- This article is for the film. For the character, see Marco Pagot.
Porco Rosso (紅の豚, Kurenai no Buta lit. Crimson Pig) is a 1992 Japanese animated adventure film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It is based on Hikotei Jidai, a three-part watercolor manga by Miyazaki. The film stars the voices of Shuichiro Moriyama, Tokiko Kato, Akemi Okamura and Akio Otsuka, Toshio Suzuki produced the film for Studio Ghibli. Joe Hisaishi composed the music.
The plot revolves around an Italian World War I ex-fighter ace, now living as a freelance bounty hunter chasing ¨air pirates¨ in the Adriatic Sea. However, an unusual curse has transformed him to an anthropomorphic pig. Once called Margo Pagot, he is now known to the world as ¨Porco Rosso¨, which in Italian is for ¨Crimson Pig¨.
The film, set in the Adriatic Sea in the interwar period, begins with the titular character Porco Rosso, a veteran WWI fighter ace and freelance bounty hunter, responding to an alert over an attack on a ferry liner by airborne pirates. Having successfully defeated the pirates, the so called Mamma Aiuto Gang, Porco retires to the Hotel Adriano, which is run by his long-time friend Gina. At the restarurant an American named Curtis proposes to Gina, but she rebuffs him.
After Porco Rosso leaves to Milan, to make repairs to his plane, he is shot down by Curtis, who wants to achieve fame by killing Rosso. Rosso survives but has to head to Milan on train. At Piccolo S.P.A he asks Mr. Piccolo to rebuild his plane. Due to the depression, Piccolo only as female workers, mostly from his family. A young girl, Fio Piccolo, ends up re-designing his plane. Initially Rosso is not pleased, but he grows to like her. They flee Piccolo's workshop after the Fascist government attempts to hunt them down, because Rosso won't fight for his government.
After escaping from Milan, Porco flew to his hideout after a quick detour to get more gasoline for the plane. Inside the island him and Fio started to unpack her belonings when all of the sudden air pirates burst out from Porco's tent and surround him, before they were gonna destroy Porco's plane Fio went to the leader of the Mama Aiuto Gang and started to yell at them to not destroy her first worked plane and she managed to persuade them to not smash it. Right at that moment Curtis showed up and telling that he wanted a rematch with Porco, when Fio started to intervene Curtis fell in love with her and asked to marry him, so they decited to make a bet for the rematch if Curtis wins Fio would marry him and if Porco wins then Curtis must pay all Porco's debts for rebuilding his plane. Curtis accepts the deal and all the air pirates leave the island to prepare for tomorrow.
- Original: Mahito Tsujimura, Minoru Yada
- English: Steve Bulen, Lynn Eve Harris, Steve Kramer, Joyce Kurtz, Kerrigan Mahan, Brianne Siddall, Tom Wyner
- Disney: Jack Angel, Michael Bell, Jeff Bennett, Earl Boen, Cameron Bowen, Dee Bradley Baker, Rodger Bumpass, Corey Burton, Jennifer Darling, Debi Derryberry, Ashley Edner, Bobby Edner, Paul Eiding, Greg Ellis, Bill Farmer, Pat Fraley, Brian George, Tom Kenny, Sherry Lynn, Tress MacNeille, Mickie McGowan, Laraine Newman, Rob Paulsen, Bradley Pierce, Phil Proctor, Deanna Russo, Chelsea Smith, Jim Ward
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. The outbreak of war in Yugoslavia cast a shadow over production and prompted a more serious tone for the film, which had been set in Croatia. The airline remained a major investor in the film, and showed it as an in-flight film well before its theatrical release. Due to this, the opening text introducing the film appears simultaneously in Japanese, Italian, Korean, English, Chinese, Spanish, Arabic, Russian, French and German.
History and politics
Porco Rosso is one of the few films directed by Hayao Miyazaki in which the historical and geographical settings are clearly defined and where most of the story could have happened in the real world. Marco is an Italian hero from the First World War and is shown fighting against Austro-Hungarian fighter planes in a flashback sequence. The story is set in the Adriatic Sea east coast between Dalmatian and Kvarner islands, a fictionalized city of Fiume after its annexation to fascist Italy and Northern Italy.
Porco makes statements of his being anti-fascist, quipping during one scene that "I'd much rather be a pig than a fascist". Miyazaki shed light on the political context of the making of the film in an interview with Empire. He reflects that the conflicts that broke out during the film's production (such as those in Dubrovnik and elsewhere) made Porco Rosso a much more complicated and difficult film.
Evident historical and political realism aside, at least one scholar has argued that the film's more overt historical references can be understood as representative of wakon yosai (Japanese spirit; Western techniques)—a tendency, since the Meji period, for Japanese artists to paint Europe as spectacular, while simultaneously maintaining the distance necessary to preserve a distinct sense of Japanese identity. "In Porco Rosso," states academic Chris Wood, "Europe is tamed, rendered as a charming site of pleasurable consumption, made distant and viewed through a tourist gaze."
Homage to early aviation
The fictional "Piccolo" aircraft company depicted in the film may be a reference to the Italian aircraft manufacturers Caproni and Piaggio. The jet shown in the last scene is very similar in concept to the Caproni C-22J, an aircraft designed by Carlo Ferrarin, a designer for Caproni, whose name is notably used in the film for Marco's Air Force pilot friend. The Jet-amphibian also has a V-tail, slightly reminiscent of the Magister jet trainer.
Porco's air-force friend Ferrarin was inspired the Italian Air Force pilot Arturo Ferrarin who flew with an Ansaldo SVA.9 from Rome to Tokyo in 1920. Additionally, the Caproni Ca.309 light reconnaissance aircraft is known under the name "Ghibli", the same name as Miyazaki's and Takahata's animation studio.
While in Piccolo's engine shop, the engine to be used in the Porco's rebuilt Savoia S.21 also has the word "Ghibli" visible on its rocker covers—in design it is a narrow-angle V-12 engine, similar in form to racing engines of the period. Piccolo mentions that it was used in a racing aeroplane for the Schneider Trophy race in the year before.
In the early 1930s, Italian seaplane designers set world speed records (such as the Macchi M.C.72 designed by the Italian airplane designer Mario Castoldi). One of the test pilots killed during the attempt to set the speed record was named Bellini, the name given to Porco's pilot friend in the film.
Marco Pagot, the name of the main character, is also a homage to the Pagot brothers, pioneers of Italian animation (Nino and Toni Pagot were the authors of the first Italian animated feature film, The Dynamite Brothers, and his sons Marco and Gi Pagot were Miyazaki's collaborators in the production of Sherlock Hound).
Meanwhile, the character of Curtis is likely to have been named after the American aviation pioneer Glenn Hammond Curtiss who, along with the Wright Brothers, founded the Curtiss-Wright Corporation. Curtis' airplane is a Curtiss R3C, which was built for the 1925 Schneider Cup race (which Porco refers to when he first meets Curtis). His character is also an oblique reference to Ronald Reagan, in that his ambitions lie not only in Hollywood, but also the Presidency. The rest of Curtis' character appears to come directly from the adventure film heroes portrayed by Errol Flynn at this time—indeed, they share a jaw line—including his buccaneering derring-do, willingness to fight, and overall demeanour combined with romantic ardour. Miyazaki revisited the theme of aviation history in his 2013 film The Wind Rises.
- "The Wind of Time (When a Human Can Be a Human)" – 2:50
- "MAMMAIUTO" – 1:21
- "Addio!" – 0:37
- "The Bygone Days" – 2:16
- "A Sepia-Coloured Picture" – 0:47
- "Serbia March" – 1:03
- "Flying Boatmen" – 2:36
- "Doom (Cloud Trap)" – 1:23
- "Porco e Bella" – 1:06
- "Fio-Seventeen" – 2:04
- "The Women of Piccolo" – 2:04
- "Friend" – 3:04
- "Partnership" – 2:28
- "Madness (Flight)" – 2:39
- "To the Adriatic Sea" – 1:50
- "In Search of the Distant Era" – 2:18
- "Love at First Sight in the Wildness" – 1:11
- "At the End of Summer" – 1:26
- "Lost Spirit" – 4:11
- "Dog Fight" – 2:10
- "Porco e Bella (Ending)" – 2:35
- "The Time of Cherries" (sung by Tokiko Kato, arrangement by Yoko Kanno) – 2:52
- "Once in a While, Talk of the Old Days" (composition, lyrics, vocals by Tokiko Kato, arrangement by Yoko Kanno, Junichiro Ohkuchi) – 3:56
Porco Rosso was the number one film on the Japanese market in 1992, earning ¥2.8 billion in distribution income. It was selected as the "Prix du long métrage (Feature movie) at the 1993 Annecy International Animated Film Festival. It also made Time Out's top 50 animated movie list. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 94% based on 16 reviews. Wilson McLachlan, of the Left Field Cinema, considered it "the most underrated film from the Studio Ghibli catalogue."
In 2011, Miyazaki said that he wanted to make a follow-up anime to the 1992 original film if his next few films following Ponyo were successful. The film's working name is currently Porco Rosso: The Last Sortie and will be set during the Spanish Civil War with Porco also returning, albeit this time as an old pilot, reflecting Miyazaki's own aging. Miyazaki is writing the film, but Hiromasa Yonebayashi will direct. Due to both Miyazaki and Yonebayashi's departure from Ghibli and the current hiatus of the studio itself, the current status on the proposed sequel remains uncertain.
- 18 July 1992 Movie Theater
- 12 December 1992 Original VHS release
- Autumn 1999 Newer VHS release in Japan
- During 2003 English dub for the first time
- March 2004 Newer DVD/VHS in Japan
- 2005 Release by Disney
- Porco Rosso poster appears also Kichijoji Station in Ocean Waves when Taku meets Rikako
- In Whisper of the Heart, when Shizuku is shown the grandfather clock by Mr. Nishi, "Porco Rosso" is written on the clock face.