In this new era of streaming services, masterpiece of past are getting a breath of a fresh air. Since the acquisition of streaming rights for Ghibli studios by Netflix, and the announcement that Ghibli studios will be soon made available on HBO max upon release. We have seen a revival of lure for timeless Miyazaki anime Masterpieces but when his work is getting immortalized there somehow exists a masterpiece which has still not got the recognition it deserved.
Movie details,English Cast
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
The film was originally planned as a short in-flight film for Japan Airlines based on Hayao Miyazaki’s manga The Age of the Flying Boat, but grew into a feature-length film
as Porco Rosso
as Donald Curtis
as Fio Appicolo
Porco Rosso(Red pig in Italian),pig headed bounty hunter, who once called Marco Pagot an ex fighter Ace. He is living off his life in solace and by making a good fortune by hunting seaplane pirates in the Adriatic sea. As he prepares to battle the pirate crew’s American ace, Porco Rosso enlists the help of spunky girl mechanic Fio Piccolo (Akemi Okamura) and his longtime friend Madame Gina (Tokiko Kato).
This time I watched the English dub version of the movie by Disney. I prefer to watch an anime with orginal audio but I have to admit that voice acting is surprisingly good. The voice cast has did a commendable job. The voice actor(Michael Keaton) behind the voice of Porco has did a terrific job in portraying a round bellied middle aged man.
Porco Rosso as the lead character is very interesting to watch, backed by some strong writing including this iconic dialogue
I’d rather be a pig than a fascist
This movie feels more than the redemption story of it’s protagonist thanks to the amazing side characters especially the female characters Gina and Fio Piccolo. He has always lashed out the modern anime creators for unrealistic animation and one dimensional portrayal of the female characters. Again his philosophy has amazed me. In this harsh world, even a loner like him must needs supp. He is backed by two females one is his longtime friend, Gina a multi talented, self contained lady, she is revered across the Adriana islands and Fio a young talented Engineer with lots of potential in a world full of stereotypes, she is like a spark electrifying and mesmerizing everyone with her presence. American pilot Donald Curtis, he is hired by the Seaplane pirates to get rid off Porco, he has it’s own American dream, his portrayal is parodically American. Seaplane pirates seems like the characters who only exists to amuse us, but they are surprisingly entertaining.
The most striking thing about a Miyazaki movie is it’s grand fantasy world filled with mystery. And this time his work, is like a parody of the 90s Hollywood genre of Pilot Romanticism and adventures. Set in the 1920s in a post war Europe which is still recovering under the American influence, the signs of militiary preparedness and Economic distress are visible throughout the movie. An eerie calm prevails throughout the movie with Europe on the verge of Economic Recession(maybe a subtle reference of the Great Depression). Very unusual for a Ghibli movie, he has made many subtle political references, This movie has a lazy summer vibe, the plot progresses in a very calm and soothing way with ample time to admire the landscapes of the sea like a musical. The movie gains some momentum in the second half as we are treated with some breathtaking fight sequences.
The awe and beauty of his works has captured our imagination for so long, but the underrated part is the soundtrack which was often composed by Joe Hishaishi, a seasonal collaborator who has produced and composed music for the Ghibli Movies like Spirited away. Original soundtrack of the movie is also composed by Jor Hishaishi, and probably his best work. The soundtrack completely resonates with the movie and I really enjoyed it especially the track by Tokiko Kato.
Animation of the movie has aged well and it’s very surprising when you realizes that the animation from a 20 year old movie is still superior to the contemporary CGI crap(straight out of a YouTube comment) that’s the beauty of the handdrawn animation. It’s amazing just to realize, how much difficult it would be for the animators to spill some life into a plain vast blue landscape with no advance software in existence to make it more lively. Though signs of aging are visible like outdated and unrealistic sound engineering but in the end animation does it’s trick, the dog fights in the mid air are amazing.
It has all the elements of a ghibli film but at the same time this movie is very unlikely for a Miyazaki movie, it’s filled with lots of real world subtle references and homages, and a setting very close to reality. Perhaps it’s an timeless masterpiece which is lost in time and is revered as a cult classic by those fans who still fondly remembers it.
Porco rosso: A flying shortie :possible sequel or Porco Rosso 2
In 2011, Miyazaki revealed that he wanted to make a follow-up anime to the 1992 original film set during Spanish Civil war, with Porco featuring as an old Pilot if his next few films following Ponyo were successful. The film’s working name is currently Porco Rosso: The Last Sortie. Miyazaki is writing the film, but Yonebayashi will direct. Uncertainy looms over the sequel since the departure of Miyazaki and Yonebayashi from Ghibli and the current hiatus of the studio itself, the current status on the proposed sequel remains uncertain.