Hayao Miyazaki’s Ponyo and the Sea is a beautiful retelling of The Little Mermaid, following Ponyo, an adorable yet rebellious fish-girl who undermines her wizard-father’s authority and swims ashore in order to explore the world above. Ponyo quite accidentally gets caught in a glass bottle at sea and gets carried to a shore near the cliff where Sosuke lives. Sosuke finds Ponyo (in the form of a goldfish) and puts her in a bucket, and the two children spend a day together before Fujimoto, Ponyo’s father, forces Ponyo to go back to the sea. But Ponyo wants to see Sosuke again, and so she fantastically escapes from his father’s lair, visually bursting out of her marine home.
When Ponyo and Sosuke reunite this time, Ponyo has grown legs, and turned into an exuberant little girl. The two characters come to share their mutual experiences, and grow to love one another. Unbeknownst to the pair however, Ponyo’s escape from her father’s lair triggers an imbalance in the ecosystem, causing a gigantic tsunami to hit Sosuke’s town. In the final act, the purity of their love is tested, and it is up to them to find Sosuke’s mother, and restore the balance of the ecosystem together.