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.

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.