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, Jan 26. 2015 10:33 PM)
    @Aidan: I’m not writing it off completely, but Death Parade is at ep3 and it’s still not clear where it’s going, and it has been far from a smooth ride.
  • Emma
    (Monday, Jan 26. 2015 09:23 PM)
    I did feel that Kino would have been better as just a few ovas, hell girl I think overstretched itself after season 2.
  • Emma
    (Monday, Jan 26. 2015 09:21 PM)
    Well in addition to all I’ve posted/thought about death parade so far, like hell girl mushishi, kino no tabi , Natsume even, eventually I find myself watching the best selection of episodes and not looking into every single one, sometimes I’ll just get fed up with episodic format shows too.
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Jan 26. 2015 04:03 PM)
    @Raggers, it might have difficulty with a two cour run but a single cour I don’t really think so. Hell Mushi-shi has kept itself going with the same formula for two seasons. Hell girl for three seasons.
  • Raggers
    (Monday, Jan 26. 2015 11:26 AM)
    The problem with Death Parade is that its potential is (at least, appears to be) skin deep. At least I’m having trouble seeing it escalate beyond what we see on the surface, and I doubt new cases will be interesting enough to watch week in, week out.
  • MM
    (Sunday, Jan 25. 2015 06:31 PM)
    Hey. You should watch M3: The dark metal ;)
  • Nyangoro
    (Sunday, Jan 25. 2015 09:33 AM)
    But hey, a step in the right direction is still a step. And I’ll take it. I also like that we’ve learned both can go to the same place, instead of either or.
  • Nyangoro
    (Sunday, Jan 25. 2015 09:32 AM)
    Watched Death Parade’s third episode. Easily the best so far. Significantly better execution, felt a lot less forced. The weight of their situation actually added something to their story, giving the Queen Decim gimmick more purpose. That said, the game itself was still heavily underutilized beyond tangential connection to their living selves. And the setting still needs attention if we’re meant to care about it in and of itself.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Jan 25. 2015 07:32 AM)
    Regarding isuca’s female protagonist, whatever anyone or I thinks or not of her character or design/situations involving her its another case of me wanting to beat her to death with a baseball bat. Not a good sign…
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Jan 25. 2015 06:27 AM)
    *while the series took me a bit to get into

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