Universal acclaim - based on 29 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 29
  2. Negative: 0 out of 29
  1. Reviewed by: Deborah Young
    It is a work of great fantasy and charm that will delight children ages 3 to 100.
  2. 100
    There is a word to describe Ponyo, and that word is magical. This poetic, visually breathtaking work by the greatest of all animators has such deep charm that adults and children will both be touched.
  3. One of Miyazaki's most kid-accessible movies, but still an unnerving film.
  4. 100
    Best of all, Ponyo never ceases to be a genuine odyssey in short pants.
  5. Don't tell Walt Disney, but Hayao Miyazaki really holds the keys to the magic kingdom.
  6. 100
    You'll be planning to see Ponyo twice before you've finished seeing it once. Five minutes into this magical film you'll be making lists of the individuals of every age you can expose to the very special mixture of fantasy and folklore, adventure and affection.
  7. The latest masterwork from Hayao Miyazaki, places emphasis on the natural world, its tumults and fragility.
  8. 100
    It’s essentially a stroll through a fantastically detailed pastel world, in which the plot is little more than an excuse for Miyazaki to dive into a world teeming with colorful (and sometimes prehistoric) life.
  9. Reviewed by: Mark Fulton
    Imagination spills across the screen in a bold, undeniable presence.
  10. Reviewed by: Ronnie Scheib
    Though targeted at tots, Ponyo may appeal most to jaded adults thirsty for wondrous beauty and unpackaged innocence
  11. Reviewed by: Joanne Kaufman
    If the plot of Ponyo is small as a minnow, its themes--the relationship between parent and child, between the young and the elderly, between friends, between man and nature--are large and fully realized.
  12. Reviewed by: Dan Kois
    Ponyo isn't Hayao Miyazaki's greatest film -- that would be a tall order in a 30-year feature career that includes the Oscar-winning "Spirited Away" -- but his beautiful, quirky fable has magic other children's movies can't touch.
  13. 88
    Miyazaki works marvels. Sit back and behold.
  14. 88
    This environmentally themed, very loose version of Hans Christian Andersen's "Little Mermaid" is never going to be mistaken for Disney's musical of the same name.
  15. You watch a Miyazaki film with the pie-eyed, gape-mouthed awe of a child being read the most fantastic story and suddenly transported to places previously beyond the limits of imagination. It's quite a trip.
  16. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Miyazaki creates fascinating, fluid and whimsical scenarios.
  17. Traditional in the best sense.
  18. 83
    An entertaining and fascinating film.
  19. Liam Neeson has gravely splendid pipes as Ponyo’s father, a once-human wizard who lives underwater and despises humankind for polluting the planet.
  20. Reviewed by: Scott Foundas
    It's a movie for anyone who, like Miyazaki himself, can still happily commune with his inner five-year-old.
  21. 78
    Ponyo is another conceptually and thrilingly original masterstroke from an animator who long ago left Walt Disney in the dust.
  22. 75
    Even by Miyazaki standards, Ponyo makes less narrative sense than it should, and the pat ending is a bit of a letdown.
  23. 75
    A movie loaded with strange delights.
  24. 75
    My sense is that adults will be more taken with Ponyo than their offspring.
  25. Reviewed by: Alan Niester
    In short, it's very much a charming kids' film, created by a master of animation.
  26. Compared to "My Neighbor Totoro" and "Kiki's Delivery Service," this is one of the anime master's weaker efforts.
  27. Trippy in the right way, and wholly enchanting.
  28. 50
    His (Miyazaki) stories, and often his character design, just leave me cold. I know I'm supposed to be magically transported by his fanciful tales and his whimsical grandiosity, but they make me listless.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 203 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 65 out of 81
  2. Negative: 5 out of 81
  1. Jan 5, 2012
    Ponyo is sweet, elegant, and innocent. With probably the best animation in Miyazaki's career. Ponyo has so much heart and a rich story. You have to think who would hate it. I give this movie 94%. Full Review »
  2. NeilR
    Aug 15, 2009
    Miyazaki's genius reached its height in SPIRITED AWAY. Unfortunately, this was also the stage at which The Disney Company became more involved in Studio Ghibli. Sadly, nothing from Miyazaki has been the same ever since -- not the artistry, characterization, story-lines or philosophy. Luckily Joe Hisaishi still holds up his end with a brilliant score that falters only with the film's horrific end-title music. The song "Ponyo" might give a shark heartburn. PONYO is earnest and very pretty, but too predictable in its plot and too random in its attention to detail to satisfy this viewer. Great studios sometimes bring masterworks to Disney. Too often, today's Disney dumbs 'em down, as it did so well with its awful adaptation of clips from PLANET EARTH, titled only -- EARTH. To be fair, Miyazki has the right to craft a film exclusively for children, however, MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO did just that --with artistry and reasonable sophistication. A mediocre film from a master makes one feel cheated, for it is the filmmaker who teaches and engages the audience. The market should never, ever drive= a great filmmaker's choices. Unfortunately, that's exactly what happened with PONYO. Full Review »
  3. Nov 10, 2012
    Somehow, the word "charming" just doesn't say it. Unbearably cute and sweet, but also deeply beautiful at times. And, interestingly enough, while watching this I stumbled upon some of the most subtle, unexpected and delightfully out-of-place humor that I've ever had the pleasure of encountering in all my years of watching movies. And that factor of surprise makes these slipped in little jokes all the more funny. I would even go so far as to say that there are some moments in Ponyo that are hilarious. Also, one thing I love about Hayao Miyazaki is that, no matter how unrealistic or fantastic his stories get, he never explains any of it. None of the fable-like creatures or enchanted play lands are rationalized or given credibility. They simply exist, and I find that wonderful. I'm glad that he approaches his animation that way, and I'm glad that he made no exception in Ponyo. It's kind. It's warm. And it is a treasure. Full Review »