I posted before that after watching Ponyo, Maya said, “It was just like adoption!” I saw more differences than similarities to adoption, so I was curious about how Maya saw it. We talked a bit more about it this week, and here’s a pretty good recounting of our conversation, which was no where near as linear as it appears here. Maya was in a completely silly mood, and was throwing in head stands and cartwheels as we talked! But she provided the opening, so I took it!
Maya: I loved Ponyo. I want to be Ponyo!And as usual, when Maya’s done talking, she is D-O-N-E. I had wanted to ask her a few more questions, like what role she thought Sosuke's mom played in this adoption, but we were DONE!
Me: It was a good movie, wasn’t it?
Maya: Yes, yes, yes, yes! [the silly goose!]
Me: Have you thought any more about how it was like adoption?
Maya: Yes, Sosuke adopted Ponyo.
Me: Really? Do you think so?
Maya: Yes! He loved Ponyo and he promised to take care of her forever.
Me: Who did he promise that to?
Maya: You know, like you did in China – like the . . . the. . . [groping for the word]president?
Me: Do you mean the government?
Maya: Yes, yes, yes! [I didn’t see any government in the movie -- I was fishing for birth parents!]
Me: Why do you think Ponyo’s parents wanted Sosuke to adopt Ponyo?
Maya: They needed to save the world from the monster fish! They had to stay in the ocean. Ponyo wasn’t a fish anymore so couldn’t stay in the ocean with them. She wanted to be a girl and stay with Sosuke.
Me: How do you think Sosuke felt about that?
Maya: He was happy! I want to be Ponyo! I want to be a fish AND a girl! [we’re losing interest, I think].
Me: How do you think Ponyo’s mom and dad felt about Sosuke adopting Ponyo?
Maya: [long pause for a head stand] Sad. They’ll miss her, but I bet they’ll visit her. I’m a fish, fish, fish!
I'm not sure she had focused before on Ponyo's parents as relinquishing birth parents. She was thinking of adoption from Sosuke's and Ponyo's perspectives, and pretty much disregarded any involvement from grown-ups. That doesn't surprise me msuch, since Maya professes to not being very interested in her birth parents (in contrast to Zoe who is ALL ABOUT her birth parents), and seems to want to avoid talking about them or thinking about them. I think that's why we were D-O-N-E talking when I raised the issue of Ponyo's parents. She didn't want to see that similarity to adoption. But I liked her statement, "I bet they'll visit her." She doesn't see adoption as a complete divorce from the first family, it seems. And that's a good thing!