Also known as: Kurenai no buta (original Japanese title), The Crimson Pig (literal English title)
Release Date: July 18th, 1992 (Japan)
Directed by: Hayao Miyazaki
Written by: Hayao Miyazaki
Based on: Hikotei Jidai by Hayao Miyazaki
Music by: Joe Hisaishi
Cast: Japanese Language: Shuichiro Moriyama, Akio Otsuka, Akemi Okamura, Tokiko Kato, Sanshi Katsura; English Language: Michael Keaton, Cary Elwes, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Susan Egan, Brad Garrett, Bill Fagerbakke, Frank Welker
Japan Airlines, Nibariki, Nippon Television Network, Studio Ghibli, 94 Minutes
“I’d rather be a pig than a fascist.” – Porco Rosso
I’ve gotta say, I went into this with no real expectations but it kind of blew me away and impressed me a great deal.
The humor in this is fantastic and up to the point of this film’s release, this may be Studio Ghibli’s best use of comedy. It helped set the film’s playful tone from the get go.
The story is about an ace pilot during the World War I era. He’s Italian and work as a bounty hunter around the Adriatic Sea. He’s also been cursed with the head of a pig, even though he’s a pretty normal human being.
Over the course of the film, he develops a rivalry with an American ace and loses a contest against him. He then is convinced by a young girl that she can design and build a better plane for him, even though he doesn’t initially like the idea. Over the course of the story, they develop an incredible bond and Porco Rosso sets his sights on redeeming himself against the American ace.
While this is more of a comedy than a drama, it has very strong dramatic moments and I think it’s those parts that make this pretty great.
I watched the English dubbed version and I thoroughly enjoyed the voice acting. I especially liked Michael Keaton and Cary Elwes as the voices of the two rival aces, which made their banter pretty entertaining.
As far as the animation goes, this is exactly what you should expect from a Hayao Miyazaki picture. I also think this has a lot more energy than many of his films, as it features so much aerial action.
While I doubt that I’ll ever discover a bad Studio Ghibli film, this wasn’t one that I expected to be really impressed by. In the end, it did just that and I think this may be one of my favorites of the bunch. But I still have many to get through, that I haven’t seen.