The Hero's Journey: Ponyo

Exploring New Waters

My Articles about Ponyo:

My Ponyo Poem

The Determination of Ponyo

By: Madeline Husby


Deep in the blue water

Paced a young goldfish daughter.

She was plotting an escape

Up into the dry cape

But her father was outside the door

So she swam silent and he ignored.

Deep in the blue water

The father now sought her

The daughter was long gone

In a bucket she held on

The boy tucked her a bush

A secret, you mustn't look.

Deep in the blue water

Evil swam farther

The boy sat on a rock

The goldfish began to talk

The waves came and took the fish

The boy wanted her back, it was his wish.

Deep in the blue water

A dad caged his daughter

She wanted to be human

The boy’s friendship would be true then

She made limbs with great power

The father destroyed them, sour.

Deep in the blue water

Freedom the sisters brought her

Ponyo the goldfish escaped her cage

Her magic grew stronger with passion and rage

Fingers and toes appeared in an instant

She swam to the surface on a mission.

Deep in the blue water

The waves were getting farther

Receding into one

A storm had begun

Lightning whips and waves are crashing

Ponyo swings her arms, dashing.

Deep in the blue water

A father chases his daughter

She’s too quick

The road is slick

She finds her friend

The long drive ends.

Deep in the blue water

Trouble is getting hotter

But on land, Ponyo sleeps

Under a blanket in heaps

Her friend smiles, delighted

The goldfish princess and him-

a friendship ignited.

Why Ponyo Is A Hero

My hero is a goldfish princess named Ponyo, from the cartoon movie Ponyo. I picked her as a character because heroes have certain defining qualities that she displays as well. Heroes are determined, and they never give up. In the beginning of the movie, Ponyo is determined to explore the land above the sea, and become a human. Her father thinks this idea is terrible, and he cages her up and tries to diminish her spirit. But Ponyo keeps trying, and eventually she escapes and is able to live with her friend Sosuke. Heroes are also brave, and Ponyo is brave enough to stand up to her father, which takes courage. To be a hero, you must also know how to put others first, and whenever the town floods and Sosuke and Ponyo must set sail to find Sosuke’s mom, Ponyo uses her magic to help even though it tires her. Even when she feels weak, she continues to help Sosuke because she cares about him. Ponyo is also very optimistic, which may not be a constant heroic trait, but in her case she inspires people with her mindset to keep going, even when the going gets tough. Ponyo is a hero to me specifically because she inspires me to keep trying, even when the situation seems hopeless. If you believe in something, then keep trying until you achieve that goal. Ponyo is a true hero, to me and to others around her.

This is the Hero's Journey:

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This is Ponyo:

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Ponyo had a goal: to become a human. She wanted to be human so she and a human boy named Sosuke could be friends. The Hero's Journey of Ponyo reflects the steps and challenges she goes through to get where she wanted to go.

Status Quo

The movie starts with Ponyo's father Fujimoto maintaining the magic of the ocean. He is doing his job and keeping everything in balance, while off to the side his daughter Ponyo is planning an escape to the surface. From this scene the Status Quo is that Ponyo is a goldfish that wants to live up on the surface, and she rebels from her father.

The Call To Adventure

Ponyo floats to the surface under the shelter of a jellyfish, and then begins to swim on her own. But as she swims closer to land she gets caught in the net of a ship collecting trash. Stuck in a bottle she floats to the top and is freed by a boy named Sosuke. Sosuke frees her from the glass bottle, but he cuts a finger while doing it. Ponyo licks his blood, and she is magic so he is instantly healed. This taste of human blood will give Ponyo later on the power to become a human, and since Sosuke freed Ponyo a friendship is established between the two.

Assistance

Fujimoto realizes Ponyo has escaped, and he tries to find her. When he does he realizes that Ponyo has been "captured" by a human. Sosuke takes Ponyo to school with him. Some trouble occurs, which leads Sosuke to run from his mom and retreat to the shore of the ocean. Fujimoto's wave minions find them and flood the small shore, and in the chaos Sosuke loses Ponyo to Fujimoto who takes Ponyo back home. Back underwater, Ponyo is stuck in a bubble, and creates limbs. Fujimoto freaks out, suppresses Ponyo's power and makes her go to sleep. When he leave the room Ponyo's sisters free Ponyo and she successfully creates makeshift arms and legs.

Departure

After beings freed by her sisters and having gotten strange arms and legs but nonetheless still limbs, Ponyo floods Fujimoto's room and swims off to where he keeps his magic elixirs. Countless ocean creatures swim in the magic liquid, Ponyo's sisters included, who turn into fish. Ponyo gets in the powerful magic and becomes a human girl, and she rides on the back of the magic fish to the surface.

Trials

A huge storm is going on when Ponyo reaches the surface, and it is most likely caused by her and her release of the magic elixirs. Sosuke and his mom are driving through crazy waves trying to get home, and Sosuke spots Ponyo from the car window running atop the waves. He doesn't know it's Ponyo because she looks like a little girl, so he tells his mom that he saw a small girl and the car pulls over. Ponyo finds Sosuke, he realizes it's Ponyo, and since the waves are getting stronger the mom carries both the kids inside.

Approach

There is no power in the house, so Ponyo carries around a light. The mom asks Ponyo to follow her to the generator, where the mom attempts to fix it and fails. Ponyo points out the problem, but the mom doesn't believe her. Ponyo then points it out again, and uses her magic to solve the problem. Sosuke is amazed that Ponyo has powers and that she helped them through the power outage. This is the approach because Ponyo helped conquer the power outage and is getting better at her magic powers. She also proved that she was a good helper.

Crisis

Fujimoto realizes what Ponyo has done and goes to talk to Ponyo's mother, Granmamare, an ocean spirit. He says that Ponyo is getting stronger, and her actions to be with Sosuke have thrown everything out of balance. The crisis is revealed as he explains that the moon is getting closer to the earth and surging the tides. Fujimoto asks Granmamare what they should do, but she calmly explains that if Ponyo and Sosuke pass a test of true love, everything will go back to normal.

Treasure

Over the night Sosuke's mom had left to go check on the seniors at the senior center, which was where she worked. Ponyo and Sosuke wake up to a flooded world, and decide that they need to go find Sosuke's mom. However, they don't have a boat, and Sosuke was feeling sad about this when Ponyo pointed out his toy boat. Sosuke explained that it was to small to sail in, but Ponyo used her powers to make it bigger. This boat was the treasure, and they hopped in and began to sail to find Sosuke's mom.

Result

After hours of sailing Ponyo is exhausted, and as they reach a part of the road that isn't flooded the boat begins to shrink as her magic wears off. On this dry road Sosuke spots his mom's car, and he runs to it calling for her but she is not there. Ponyo cheers him up and they keep walking hand in hand. They reach a dark tunnel, and as they walk through Ponyo, tired, becomes a fish again. Sosuke rushes to the end of the tunnel and fills his bucket with water. When Ponyo is safe in the bucket again, Sosuke spots Fujimoto who says that they must come with him. An elder from the senior center is standing atop a small bit of dry land and tells Sosuke not to trust him. Sosuke leaps toward the senior, but Fujimoto's wave minions submerge them all underwater and takes them towards the bottom.

Return

The senior center is contained in a bubble of energy, and all the people are safe in this bubble, along with Sosuke's mom, who is talking to Granmamare. Fujimoto arrives back in the bubble with Sosuke, Ponyo, and the senior who joins her friends. Sosuke clutches Ponyo in his bucket and embraces his mom. Granmamare then approaches the group and asks Ponyo, who has woken up, if she is willing to live as a true human with no magic. Ponyo says yes. Granmamare turns to Sosuke and asks him if he can love Ponyo as a fish or a human. Sosuke says yes.

New Life

Ponyo and Sosuke had passed the test, and Granmamare restores balance to the world. Everything is right again, and the senior center is back on dry land. Fujimoto says goodbye to his daughter, and as he leaves Ponyo jumps out of her bucket and kisses Sosuke. She turns into a full fledged human girl, and that's the end.

Resolution

The movie ends with Ponyo gaining new life as a human girl, but the movie never expands into what life is like with Ponyo and Sosuke after that. You have to use your imagination, I guess, if you really want to know.