We are at the 8th in my monthly Blind Spot series and this month I check another anime classic off of my list, Hayao Miyazaki’s comedy-adventure Porco Rosso. This is a completely charming, delightful and a little strange comedy!
The main appeal to this movie is the stunning animation, funny dialogue and quirky weird characters. The lead is named Porco Rosso and he has been cursed to look like a pig. The movie treats this with a refreshing candor. He’s just a pig and that’s that!
The setting is post WWI and Porco is a bounty hunter who relaxes on the beach and likes doing things his own way. One day he gets a call to face off some pirate gangs. This leads to his plane being damaged by a man named Curtis and him landing in Milan to get it fixed.
In Milan there is a girl named Fio who Porco reluctantly hires to fix his plane (all the men have left Milan to find work elsewhere during the Depression). Fio is a great character who won’t take any crap from Porco but who also is vulnerable in moments.
There is also Gina who is love with Porco and yes they play it completely straight that she is in love with a pig man. He’s such a rogue and so confident it kind of makes sense! Unfortunately Curtis is also in love with Gina and it brings the two into conflict.
Curtis and Porco end up in a bet, that ends up in a race, that ends up in a fight. Fio makes the deal that if Porco wins than Curtis must pay off all of Porco’s repair bills and if he loses than Curtis can marry her. They don’t really explain why Fio wants to marry Curtis but it works. The race and then fight go on for perhaps a bit too long but I thought they were very funny.
I really enjoyed Porco Rosso. I liked how different it was and how it made me laugh. I liked the way nobody thought twice about a man with a pig face and they made it work because he was such a grumbling funny character. You could see why he was charismatic enough for people to forget the nose.
There also is some heart to the story when you finally get to hear Porco’s backstory and a little bit of a subtle Beauty and the Beast moment that is handled perfectly.
They had a terrific dubbing cast as well with Michael Keaton, Cary Elwes, Susan Egan, Brad Garrett, David Ogden Stiers and Kimberly Williams-Paisley in the leads. The music by Joe Hisaishi is of course great as well.
I guess Porco Rosso may not be for everyone but I would think of it as Hayao’s Wes Anderson movie. It totally has that same quirky weirdness about it. It’s great!
What do you think of Porco Rosso?
Overall Grade- A