Posted by psgels on 29 November 2007 with categories: Anime Reviews


In contradiction to most other anime-fans (at least, that’s what I suspect), I’m not necessarily a Japanophile, and I don’t really regard the Japanese culture as the “best culture ever”; it’s just that these guys are so damn good at storytelling. That’s why I love it when an anime takes place in a country other than Japan. Because of this, I love the fact that for this movie, Hayao took up his roots of when he was still working for Nippon Animation, and combined this with his love for airplanes and his huge imagination.

The result is a beautiful depiction of southern Italy around the ages of World War One, and possibly the most unique out of all Ghibli-movies and it’s got a combination of drama and comedy that puts My Neighbour the Yamadas and Pom Poko to shame. While the amount of details that went into this movie isn’t as impressive as, say, My Neibour Totoro or Kiki’s Delivery-service, it makes up for this with some addictive storytelling and some awesome side-characters. You just can’t help but love the pirates and their antics.

Also, for once I’m glad that the main character doesn’t ruin the movie. Porco himself may not be the best character of the bunch, but yet he’s fresh and original, and a major leap away from the usual protagonists you see in anime, being a war veteran that turned into a pig and all. The real problem with Porco Rosso is that it’s got a few clichés here and there, though, that serve to keep the movie on track. A notable exception, however, is the ending.

With my reviews of the Ghibli-movies, I’ve often paid little to no attention to the production-values. Heck they’re awesome, what else did you expect? Still, I do want to mention that Porco Rosso has probably the best soundtrack of all Ghibli-movies. Like no other in Hisaishi Joe’s repertoire, it sets the mood for the Italian setting perfectly.

As I’ve now seen all of the major Ghibli-movies, I just don’t think I can really label one as the best of the bunch. My Neighbour Totoro was really nostalgic, Kiki’s Delivery-Service and Spirited Away were wonderful tales of growing up, and The Cat Returns and Porco Rosso combined great, intriguing and very different stories with a quirky nature and excellent characterizations. All I can say is that these five stood out for me as the most memorable, and they should be a definite recommendation to any anime-fan.

9 Responses

  1. Nikobless says:

    did you do a review of grave of the fireflies yet? it’s a major ghibli film and it’s an incredible one. you might want to check it out if you already haven’t.

  2. bateszi says:

    Nikobless beat me to it, but it doesn’t seem like you’ve reviewed Grave of the Fireflies, which is arguably their best work, and certainly the most important film produced by Studio Ghibli.

  3. marmot says:

    I think Porco Rosso is a great film and I don’t mind ambiguous endings but I felt that the ending was a bit too inconclusive. I think again it has a lot of ideas that due to time constraints can only be touched upon and not explored. Then again maybe it’s a sign that the worlds miyazaki creates are so intriguing you don’t want to leave them.

  4. primeparadigm says:

    Porco Rosso is my favourite Ghible movie because of its light hearted feel. I think it had a great ending, that forced viewers to read between the lines and was conclusive enough to satisfy me, while most other Miyazaki movies tend to have really rushed endings.

  5. qwaszx says:

    Hah, a guy turns into a pig, definitely goin to watch.

  6. Karry says:

    You call THIS a review ?

  7. psgels psgels says:

    Grave of the Fireflies was actually the first Ghibli-movie I ever saw. The reason there isn’t a review is because I watched it before starting this blog.

    I’m afraid that I watched it a bit too early, because I didn’t like it. Perhaps it was Takahata’s style of dragging things on for too long, but the movie really felt boring and uninteresting to me.

    Karry: I’m getting quite a bit tired of your trolling. If you don’t like the review, then why do you read it in the first place?

  8. ipso says:

    Psgels: I find fault in your reasoning. It’s a little ridiculous to ask someone why they read something in the first place if they didn’t like it. How could someone decide to not read something because they didn’t like it without first engaging in the opinion-deciding (like/dislike) reading?

    More simply:

    1. You can’t like or dislike a review without first reading it.

    2. By that time, you can’t decide to unread it ‘in the first place’.

    3. Maybe you should read Catch-22.

    As to why Karry posted something if s/he didn’t like the review, well, I’d say that s/he’s allowed to, isn’t s/he? It wasn’t exactly a critique, but still a valid opinion, no?

    And I think Karry does have a point: any review that, inter alia, describes something as ‘the most unique’ is probably suffering from some kind of defect.

  9. psgels psgels says:

    Ipso: thanks for the critizism on “the most unique”. “The most original” fits better, I think.

    Also, the reason for my comment at Karry was that he/she comments more often on this blog, with comments that border outright and unargumented flaming. After a dozen of these things, my patience just ran out.

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  • Raggers
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 11:58 PM)
    And an important thing to remember is that while all thoughts may be interesting, only commit the best to paper. Knowing what to leave out is almost as important as having stuff to put in.
  • Raggers
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 11:56 PM)
    @ninja: having not read any of your posts I can’t comment specifically, I just said that based on what kind of lengths look comfortably readable.
    Thanks to uni I’ve barely managed to watch a few episodes this season, so I’m trying to avoid spoiling anything. That said, I will say that if you limit your word count you will have much more focused posts than if it was just free.
  • hal
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 11:48 PM)
    Just for example, when I had a hard day, watched an episode of the show and then go onto some anime blog to read about it and then there’s some 1000+ words review about it, I’d really LIKE to read but just don’t have the attention to do it, I won’t bother at all. And I believe an impression about an anime episode can be put into way fewer words than that.
  • hal
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 11:45 PM)
    @Aidan: Nonono, that’s just a plus of shorter reviews. That’s not the main reason I’d like them. Of course I only read reviews of shows I DO watch, to listen to another opinion, because reading something you don’t know a thing about is pointless. Regarding episodic reviews at least. However I do enjoy reading a review of a show I like, I hope you didn’t misunderstand that. I guess I didn’t really put it into the right words.
  • ninjarealist
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 11:11 PM)
    @K-Off You know it.
    @Bam NTR finds a way.
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 10:46 PM)
    @Hal, So to summarize. You want the reviews to be shorter so that you don’t have to read them and can take in whether a show is worth picking up? In that case your problem isn’t with the reviews. It’s that there’s not a rating at the bottom.
    If need be we can bring that back.
  • hal
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 09:11 PM)
    The thing is, aside from disliking reading long texts on screen, I looked over some texts about shows I didn’t watch sometimes, to see if they’re worth to pick up (That’s also the reason why I actually miss the rating system. I picked up some shows only because psgels rated one episode as fantastic and I got curious) I don’t know if other people do the same, but short reviews are easier to look through for interesting developments.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 09:09 PM)
    @K-off: not sure how NTR works under incarceration, someone steals their prison-bitch I guess? lol
  • hal
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 09:08 PM)
    concerning the length discussion, it is true, that reading walls of text on the screen are a pain. As I said 500 words should be the absolute maximum for an episodic review. A full review on a series can be longer of course. You should also think about breaking the text down into smaller paragraphs of 4-7 lines each. It’s much easier to read longer texts that way.
  • k-off
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 08:53 PM)
    @Bam make that ntr for ninja.

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