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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  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Sunday, Aug 30. 2015 09:30 PM)
    I get to cheat and say those Rodriguez films are westerns =)
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Sunday, Aug 30. 2015 09:20 PM)
    What I can’t forgive Genesis for though is kiddifying terminator.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Sunday, Aug 30. 2015 09:18 PM)
    @Bam: Though I think Cameron may have gone mad after 1997.
    Ah-ha, but Miller is a true Aussie, they live through volcanic, Venus/Mercury summers there. =P
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Sunday, Aug 30. 2015 09:16 PM)
    @Bam: No, no avatar, my Alita movie, done right, done now. =P
    Terminator 3 and salvation were very very mediocre. T3 is fun to laugh at at least, salvation wasn’t very good but it did show the whole dark future schtick.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Aug 30. 2015 08:52 PM)
    I’ll torrent it later just to see how they attempted to make sense of this fucked up chronology.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Aug 30. 2015 08:51 PM)
    I haven’t seen Terminator Genisys, since I refuse to drop a penny on what is clearly a monument to artistic compromise. How Cameron lets these idiots desecrate his legacy for the money he doesn’t even need is beyond me. He should get his head out of his ass and either finish that 7 years-in-the-making Avatar 2 and make a good Terminator and set it right, or just live and let it die.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Aug 30. 2015 08:38 PM)
    I also wanted to see a bit more of Max’s character, but I think Hardy did good with the little he had to do. I mean he spent the first act of the movie tied to a pole with a muzzle on his face. Guess we have to wait till the sequel. It’s crazy to have this 70+ years old man directing movies in the dry extreme heat of the desert. Mad props to Miller for keeping it real.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Aug 30. 2015 08:35 PM)
    @Kaiser: see you updated the list. I’ve unfortunately have only seen Fury Road and what We Do in the Shadows from your 2015 lineup; I also liked both.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Aug 30. 2015 08:32 PM)
    @Kaiser: pretty comprehensive list, just add High Noon, The Wild Bunch (another Kurosawa rip-off but done well), Once Upon a Time in the West, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and that Brad Pitt Jesse James movie and you pretty much have the important Westerns covered.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Sunday, Aug 30. 2015 08:30 PM)
    =< Terminator genesis! why God why God why!

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