Generally speaking I’m not much of an anime lover; in fact I often find even the most lauded examples of Japanese animation to be immature and trite. There are a few select works which I can appreciate for their scope and imagination but generally speaking I tend to keep my distance. The work of Studio Ghibli is very much an exception to this rule and I greet any offering from the company with immense amounts of glee and anticipation. Whilst the company has stumbled on a few projects (My Neighbours The Yamadas and Tales From Earthsea aren’t particularly bad films, they’re just average in a pantheon of greatness) there track record at producing truly iconic and beautiful pieces of work is unbeatable.
One of the driving forces behind this quality is Hayao Miyazaki the septuagenarian co-found of Ghibli and a director of rare distinction. The creator of Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, My Neighbour Totoro and countless other films Miyazaki has produced some of the most magical and invigorating animated features to come out of Japan. Whilst Spirited Away and Howls Moving Castle used a combination of hand drawing and CGI his latest feature Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea adopted a back to basics approach. As such the film has been completed without the aid of CGI and is comprised fully of hand drawn cells, many drawn by Miyazaki himself. Apparently inspired by the work of Hans Christian Andersen and Japanese folklore and tells the story of a goldfish who desperately wants to be human and the five year old boy who befriends her.
The clip below is one of the first times we’ve been able to see the film in motion and despite the nature of the show itself it already seems to have the same kind of character and heart that typify the work of Hayao Miyazaki.