To explore the films Ponyo, My Neighbor Totoro, and My Little Mermaid, it is important to understand the context in which they are made. Ponyo is centered around a goldfish who meets a human boy who sparks her longing to become human, while Ponyo's (the fish) father tries to bring her back her will to become human and ends up endangering her ocean village.
My Neighbor Totoro is focused on a young girl and her sister who live in an old home with their father and wait for their mother, who is in a hospital with an illness. While they live in this house, they have different encounters with spirits and creatures, the most prominent of which is Totoro.
My Little Mermaid is centered around a similar plot to Ponyo, where Ariel is a mermaid who wants to be human and makes a deal in which she gets trapped. While all of these films are anime, they provide a deeper message and thus allow a serious message to be displayed to a wider range of audiences and especially younger ones. While the animation is not specifically made for children, it over time has trended towards being a type of movie that children enjoy watching and love to watch. Thus, directors can focus on this, and try to send a message to the wider mass with animation. Hayao Miyazaki directed both Ponyo and My Neighbor Totoro, and in these, he teaches universal lessons focusing on the balance of nature and the beauty of nature; along with this aspect of nature, these films also focus on parental love and the innocence of childhood. Christian Anderson is the director of My Little Mermaid. While on the surface, it is a story just about Ariel wanting to be human, on a deeper level, it is about the preservation of nature and a theme of alienation and a sense of unrequited love.
Anime movies have led to a large number of children watching movies that help directors in sharing a louder message with the public. Miyazaki and Anderson use this as an opportunity to share themes and issues which they are most passionate about and try to make a positive impact through the wide audience base they are given. The basic storyline of Ponyo seems to be a basic retelling of My Little Mermaid, but what seems to be dear to Miyazaki is a concern for the environment. The character of Fujimoto is focused on keeping a balance in the ocean, and he sees humans as destructive creatures towards that goal. One of the opening scenes of the film revolves around Ponyo almost getting stuck in a fishing net, and getting trapped inside a jar. In My Little Mermaid, parental love is most strongly shown by Ariel as she takes on the role of the protective mother, especially in the opening scene as Ariel puts her arm around Flounder as they swim away, sort of showing her protective nature.
His view on the role of an animator is shown through his view that expresses, "Every day children are born, and every day children grow up around us, whether or not we animation creators come up with a motive for our characters....