Why is Ponyo the low point of Miyazaki’s output, the only film of his that doesn’t attain the level of classic? It is wonderfully animated, bursting with energy and featuring a story that is never disingenuous and a heroine that is funny, cute, and breathtaking even. However, the film proved that Miyazaki was on a downward trajectory after Spirited Away. Repetition seen in Howl’s Moving Castle was on full display in Ponyo, a new movie that too often feels like a rehash, featuring characters that other than the title heroine, fail to connect, and a story that is muddled and often just strange. Ponyo is a fun film and a better one after repeated viewings—the problem is that such defenses do not have to be made for any of Miyazaki’s other works.