A new heroine, Ponyo, will be making her debut on American screens on August 14. The film made a whopping $165 million in Japan, where it was originally produced, and won the Japanese Academy’s award for best animation film and best score.So what makes this animated film so fabulous? The irresistible Ponyo, of course! She’s a goldfish who dreams of becoming a real girl (sound familiar?), but she’s a bit less stereotypical than the average Disney princess, who usually flaunts an itty-bitty waist, curvaceous hips, and ginormous, lashy eyes. (Then again, since Ponyo is a toddler, it’s hard to compare her to the more “developed” Disney females). Either way, Ponyo is a heroine to watch. There has been lots of hype about her characteristics; like the other female protagonists filmmaker Miyazaki has created, Ponyo is “endowed with the characteristics of the conventional masculine hero: [she is] active, assertive, adventurous and courageous,” said Japanese film critic Freya Freiberg.
When asked about his unusually courageous female characters, Miyazaki said:
“When we compare a man in action and a girl in action, I feel girls are more gallant. If a boy is walking with a long stride, I don’t think anything particular, but if a girl is walking gallantly, I feel ‘that’s cool.’”