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  • Accidental Innuendo: "I'd let a fish lick me if it'd get me outta this wheelchair."
  • Americans Hate Tingle: Ponyo herself is pretty divisive to American audiences, due to her occasional gross-out nature and oddities throughout.
  • Angst? What Angst?: Every single character seems remarkably nonchalant about a catastrophic flood.
  • Awesome Art: To be expected of a Studio Ghibli production, of course, but Ponyo is particularly notable in that none of the film was animated with CGI, which makes its gorgeous animation even more stunning.
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  • Base-Breaking Character: The title character herself Ponyo is this, especially in America where much of her behavior that is meant to be cute can come off more as creepy and gross. Even in Japan though she is rather divisive, with many feeling she an unsympathetic and selfish character who endangers a lot of people (albeit unintentionally) with her actions.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: Ponyo's stare-off with the baby. It's random.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Fujimoto. Despite (or even because of) the fact that he's a henpecked, crotchety, and overprotective father, two-thirds of the small but growing fanwork base involves him. It helps that he's voiced by Liam Neeson in the American dub.
  • Faux Symbolism: A little girl who happens to be the daughter of a deity, running across the water.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: This anime film by Hayao Miyazaki based loosely on Hans Christian Andersen's Tear Jerker Fairy Tale The Little Mermaid was apparently popular in Denmark enough due to the fact that Denmark simply gave it its own Official Website.
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  • Inferred Holocaust: Oh boy, I sure do hope that the moon being a direct cause of the massive flood has no impact on the billions of lives across the world or sets humanity back to centuries because most of our technology has been destroyed!
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "Respect your father!"
    • "Teeth!"
    • "HAM!"
    • The "Ponyo loves" fancomic, which has been cloned into many other fandoms. In it a character talks about the people and things they love in an animated fashion, only to get a serious face when introduced to an antagonistic/oppressive character and express their love of revolution.
  • Narm:
    • Ponyo assaulting The Baby's face, The Baby's voice, talking about making milk for The Baby...
    • The dubbed ending song, both the normal and the remixed version.
  • Narm Charm: Both of the above are almost fitting due to how the movie tends to run on child logic.
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  • Retroactive Recognition: Noah Cyrus voices Ponyo in the English dub.
  • So Okay, It's Average: Though regarded as Ghibli's best by some, there is also a number of Ghibli fans who find the movie good but forgettable. The most common complaints being the film having flat and uninteresting characters and a story that has little conflict and slow pacing.
  • Squick: Ponyo occasionally engages in squicky behavior, like when she spits dirty water on Kumiko's dress and snuggles a baby's face.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: Of "Ride of the Valkyries", when Ponyo rides the tsunami to the surface. Possibly a Shout-Out, because her real name is Brunhilde.
  • Sweet Dreams Fuel: Ponyo is easily Studio Ghibli's most feel-good movie with especially whimsical moments and an incredibly warm ending.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes:
    • The theme song. The English version of the song segues into a rockier remix and is consequently less cute.
    • Pretty much the entire movie if you're not into that sort of thing, especially the ending shot.
  • Uncanny Valley: Granmanmare evokes this due to her design being slightly more realistic than the traditionally Miyazaki-esque characters that surround her. Also, Ponyo's inbetween human-and-fish form.
  • Values Dissonance:
    • Leaving five-year-old children alone and unsupervised (in the middle of a typhoon, no less!) could be considered criminal neglect in some jurisdictions. Still, it can be considered as Lisa choosing the lesser of two evils — either bring them with her where they'd all easily be swept away by a particularly bad wave, or let them stay on high ground in the comparatively safe house.
    • The reason why she left them to go to the retirement home may have been the movie's way of reflecting the Japanese value that the young should take care of the elderly, no matter the circumstances. A strong case of Values Dissonance, especially since in Western culture it's viewed as the other way around.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion:
    • Ponyo, when we first see her. As the movie poster demonstrates, she starts out a human-like but androgynous fish with nothing communicating her sex.
    • Fujimoto. Some viewers weren't sure of his gender until he spoke his first lines.
    • The baby that Ponyo meets has an unknown gender, although the English dub refers to the baby with male pronouns.

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