Ponyo (Japanese: 崖の上のポニョ Hepburn: Gake no Ue no Ponyo?, literally "Ponyo on the Cliff"), initially titled in English as Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea, is a 2008 Japanese animated fantasy film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki and produced by Studio Ghibli. It is the eighth film Miyazaki directed for Ghibli, and his tenth overall. The film stars the voices of Tomoko Yamaguchi, Kazushige Nagashima, Yūki Amami, George Tokoro, Yuria Nara, Hiroki Doi, Rumi Hiiragi, Akiko Yano, Kazuko Yoshiyuki and Tomoko Naraoka. The plot centers on a goldfish named Ponyo who befriends a five-year-old human boy, Sōsuke, and wants to become a human girl. It was distributed in America by Disney.
Brunhilde is a fish-girl who lives with her father Fujimoto, a once-human wizard/scientist who now lives underwater, along with her numerous smaller sisters. One day, while she and her siblings are on an outing with their father in his four-flippered submarine, Brunhilde sneaks off and floats away on the back of a jellyfish. After an encounter with a fishing trawler (the net of which is scraping the trash-strewn bottom of the harbor), she ends up stuck in a glass jar. She drifts to the shore of a small fishing town and is found and rescued by a small boy named Sōsuke. Shattering the jar open with a nearby rock, Sōsuke cuts his finger in the process. Brunhilde licks his wound when he picks her up and the wound heals almost instantly, much to his surprise. After taking a great liking to her, and thinking her merely a goldfish, Sōsuke renames her Ponyo and promises to protect her forever. Meanwhile, a distraught Fujimoto searches frantically for his taken daughter. Because of his own bad memories of the human world, he believes that Sōsuke has kidnapped her and is in great danger, he calls his wave spirits to recover her. After the wave spirits retrieve Ponyo from Sōsuke, he is heartbroken. He goes home with his mother, Lisa, who tries to cheer him up, to no avail.
Back underwater, Ponyo and Fujimoto have an argument, during which Ponyo refuses to let her father call her by her birth-name, "Brunhilde". She declares her name to be Ponyo and voices her desire to become human, because she has started to fall in love with Sōsuke. Suddenly, using her magic, she forces herself to grow leg and arm-like appendages and start manifesting into a human, a power granted to her by the human blood she ingested when she licked Sōsuke's finger. Her alarmed father forces her to turn her back with some difficulty and goes to summon Ponyo's mother, Granmamare. Meanwhile, Ponyo, with the help of her sisters, breaks away from her father and in the chaos inadvertently uses his magic to make herself fully human. The huge amount of magic that she also inadvertently releases into the ocean causes an imbalance in the world, resulting in a huge tsunami. Running pell-mell over the waves of the storm, Ponyo goes back to catch up with Sōsuke, who is amazed and overjoyed to see her. Lisa is equally amazed, but takes Ponyo's transformation in stride, believing the world truly mysterious. Lisa, Sōsuke, and Ponyo wait out the storm at Sōsuke's house, where Ponyo learns of some of the things in the human world, much enchanted by these new experiences. Worried about the residents of the nursing home where she works, Lisa leaves to check up on them, promising Sōsuke that she will return as soon as possible.
Granmamare arrives at Fujimoto's submarine. On her way there, Sōsuke's father sees and recognizes her as the Goddess of Mercy. Fujimoto notices the moon appears to be falling out of its orbit and satellites are falling like shooting stars, symptoms of the dangerous imbalance of nature that now exists. Granmamare declares that if Sōsuke can pass a test, Ponyo can live as a human and the world order will be restored. A still-worried Fujimoto reminds her that if Sōsuke fails the test, Ponyo will turn into sea foam.
Sōsuke and Ponyo wake up to find that most of the land around the house has been covered by the ocean. Since it is impossible for Lisa to come home, the two children decide to find her. With the help of Ponyo's magic, they make Sōsuke's toy pop pop boat life-size and set out across the ocean.
Over the course of their journey, they see prehistoric fish swimming beneath them, and encounter several other evacuees in boats.
They head off into a forest where Ponyo begins to look tired, with her hair lowering, and then she falls asleep, but a few seconds later Sosuke tells Ponyo that he needs another candle which waked Ponyo up and also causes her to rub her eyes. After Sosuke checks the candle which is still hot Ponyo turns upside down infant of the candle and says "bye bye" as the candle goes out. So Sosuke tells Ponyo that he needs her to make the candle bigger, which Ponyo agrees and turns to Sosuke only to fall asleep again.
Sosuke then asks if Ponyo's ok as Ponyo wakes up again but falls asleep again but Sosuke wakes her up again and Ponyo does the magic only for the candle not to get bigger which confuses Sosuke. After that Ponyo falls asleep entirely and Sosuke can't wake her up so he pushes the boat only for it to shrink but Sosuke was able to drag Ponyo onto dry land before she could drown. Pony wakes up as Sosuke was happy that she isn't turn into a fish.
After walking for a little but longer but we see that Ponyo is beginning to get tired so tired that she sleep walking but she wakes up when they get to a tunnel. So they get to the tunnel where Sosuke asks if Ponyo is ok to which Ponyo says that she doesn't like this and Sosuke tells her not to let go of his hand. As they walk into the tunnel a weird scraping sound is heard as Ponyo's hand gets smaller. As we see that the sound is coming from Ponyo's bucket as we see that she has chicken feet and she is too small to carry the bucket above the ground. Eventually Sosuke turns and looks at Ponyo only for her to have now turned into a fish so Sosuke puts her in the water.
Eventually Ponyo leaps in the air and kisses Sosuke breaking the spell as the bubble bursts. Ponyo then grows a little bigger as she grows a small hand and a collar, and then stretches and becomes double the height as her hand grows to an arm. Then Ponyo turns into a little version of her about the size of Sosuke's head. Along with this is a pair of legs and bloomers and Ponyo's clothes. Eventually Ponyo then grows double the size and now double the size and has ears and a eyebrows. Along with this one of her feet is bigger then other along with that part of her bloomer. Then Ponyo's legs grow to full size but the top of her body especially her head a small still.
Then after that Ponyo's body except for her head is still small but her chest is bigger. Then Ponyo's head grows to normal size, though her chest is still big like last time, but then Ponyo's head grows bigger and then back to it's original size along with her chest. Ponyo now fully back to normal floats in the air above Sosuke.
After landing and finding Lisa's empty car, Ponyo and Sōsuke head into a tunnel. There Ponyo loses her human form and reverts into a fish from using too much of her magical power to help Sōsuke and others along the way. Meanwhile, Lisa and the residents of the nursing home are below the surface, but have been temporarily given the power to breathe underwater. Sōsuke and Ponyo encounter Fujimoto, but Sōsuke doesn't trust him due to Toki's claims and attempts to flee. However, Fujimoto captures them and takes them down to the protected nursing home.
Sōsuke is reunited with Lisa and meets Granmamare, with whom Lisa has just had a long private conversation. Granmamare asks Sōsuke if he can love Ponyo whether she is a fish or human. Sōsuke replies that he "loves all the Ponyos." Granmamare then tells her daughter that if she chooses to become human once and for all, she will have to give up her magical powers. Ponyo agrees to this, so Granmamare encases her in a bubble and gives her to Sōsuke, and tells him that kissing the bubble will complete Ponyo's transformation. The balance of nature is then restored, and the previously stranded ships head back to port, including Sōsuke's father's. Ponyo jumps high in the air and kisses Sōsuke, transforming back into a human.
Tomoko Yamaguchi as Lisa (リサ Risa?), a caretaker at the Himawari House. Tina Fey provides her voice in Disney's English adaptation. Kazushige Nagashima as Kōichi (耕一?), Lisa's husband and a captain of the Koganeimaru. He is voiced by Matt Damon in Disney's English adaptation. Yūki Amami as Granmamare (グランマンマーレ Guranmanmāre?), a giant being named the Mother of the Sea. In Disney's English adaptation, her voice is supplied by Cate Blanchett. George Tokoro as Fujimoto (フジモト?), a sorcerer who holds a resentment against humans. Fujimoto is described as not being a villain, but rather as an overly protective and xenophobic father for whom the more he tried to intervene the more he pushed his daughter Ponyo away. Miyazaki considered this to be common among Japanese fathers in this day and age. In Disney's English adaptation, Fujimoto is voiced by Liam Neeson. Tokoro also provides the voice of the Suigyo (水魚?), Fujimoto's wave-like minions. Yuria Nara as Ponyo (ポニョ?), the daughter of Fujimoto and Granmamare initially named Brunnhilde (ブリュンヒルデ Buryunhirude?). Ponyo is voiced by Noah Cyrus in Disney's English adaptation. Hiroki Doi as Sōsuke (宗介?), a five-year-old boy and the son of Lisa and Kōichi, attending Himawari Elementary School ("Himawari" is the Japanese word for sunflower). Frankie Jonas provides his voice in Disney's English adaptation. Rumi Hiiragi as the Young Mother (婦人 Fujin?), a young woman in her 30s. In Disney's English adaptation, her voice is supplied by Mona Marshall (who is not credited for the role). Akiko Yano as Ponyo's younger sisters (ポニョの妹達 Ponyo no Imōto-tachi?). Kazuko Yoshiyuki as Toki (トキ?), a powerchair-using resident of the Himawari House. While she complains frequently and is a bit grumpy, she occasionally shows her independent-minded, heroic nature. In Disney's English adaptation, she is voiced by Lily Tomlin. Tomoko Naraoka as Yoshie (ヨシエ?), a resident of the Himawari House. In Disney's English adaptation, her voice is supplied by Betty White. Akiko Takeguchi as Noriko (範子?), a resident of the Himawari House. In Disney's English adaption, her voice is supplied by Cloris Leachman. The cast also includes Tokie Hidari as Kayo (カヨ?), a resident of the Himawari House and formerly a career woman as a youth, voiced by an uncredited Marsha Clark in Disney's English adaptation; Nippon Television announcer Shinichi Hatori voices The Announcer (アナウンサー Anaunsā?), a television news reporter who relays information about the hurricane; he is voiced by Kurt Knutsson in Disney's English adaptation. Emi Hiraoka and Nozomi Ōhashi voice Kumiko (クミコ?) and Karen (カレン?), attendants of Himawari Nursery School; their respective English voice actresses are Jennessa Rose and Colleen O'Shaughnessey, who are also uncredited.