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written on February 11th, 2005
I heard about Porco Rosso when it was first released. However, my 11-year-old reaction was somewhere along the lines of "A movie about a flying pig?!? How stupid can that be! I am not going to waste my time on that."

I wonder how many others had a first impression similar to that.

Probably not many since Porco Rosso broke Japan's box office records when it was released. ^_^;;

Anyways, as a result, I missed out on this great film for years. It was my loss completely.

Porco Rosso is a great adventure film. Yet, in my humble opinion, Porco Rosso is also the most sophisticated Studio Ghibli film. Sophisticated is not to be confused with seriousness, as surely Grave of the Fireflies is the most serious of all Studio Ghibli film. In Porco Rosso, the hero is an adult. In other films such as Laputa, Totoro, Kiki's Delivery Service, Spirited Away, etc, the hero/heroine is still young and still possess certain innocence in viewing the world. Porco Rosso is a man who has seen it all; deaths, wars, experiencing great personal loss, and no longer possesses this innocence. In fact, he is so disgusted with humanity that he would rather live as a pig than as a human. The movie is seen through adult eyes, with grown-up knowledge of loss and pain, and grown-up understanding and distaste for politics and wars. As such, although there is a great sense of youthful adventure and escapism in the movie, the journey that is taken by the characters is at a different level than that of other beloved Ghibli characters.

I don't rewatch my Studio Ghibli film collection often. They sit on my shelf for a few years, and I only watch them if I have young cousins coming over and it is something to keep them entertained. I usually don't get to pay much attention to the film during these viewings either. I have a tendency to forget just how wonderful Studio Ghibli films are. I was reminded of this when I rewatched Porco Rosso while creating this website. This film is just wonderful. Absolutely wonderful, and it felt just perfect. After watching it, I was convinced this is my favourite Studio Ghibli film. (Though I might change my mind once I watch another Studio Ghibli movie) I love this movie and I want to encourage everyone to watch it. Think beyond "the hero is a pig!?!" because the film is not about that. Yes, the hero is a pig, but there is a reason for it that is important and meaningful, and the pig is character that humans watching the film can identify with.

I don't think the animation is the most outstanding aspect of the film. The characters and the music stood out most to me. The characters feel very real, especially Porco Rosso and Gina. As I mentioned earlier, they are adults who are mature and have experienced real world, and real pain. It is very easy to identity with them. I don't remember if I felt the same when I first watched a few years ago. It has been a few years since I last watched Porco Rosso...but definitely this time around, I was able to sympathize and understand Porco Rosso's perspective a lot more.

I think adults and children take away different things from the film.

The little kindergarten girls in the beginning of the film are so cute!!! I want to hug them all and bring them home. I also really like Fio. Her energy and her enthusiasm for life, the complete opposite of Porco Rosso, are very infectious. It is really warming. You completely understand why Porco Rosso would want to give humanity a second chance after meeting someone like Fio. She is drawn very similar to Nausicaa. Each time I see her character light up the screen, I think it's our window to see Nausicaa as a happy carefree young woman if she wasn't bogged down by such great responsibilities.

My favourite parts in the movie involve just the crimson plane in flight. I have two specific scenes in mind; the first where Porco Rosso is taking his plane to Milan, and the second when he is flying with Fio back to the Adriatic Sea. Jo Hisaishi did such a great job at creating music that fit those scenes perfectly. It conjures up all sorts of imagery...of the sea, Italy, serenity of flight...it's simply wonderful. I don't have the original soundtrack for Porco Rosso...note to self: get one.

One of the most memorable parts of the film is when Porco Rosso/Marco Paggot sees the afterworld of pilots. Even more poignant is his doubt as to whether it was heaven or hell that he saw.

This movie is simply wonderful. I don't think I can emphasis this enough. It is a film that kids will enjoy, and they can rewatch it years later as adults with an entirely different appreciation for it. It is a beauty, it is a classic. If you haven't watched Porco Rosso by now, go out and watch it!

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