Ponyo (ポニョ , Ponyo), named Brunhilde at birth, is the 5-year old protagonist of the film, Ponyo. She is a goldfish borne from the sea goddess Granmamare and a human named Fujimoto. She is known to love Sōsuke and ham.
"My name is not Brunhilde! My name is Ponyo! Ponyo denies her birth name."
Ponyo has two forms: her goldfish form and her human form. As a fish, she is cute, but as a little girl, she is magical. She has thick amaranth red hair and has only two-piece clothing: an adorable little amaranth red dress with puffy sleeves and white bloomers. She behaves just like a regular five-year-old child, intelligent, adorable and mischievous, and, later in the movie, sleepy. She's very happy, sweet, and barefoot all the time.
Ponyo appears in the beginning of the movie with her sisters as they watch their father perform magic. She swims out into the open ocean and ends up falling asleep inside a jellyfish. Ponyo wakes up to a fishing boat bearing down on her and gets caught in its net. While she is struggling, she gets her head caught in a glass jar, but manages to slip through the net's holes. She tries in vain to shake the jar off and eventually collapses from exhaustion close to shore.
Sōsuke, a little 5-year-old boy who had come down to play with his toy ship, spots her and retrieves her. He too tries to get the jar off and eventually smashes it against a rock to break it. In the process, he cuts his thumb, causing it to bleed a little. Sosuke holds Ponyo and wonders if she is even alive. She suddenly licks the drop of blood off his thumb. He exclaims, "It licked me! It licked me!" At that moment, his mother calls him in so he can go to school, whereas she has to go to work.
He scrambles up to his house, finds a plastic green bucket, and takes Ponyo with him in the car, but not before Ponyo's father tries to get her back. Being from the ocean, he cannot step onto dry land without shriveling up, unless he has some source of water, so he fills a can that looks like weed killer and sprays it everywhere he walks. Lisa thinks he's a "freak show" and tells him to go away with his "weed killer." He protests that it is not weed killer but the purest ocean water, but Lisa drives off before he can finish. While they're in the car, Lisa hands Sosuke a sandwich. He proceeds to try and give Ponyo some of the bread. Ponyo turns her nose up at it and instead, grabs the ham, much to Sōsuke and his mother's amusement/surprise.
Lisa drops him off at Himawari Nursery School and proceeds to her job, which is right around the corner and happens to be a nursing home. One of Sōsuke's school buddies, comes out and shows off her new dress before realizing he has something. She tries to see, but Sōsuke attempts to hide Ponyo. Kumiko ends up seeing Ponyo anyways. When she does not go running for a teacher, Sōsuke turns around and lets her see, but Ponyo turns her back on her. Kumiko is offended and calls Ponyo stupid, to which Ponyo whirls back around and squirts water in her face as well as dousing her new dress. Kumiko looks down at her dress and starts bawling. Sōsuke takes it as a cue to run.
He ends up running right outside the nursing home his mother works at. He starts giggling with Ponyo and is heard by some of the elders. He shows them Ponyo and one of them claims that fish with human faces cause tsunamis. Ponyo squirts her and she starts thrashing and yelling "Tsunami!" Sōsuke flees once again and goes back down to the beach while his mother comes out looking for him, demanding him to come back and apologize. At that moment, Ponyo's father appears and sends two sea monsters to retrieve Ponyo. They successfully retrieve Ponyo and all Sosuke can find is an empty green bucket. He starts crying and wades out even further into the ocean, desperately looking for Ponyo. Lisa spots him and rushes out and grabs him before he can drown. Fujimoto takes Ponyo back to their home in the ocean and seals her in a magical bubble. With the help of her sisters, she breaks free and makes her way to her father's sealed potion room. She gets into it and finds a potion that turns her into a human.
She returns to Sōsuke by running on huge waves in the forms of fish alongside his car as he is coming home from school. Sosuke sees her and watches in awe. A huge storm breaks loose because according to Fujimoto, the world is becoming unbalanced because of Ponyo. Ponyo ends up falling off and plummeting back into the ocean. Lisa stops the car at Sosuke's request and they look for her, while Lisa tries to convince Sosuke that there was no little girl. As they pull into the driveway, Ponyo somehow comes back holding Sosuke's green bucket. Sosuke and Lisa stare at her as she runs over to Sosuke and hugs him. This convinces Sosuke it really is her. Lisa takes them inside and starts to try to dry Ponyo off when she realizes Ponyo is completely dry. Sōsuke explains it is because she is a fish.
Ponyo begins performing magical deeds to help Lisa and wears herself out. Lisa prepares some ramen for them with ham in it, much to Ponyo's delight. Ponyo, having worn herself out from performing so much magic, falls asleep while eating. Lisa tucks her into bed and tells Sōsuke to look after her. The storm continues to worsen and when Lisa looks out the window, she sees a light on at the senior's home. She tells Sōsuke she'll be back and leaves to go help. In the morning, Sōsuke wakes up to find Ponyo looming over him. He jumps up and the two end up smacking heads. They look out and see that the storm was so bad, the whole city has been submerged in water. Since their house is on a high hill, they are the only ones who didn't get submerged. Sosuke wants to go find his mother since she has not yet come back and gets Ponyo to blow up his toy boat and make it his size. She also blows up a candle for him.
While Sosuke is in the boat, Ponyo sits on top and is the lookout. They run into a large boat of people evacuating and are advised to hop on, but Sosuke refuses. They also run into a couple with a baby who is sick and unhappy. Ponyo gives them some soup Lisa made and smooshes her face into the baby's to make it laugh. The husband gives them a candle and they depart. Sōsuke and Ponyo sail for a little while longer until Ponyo starts getting tired. The magic begins to wear off the toy boat. It returns to its original size. Sosuke and Ponyo walk until they find Lisa's empty car. Sōsuke starts crying and Ponyo comforts him. The duo carry on until Ponyo starts shrinking.
They are then interceded and trapped by Fujimoto. He tries to get Sōsuke to give him Ponyo. Toki, one of the elders, calls Sosuke and interrupts Fujimoto and tells him not to trust Fujimoto. But Fujimoto tells Toki that there's no time and tells her that moon is getting closer. Toki asks Fujimoto, "Is that the best you can do?," and calls Sōsuke again He grabs them and brings them down to the underwater garden he made, where everyone else, including Lisa, is. The garden is enchanted and takes away all the senior's disabilities, allowing them to run around like children again. Lisa is talking to Granmamare (Ponyo's mother) upon Sōsuke, Ponyo and Yoshie's arrival. Granmamare wakes up Ponyo and says if she really wants to become human, she has to give up magic. She then puts Ponyo in a magic bubble and hands her to Sōsuke, telling him he can make the choice. If he really loves her, he can kiss the bubble and she will be human. If not, Ponyo will become nothing but sea foam. Upon returning to shore, Ponyo is impatient, bursts the bubble herself, kisses Sōsuke, and becomes human again.
- Fujimoto, Ponyo's father, who is an incredible sorcerer and the Guardian of Sea Life. She appears to dislike his strictness and disobeys him often - in the form of running/swimming away from home.
- Granmamare, an enormous and powerful Goddess of the Sea, is her mother. She describes her as being big and beautiful, but can be very scary.
- Ponyo's Sisters, which are a school of hundreds of little fish who resemble her and speak few words, like small children. Ponyo appears to be the oldest and largest of all of them, surpassing them in magical abilities, size and speech.
- Sōsuke, a human friend of hers, whom she chose to love above all else and decided to become a human to in order to stay with him. She gladly gave up her magical abilities to do so.
"Ponyo loves Sōsuke! I will be a human too!"
- —Ponyo to her father, Fujimoto
- Ponyo's favorite food is ham.
- Ponyo is always in love with Sōsuke.
- Since her father is a human and her mother is a goddess, it is possible though unclear that Ponyo is considered a demi-goddess.
- Ponyo's role is partially inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale The Little Mermaid.
- She also shares a similar concept to Little Memole, a Japanese anime from 1984 and 1985.
- Ponyo's birth name and the music playing as she rides the waves to Sosuke is a reference to Richard Wagner's opera Die Walküre.
- The sequence in which Ponyo offers food to the mother and baby was written in to show that she could be selfless and live in the human world. Hayao Miyazaki developed the scene late in production, when he was stuck on how to end the film.
|Main Cast||Ponyo | Sōsuke|
|Ponyo's Family||Fujimoto | Granmamare | Ponyo's Sisters|
|Sōsuke's Family||Lisa | Kōichi|
|Retirement Home||Toki (Ponyo) | Yoshie | Kayo|
|Others||Karen | Kumiko | Junior | Junior's Parents | Bridge Guard | Newscaster | Sea Monster|
|Locations||Sōsuke's House | Himawari Nursery School | Koganei Maru | Underwater Harbor|
|Objects||Green Bucket | Jellyfish | | Sōsuke's Boat|
|Music||Soundtrack | Gake no Ue no Ponyo|