Okay, I'm going to say it. And damn the consequences.
I hated, hated HATED Ponyo. Hated it!
Yes, yes, I know. It's visually arresting, creatively ground-breaking, magical, exquisite, insert-your-own-breathless-adjective here.
It's also unequivocally and purely wrong.
It's bad enough that Japan unleashed the scourge that is Pokemon. No, they had to create yet another cutesy-yet-deeply-disturbing blight on the cultural landscape.
I'm sure you know the set-up by now. Ponyo is a fish that yearns to be human. When she's first caught by the young protagonist, Sosuke, she looks like this:
Now, I don't know about you folks. But if the little minnow I caught had bug-eyes and a vaguely human face, I'd be a little unnerved. I might even scream and throw the devil-spawn back into the depths from which she came. But no one in Ponyo, whether child or adult, seems remotely troubled by a fish that looks like a genetic hybrid experiment gone tragically awry.
But wait, there's more! Ponyo's transformation from fish to human is instigated when she consumes ham. Yeah, you just read that right. No fairy intervenes, no magic spell. It's the ham.
She just scarfs down a slice of pork, and BOOM! The next thing you know, she's sprouted bi-toed chicken limbs! She looks like newly-animated flesh that's just crawled out of a petri dish!
Dear readers, there will be no more ham sandwiches in this household.
I could go on about how Sasuke's mother takes him on a hell-ride through narrow, winding cliff roads, in the middle of a hurricane. Or about Ponyo's ostensibly transgendered father, a cross between the frontman for Poison and a Barbie doll. Or about Cate Blanchett, doing her uber-enchanted-sexy-fairy accent.
But I won't. I'll just leave you with the subtitled Ponyo theme song, which bores into your head like Satan's own drillbit.
It ain't right, people.