In a Land of Pure Imagination
It’s the interwar years, and hardened World War I fighter ace Porco Rosso now makes his living as a bounty hunter. Porco tangles with air pirates, fends off flashy flyboys, and charms all the gals. As for more plot-specific deets, this movie could have just as easily been called How Porco Got His Groove Back.
Oh, and Porco’s a pig. Did you catch that? Porco is a living, breathing, talking pig. (It’s a curse; don’t worry ’bout it.) So you know that old saying, “when pigs fly”? YEAH GHIBLI WENT THERE.
Adorable Children Alert
Porco rescues a group of schoolgirls from the clutches of the Mamma Aiuto Gang. Once freed, the girls liberate themselves of their dresses to take a dip in the sea.
Anthropomorphic Human Sidekicks
Gina would probably resent being called lovable (and a sidekick, to boot), but she’s a grand throwback of a dame.
Piccolo, the mechanic, assembles an all-female team to work on Porco’s plane that would make Rosie the Riveter proud.
On a similar note: female engineers, REPRESENT! Fio’s a genius when it comes to planes.
A big endearing group of henchmen is one of my fave Ghibli tropes; the Mamma Aiuto Gang is no exception.
Porco’s interactions with Fio don’t make sense to me. Maybe he just feels awkward because she’s much younger than him (and, obvs, this is a chaste kid-friendly movie), but it’s still weird that this self-proclaimed figurative pig can be so easily thrown off his game.
- Michael Keaton, at his Bruce Wayne suavest, as Porco
- Cary Elwes (as you wish… !) as Donald Curtis
- Susan Egan (Megara) as Madame Gina
- Brad Garrett as the Mamma Aiuto Gang Boss
- David Ogden Stiers (Cogsworth!) as Grandpa Piccolo
- Kimberly Williams-Paisley (UGH Pehhhggy) as Fio
- Bill Fagerbakke (Patrick Star) as a member of the Mamma Aiuto Gang
Class Superlative: Class Clown That’s Secretly on the Honour Roll
Porco Rosso has the goofiest premise of any Ghibli movie. Others may be more fantastical, but the idea of a historical adventure starring a pig is pretty darn silly. Lighthearted as it seems to be, this film is a love letter to early aviation that doesn’t shy away from the political landscape that it’s set in. (I mean, when’s the last time you saw an anime character defy fascist Italy?)