Friday, November 15, 2013

Anime Review: Porco Rosso

PORCO ROSSO: Studio Ghibli really has a knack for aerial themes

An unusual curse has turned Marco Rousolini into an anthropomorphic pig. After leaving the air force, he gains money by hunting down ‘air pirates’.  Donald Curtis, the suitor of his romantic interest Madame Gina, hunts him down, and he has no choice but to return to Milan. However, he is not very welcome in Milan. After all, he has deliberately left the air force because of personal reasons. Now, he has to fight with Donald Curtis while avoiding the Italian air force, but it appears that his greatest enemy is nobody else but himself.

Porco Rosso is another proof that Hayao Miyazaki really has a passion for flying. We have seen the same theme in Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind and Castle in the Sky.

The story and the world building are not as grand as Studio Ghibli’s fantastical titles. The story is quite straightforward, and the established world is basically of that of historical fiction. But these traits don’t make Porco Rosso a simple watch. It has its own complexities in the plot and dialogues. The predominant symbolism would be that of being a ‘pig’, which could be translated as a ‘filthy human being’ in the context of its presentation in the film.

What I really like about Porco Rosso is the fact that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. This pig metaphor is often times associated with comedic plot elements and dialogue. In a sense, it gives the film a lighter impression. But don’t get me wrong, the film could also be heavy because of its other themes. The film’s violence is more blatant compared to other Studio Ghibli works. It even has hints of sexism in some sequences.

The characters are also quite interesting. Porco Rosso is unusually funny despite his indifferent attitude, and Madame Gina has shown depth even though she has little screen time. There are also a few distinct air pirates that are always fun to watch. The characterization isn’t perfect though. As much as I like Fio Piccolo as a character, I think that young geniuses are overused stereotypes.

As for the animation, I admit that I enjoyed the flying sequences. They give me this sense of action and adventure, the same way as Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind and Castle in the Sky. The embedded musical soundtracks, even though they aren’t extraordinary, have pumped up the action scenes, rendering them more exciting than ever.

Overall, Porco Rosso is a good film. It is not as groundbreaking as Studio Ghibli’s other works. It doesn’t mean that Porco Rosso should be overlooked. It has its own share of complexities and symbolisms that Hayao Miyazaki is famous for.

Related posts:


  1. While I have heard Porco Rossco referenced before, I did not know it was a Studio Ghibli film. I suppose I need to watch the film as well. Great review.


    1. Haha you have a lot to watch in your break! But I think the ones you should prioritize are Princess Mononoke, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, and Castle in the Sky. Hey, thanks for always commenting!

  2. Great Review, and thanks for commenting on mine! :)