Ranked: Every Studio Ghibli Movie

16. Ponyo

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.

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