Studio Ghibli Challenge #7: Porco Rosso (1992) Anime Movie Review
A pig flying an airplane.
Yes, I did not exaggerate or insult anybody, there is a pig flying an airplane in this movie.
Porco Rosso is a very fun and full-of-adventure movie directed by the legendary Hayao Miyazaki. The film is about an Italian World War I ace fighter and bounty hunter, Porco Rosso, who for some reason had a head of a pig due to a curse. After successfully fending off an attack from some air pirates he went to Hotel Adriano which was run by his friend Gina. Meanwhile, the pirates contacted Curtis an American ace fighter pilot who is arrogant and confident to assist them. He falls in love with Gina but was rejected immediately. After a successful mission, Curtis tracks down Porco and shot down his plane, and claimed to have killed him successfully. Porco sought the help of his friend Piccolo to fix his plane. However, his sons and only workforce had to leave due to the Great Depression leaving most of the fixing work to his granddaughter Fio and some other female relatives. After fixing his plane, Fio joined him on his way home. They were soon ambushed by some air pirates but for some reason, Fio was able to talk them out of it. Curtis appears and challenges Porco for a one-last duel in order to determine who is the real ace.
The story plot to me is a typical Hayao Miyazaki work. What makes this different from his previous films is that the story can be tied to any instance in history. Plus several real-world events and places were discussed within the movie like World War I, Great Depression, etc. So I think it's quite nice to add these touches and this could mean that animated works can be a mix of real events and fiction.
An interesting thing, in the Japanese dub, is that Fio's voice actress, Akemi Okamura, also voiced Nami (One Piece). On the other hand, the voice actor of Curtis, Akio Otsuka is the same as Marshall D. Teach (One Piece) and Kyoraku Shunsui (Bleach). Now that's pretty hardcore.
Back to the plot, I believe the mix of comedy, drama, and action somehow worked. It definitely is like a plane ride, to be honest. One moment you feel like you are soaring through the clouds and another you are falling. There are instances in the movie where I felt kind of bored but nevertheless, I think the whole plot worked really well.
The characters are very likable. All the main ones had their brief moments in the film and for me, there is no character that felt really left out or unimportant, to say the least. Definitely, my favorite set of characters is the female mechanics because they really brought a lot of fun and wackiness to the movie. They lifted the mood of this movie to another level.
The sceneries once again are tremendously beautiful. There was one scene where Porco was telling his past to Fio and there were like incredible shots of his pilot friends and him gliding through the clouds. I think that was pretty amazing considering that the art style still doesn't compare to what we have today. Studio Ghibli's legacy is really built upon its terrific world-building. The imagination and creativity in their films are really top-notch in my opinion. I mean there might be none like it.
Even though this film for others might be the best Studio Ghibli or at least in their top 5, I think for me it sits well in the middle or just a tip above it. Don't get me wrong, the film is great but compared to other Ghibli films it is right there in the middle for me. So if it is right in the middle this could mean that a lot above it and better.
Still, Porco Rosso didn't disappoint nor did I feel bored watching the film. It definitely deserves to be called a Studio Ghibli classic. It is a pretty solid film with a lot of enjoyable parts and with the right mix of comedy and action. You definitely don't want to leave this flushed down the drain.
For me, this film is a very solid 3.5 out of 5.