Now here's a real treasure to share with everyone - the 2009 Ponyo Calendar. The photos are pretty large, so be sure to click on them to see the full size. Go ahead and use them for wallpapers.
Obviously, I would looove to see these calendars in local stores. There is a Japanese pop store at the Rosedale Mall in Roseville (suburb of Minneapolis-St. Paul), but they really never stock any Ghibli items. Perhaps I should give them a call and see if they have any Ponyo goodies in stock.
I absolutely love the artwork in these photos. I've been a fan of movie calendars since I was a kid with a 1978 Star Wars calendar hanging on my wall, well into the 1980s. This is a great way to see what the filmmakers thought were the highlights of the movie. It's also great to see screenshots that differ from the press release (that's where all the hi-res shots came from).
The Ponyo Calendar really drives home how terrific this movie looks. The warm color tones, watercolor and stencil backgrounds, and solid, iconic characters merge together perfectly. I'm sure you've seen many animation films where the cel drawings don't quite match their environments. In Ponyo, everything gels. The Ghibli artists have drawn upon a lifetime of experience.
That's really the thing I love about Studio Ghibli - they never rest on their laurels. They treat every new film as if it's the first, and everyone is hungry to prove themselves. It helps to have the two greatest living movie directors at the helm, of course.