 2-D animation with The Princess and the Frog. Well, Japan has beat them to the punch – more specifically acclaimed and brilliant animation director Hayao Miyazaki has beat them to it – with his latest offering Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea, or Ponyo as it is called in the U.S.

Ponyo is the story of a girl/goldfish that lives underwater and runs away from home and her dad Fujimoto. She is rescued by a boy, Ssuke, and he gives her the name Ponyo ; meanwhile her dad desperately searches for her to bring her home. Fujimoto enlists the help of the oceans and her mother, Granmammare, to help find Ponyo, while her sisters help her to use her father’s magic to become human and be with Ssuke.

The last animated movie I saw from Miyazaki was Spirited Away, for which he won an Oscar, and it was enchantingly beautiful and entertaining. Ponyo looks to be the same way and it was recently screened at Comic Con for a few hundred lucky individual (of which I was not one).  We do, however, have the trailer for you to check out below.


Ponyo Official Trailer (HD)

There are some good voices being used as well: Frankie Jonas, Noah Cyrus, Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon, Tina Fey, Cloris Leachman, Liam Neeson, Lily Tomlin, and Betty White. All good voice actors, especially Neeson, and they should really help make the film experience more enjoyable.

I really like the look of the animation; probably more than some of the more recent Disney 2-D animated movies. Mulan, Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Little Mermaid, these were all really good films and I liked the hand drawn animation but Ponyo reminds me more of the classic 80′s Japanese cartoons I grew up watching.  Inspector Gagdet, Thundercats, Heathcliff: I could continue listing them off but I think you follow me.

ponyo collage Ponyo Trailer is a Throwback to Good 80’s Animation

The story is very similar to The Little Mermaid but there’s nothing wrong with that because that was a good story for kids. Reportedly, Ponyo falls in love with Ssuke, which is fine and all but they are supposed to be 5 year old kids so I’m not quite sure what to think about that. But, barring anything completely inappropriate being in the film, I don’t see why kids and their parents would be entertained by what they see in Ponyo.

Do you like this throwback style animation returning to the big screen in Ponyo or do you prefer the more CGI style movies of more recent times?

Ponyo opens in US theaters August 14, 2009.

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  1. I wouldn’t really say Miyazaki “beat Disney to the punch”
    Disney returning to cell animated features is a change in direction for them since they’ve been doing mainly cgi films for the last several years.
    But for japan this is nothing new. There have barely been any japanese full cgi-animated films, certainly not any made by Miyazaki.
    I don’t think it’s a very fair comparison to make, honestly.

  2. I completely agree with Xigbar. Another thing, Heathcliff, Inspector Gadget and Thundercats are NOT Japanese cartoons/anime. Some may have asian artists but it still doesn’t make it anime in any way, shape or form. Aside from all that I still like your post and yes, Ponyo does remind me of the classic 80′s cartoons and is a fantastic family film. Also, I’m glad to see Disney is doing 2D again with The Princess and The Frog. I saw the trailer today is it is beautiful. Also, I prefer both CGI/3D and 2D. As long as it’s good I’m happy.

    Thank you for your

    • Sorry to bump an old thread, but…

      Inspector gadget may have been written and storyboarded by an international collaboration, but it’s plain as day that the show was animated in Tokyo, Japan. By Studio Shinsha.

      Nearly every single episode, save for two or three that were done in Taiwan. The animation is Japanese. Oh yes.

  3. @Riz – You’re right they are not Japanese cartoons. Post modified to reflect that. HOwever, I never said they were like Japanese anime. Anime is a different animal altogether and Ponyo is nothing like it.

    Also, Heathcliff and Inspctor Gadget were produced by DiC which had Japanese ties, that’s why I had them on my mind.

  4. I grew up in the 80s, watching that style of animation every single day of my life. I must admit I love CGI movies, but from time to time I miss the old hand drawn movies and cartoons. I wish the new Astro Boy movie had been done using that style.
    I’ll try to watch Ponyo when it comes out, looks goood.

  5. Hey, it’s Finding Little Nemo the Mermaid… :-D

  6. Both The Princess and the Frog and Ponyo are a throwback to tradition relatively, in the context of their studio’s recent output – the features, at least. If the teaser is anything to go by, The Princess will be like most recent so-called 2D big-budget features in that that only the human/animal characters are animated in 2D – and even this is shaded to give it the appearance of 3D – while nearly everything else is done in 3D, sometimes with painted textures or cel-shading so as to better integrate it. This is, however, still a return to tradition for Disney, as they’ve been making only fully 3D features for a while.

    Ponyo, meanwhile, uses no 3D or CGI effects whatsoever: it uses digital ink and paint, of course, as real cels aren’t made any more (not in the quantity needed to make a feature film using them, at least) but abstains from using any of the effects and shortcuts that this makes possible. This a return to basics even by Ghibli’s standards, as at least in terms of features – I haven’t seen enough of their short films to tell – they haven’t made one completely free from such effects since at least as far back as Porco Rosso in the early ’90s. The graphical style of the animation – bright, bold colours and little shading – goes back further than that, being most akin to the Panda Kopanda films and World Masterpiece Theatre series of the ’70s, and yet the film is simultaneously very forward looking in that the backgrounds are in pencil crayon rather than paint, a way of doing things that Miyazaki first and to my knowledge only previously employed in 2002′s Koro no Daisanpo. So they are both Januses of films: looking to the past to find things that are presently disregarded and combining these with things that didn’t exist in that past to create something which appears new and fresh and that will help to rejuvenate big-budget, mainstream animation from it’s currently stale state to ensure its survival for the future.

  7. I’d say this film is more like “classic” Miyazaki (My Neighbor Totoro, Nausicaa of the Wind) than anything else in the animation industry. You really can’t compare Miyazaki to any thing other than himself. His films are so distinctive, imaginative and powerful that they are almost a genre unto themselves. Comparing the “simplicity” of 80s animation really doesn’t work in relation to Studio Ghibli’s films — it’s like saying a Matisse is the same as a preschool child’s artwork because they both used the same colors and supplies.

    I’ve seen Ponyo on the Cliff with bad English subtitles and in low YouTube quality. I was blown away. It had everything I love in film and more. Definitely my favorite Miyasaki film of all time. Can’t wait to see it for real.

  8. @Paul
    I really don’t want to be seen as constantly disagreeing with you, but anime refers to japanese cartoons in general, not just the stereotypical kind with big spikey hair and giant eyes.
    Ponyo IS an anime film.

  9. @Xigbar – disagree all you want bud or budette, not sure which you are :) YOu don’t hurt my feelings, and I take constructive criticism quite well and encourage debate.

    I’m familar with Japanese cartoons but not anime in general. It’s like any other type of art, I know what I like to watch and look at and that’s about it. Is there such a thing as American anime (or any other country for that matter?)

  10. wow!!!
    I will watch this when it comes out here in america
    And, I loved Spirited away :)

    and Anime is Basically Cartoons made in Japan

  11. @Paul
    That’s a subject of much debate. There are shows that are clearly anime influenced but really only copy the art style. And the most prevelant cliches, like speedline backgrounds. The only one I’ve ever seen that actually captures the wit, depth, engaging characters and well-done fight scenes is a series called Avatar: The Last Airbender.

    But I stand on the side of the fence that says it still isn’t technically anime, just a very close facimile