After watching Miyazaki’s film, Porco Rosso, I began to do a little research on the film.  I came across a journal that took a deeper look into the meaning and reason of this odd film (Porco Rosso).  The article states, “Without a doubt, Porco Ross can at first look like such an oddity, both within Miyazaki’s work and in the broader field of anime.  However, as we discuss later, it is in this unique, personal work that many of the filmmaker’s key characteristics stand out most clearly, and also perhaps relate most strongly to broader cultural issues and other types of film (Moist, Bartholow).”  After watching the film, one is better able to appreciate Miyazaki’s artistic work and different and unique approach to anime cinema.  I have come to realization that Miyazaki’s aim is not to recreate Disney films.  His aim is to show Japanese culture in a kid friendly, moralistic, and creative manner.  With this said, one is better able to enjoy and understand Porco Rosso (The Crimson Pig).

The article also took a look into the background of the film.  The film was released in 1992 in Japan and did not debut in the U.S. until 2005.  The film is based on a half pig and half human character named Porco Rosso.  Porco is famous in his village for fighting off pirates and wooing the women.  The journal article shares that the pig represents a “macho papa figure and thirties B-picture.”  The article goes on to state that this movie was probably not intended for young children like his other movies but was probably catered toward an older male population.  Moist and Bartholow emphasize, ” This clearly was not a children’s fantasy, and Miyazaki felt it was aimed primarily at ‘tired, middle-aged men who have lost touch with the golden optimism of their youth.”  This is an important point.  When I first watched the film, I was struck with concern of how this film could be considered one of Miyazaki’s “environmentally kid friendly and wholesome anime.”  But it makes more sense now.

The article also reviewed the movies artistry and the formation of the characters.  The article praised the unique and exhilarating pig flying scenes.  Moist and Bartholow states, “ However, in agreement on the movie’s richly detailed animation and its formal artistry, especially praising the thrillingly realistic flying sequences throughout the film.”  The scenes involving the airplane fights were of course full of action.  I could see why this film would cater to the middle age man or teenager.  The article also took a look into the underlying themes present throughout the film.  Moist and Bartholow agree that the film is, “A rollicking comedy–action–love story given a more serious undercurrent by Miyazaki with deeper themes about human nature, love, and politics.”  I could not agree more with this statement.  The use of Miyazaki’s characters, love stories, and underlying theme of growing as a person is present in this film and nearly all of his 9 other films.  It’s been neat to see his use of artistry and style.  It’s really cool to see some of his same themes and styles present in nearly all of his movies.  I feel that, Miyazaki’s films, have better helped me understand Anime and has earned my respect for its wholesomeness. 

By: Lindsey Pifher

Reference: Moist, Kevin M., Bartholow, Michael.  When Pigs Fly: Anime, Auteurism, and Miyazaki’s Porco Rosso.  Animation 2007 2:27.  DOI: 10.1177/1746847706068904.