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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  • k-off
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 05:21 AM)
    @Wicked Exactly, the main characters got thorough characterization and each of them got their own character arcs.
  • k-off
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 05:20 AM)
    Kokoro Connect’s Heartseed was just a half-assed character, he’s just in the story to contrive one angsty drama after another, with no interesting motivation or personality beyond “I feel like it.” The main characters were so much more colorful by contrast
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 04:50 AM)
    @Kaiser: sorry I was literally in the mountains. I saved that list and will get to the shorts soon.
  • wicked
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 12:04 AM)
    @kaiser Kokoro connect has the benefits of characters having relatable problems. Kids not really understanding their teenage feelings is a relatable thing. Kiznaiver characters have anime problems, like I feel no pain, or I’m cartoonishly obnoxious, which is not a problem as plot devices, but tenuous as a trait to connect the audience
  • SuperMario
    (Monday, May 2. 2016 10:41 PM)
    @Kaiser: yeah, like I said, the ending actually justify everything come before and that ranks really high on my book
  • SuperMario
    (Monday, May 2. 2016 10:39 PM)
    @mamamoo:On Kiznaiver, yeah I like the characters well enough,, they have a good chmestry altogether and those small moments are great.
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, May 2. 2016 07:24 PM)
    @mamamoo, On matter of the plot, yeah its not really hitting a sweet spot. But I find the characters really likable.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Monday, May 2. 2016 06:05 PM)
    I like the idea behind Kokoro connect perhaps more than the whole show.
    I think I mainly watched it for Heartseed and Iori.
  • mamamoo
    (Monday, May 2. 2016 05:43 PM)
    Oh I didn’t even think of kokoro connect…and yeah I remember that being actually really interesting and enjoyable
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Monday, May 2. 2016 05:42 PM)
    @Mario: Had a look at El Clan/the clan, decent, solid undemanding thriller, liked it for what it was, had its moments and the ending surprised me a bit too.

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