Posted by Daniel Thomas MacInnes
Reader Joe Leonard wrote this comment on the blog, and it was so useful that I decided I had to give it, and my response, a proper post. Enjoy:
This is pretty embarassing, but, well, trying to look at the big picture:
1. Lasseter has obviously pushing hard for Ponyo to do well in the US. They really want Miyazaki and Ghibli to be more mainstream, and not something for just the anime kids and art scene crowd.
2. They can use this in ads, use it for exposure on the Disney Channel and on Kid Disney radio. I’m guessing from the comment you linked to earlier that this is already in effect.
3. Kids will eat this up and love it to pieces. Kids are dumb.
4. The song will get kids excited for Ponyo, who will then beg their parents to go see it.
5. A horrible bastardization of a silly folksy tune into an in-your-face pop song complete with robot voice auto-tune effect will therefore be the gateway drug for lots of kids and parents to Studio Ghibli. A case of the ends justifying the means to be sure, but, well, what can you do. This is America.
Keep in mind at this point we’re not even completely sure if this will be used in the film proper. If it is, it’ll probably be contained to just the credits, which while still unfortunate, doesn’t matter that much in the long run.
Here is my response:
That’s the smartest insight I’ve read on the subject. Thanks for helping to keep my head attached.
It also helps that there’s a large and violent thunderstorm outside my window this evening. After the third lightning strike right outside my window, I find my outrage meter has been properly reset. So many things in life are never worth getting upset over.
You may be right about the kid appeal. I’ve been struck by the numbers of kids on Youtube and Twitter who want to swarm to the malls to see Ponyo because the celebrity kids are in it. “Gateway Drug” may be the smartest metaphor yet.
Reflecting on this, I think this episode exposes a rift of tension between Disney and the Ghibli Freaks, one that has been there for many years. We must be careful not to view their treatment of Ponyo through the lens of past disappointments. There are several new players involved in this drama, and we must give them the proper chance to succeed.
This is my own advice to myself, and I hope it proves helpful to everyone else if needed.
BAM!! There’s the fourth massive lightning strike. BAM!! Number five…now my eyes are temporarily blinded from the lightning flash (hese are 100 yards away from my living room window). I can’t believe I was ever upset at another human being for anything, ever. Why are people throwing tantrums about health care in town meetings again? Vanity of vanities, a chasing after the winds.