- While it is in general a fun and happy movie, the part where Sosuke finds his mom's empty car and he starts crying is hard to watch. Especially hard if you've ever lost a parent.
- Sosuke's father's message: "I love you and I'm sorry." Reportedly, it was a message from Miyazaki himself to his family, as an apology for being away for so long while working.
- From the Image Album, the final track "Himawari no Ie no Rondo." If you look up the translation, it's about the old ladies at the senior day care center wishing they could play again like children, or even just go for a walk one last time before they die.
- As much of a control freak as he is, there's something sad about the fact that Fujimoto is doing his best to protect the ocean and raise his kids (with his wife seemingly gone most of the time) and none of them seem to like him very much. He's essentially a working father spread too thin to truly understand his daughters. There's one especially sad shot of him standing alone by his ship after Sosuke passes the test of love, and he and Ponyo are never shown reconciling on-screen.
Tear Jerker / Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea