Title: Porco Rosso (紅の豚)
Released: 1992

Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Class Superlative:
 Class Clown That’s Secretly on the Honour Roll

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.

Lovable Anthropomorphic Human Sidekicks

Gina would probably resent being called lovable (and a sidekick, to boot), but she’s a grand throwback of a dame. 

Gina: “You’re stupid. I like that in a man.”

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.

Wait, WTF?

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.

Famous Voices

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?)

Exploring the Studio Ghibli Vault

Mandy (she/her) lives in Edmonton, AB. When she’s not raiding the library for YA books, she enjoys eating ice cream (esp. in cold weather), learning fancy pole dance tricks, and stanning BTS. Mandy has been writing for FYA since 2012, and she oversaw all things FYA Book Club from 2013 to 2023.