Thursday, August 20, 2009

"It's just like adoption!"

The girls didn't have school today (a parish priest died, and they closed school so people could attend his funeral mass), so we went to see Ponyo. It really is charming, and deserving of all the rave reviews it's been getting. The animation was so much softer than the usual primary/neon animation in vogue in the U.S. these days.

Yes, I know, it's Japanese, not Chinese, so why am I blogging about it?! Because when it ended, Maya turned to me with a beatific smile and said, "It's just like adoption!"

The premise, if you've been living in a cave, is that little goldfish Ponyo meets Sosuke, and wants to be human so she can stay with him. She summons magic that allows this to happen, despite the objections of her sorcerer father. But her magic disturbs the balance of nature, and the world is about to return to a prehistoric world with everyone under water. The only way to restore the balance of nature is for Ponyo to remain a human girl. Her father and mother, the Goddess of Mercy, decide that Sosuke has to pass a test to show his true love for Ponyo before she can become human and remain with him (and his mother Lisa, incidentally, who takes it all in stride and doesn't seem to think it would a problem adding a former fish/child to the family). Sosuke passes the test by affirming his love for Ponyo, and his acceptance of her as a former fish/human child. At the end, Lisa waves to her vanishing parents, saying something to the effect of, "We'll take care of her for you."

So, yes, it's like adoption in some ways -- at least, if we see Sosuke as the one doing the adoption, since he had to pass the homestudy (maybe the "talking all night" between mom Lisa and mom Goddess of Mercy served as the real screening). And the "take care of her for you" part makes it sound more like foster care. Goddess mom said something about Ponyo passing between both humand and water world, so perhaps it's an open adoption. And since there's some suggestion of a romantic interest between Ponyo and 5-year-old Sosuke, it seems a bit awkward if she's his sister!

Still, Maya definitely recognized the adoption themes in this movie, and was really happy to see that.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's interesting that Maya interpreted the plot as being "like" adoption, since I didn't really get that from your description of the film. Did you explore this with her or just take it at face value?

Anonymous said...

You should see if you can find a copy of a movie called Totoro. I think it is made by the same people that made Ponyo. Great movie.

malinda said...

We have Totoro, which the girls love (doesn't do much for me! I liked Ponyo better).

I took Maya's statement at face value, since we were with friends at the movies, and didn't have much time to talk alone. I will be raising it again -- "remember when you said Ponyo was just like adoption. . . ." I never treat one of these episodes as a must-talk-or-lose-the-opportunity moment.

Wendy said...

I guess I need to get to the theater more often, everyone seems to know about these movies but me!