Let’s go back two decades to the time when Studio Ghibli was still a very active production animation company. It has released so many classics so far and some of them went on to become famous internationally. Today, I’m going back to a less known animation film titled Porco Rosso. Some of you may have seen it, some may not, regardless, let’s continue below to know more about this film!
The basic premise is about Porco, a world war 1 fighter ace who has been transformed into a pig through an unknown curse. He is a bounty hunter and earns his living this way until the great depression comes. A woman named Gina has feelings for him but he doesn’t know. The air pirates have hired an American, Curtiss, who is also in love with Gina, to defeat him. After an unexpected engine crash, Porco has to go to his mechanic, there, he meets the mechanic’s daughter, and the two begins an awkward relationship. However, with Curtiss hell-bent on killing him again, could Porco ever survive to confirm his love with the two women?
As Studio Ghibli’s trademark, the visual style, and animation are very similar to their other works. In a sense, Porco Rosso is less about the majestic story, but rather more on the exploration of the characters. It does not have the same scale in terms of graphics or epicness compared to the studio’s other works. The story is not even complicated or filled with thought-provoking themes. What it excels in is solely on the simplicity of the characters with a simple story. This has probably one of the simplest stories I have ever seen from the studio. The characters are not particularly a lot, but they each are filled with personalities and distinct from one another. Especially regarding Porco, his backstory is only explained though some cutscenes and not much else, representing the story’s insistence of the audience caring more about his present than his past. And that he himself also accepts the curse and has moved on, at the cost of love.
What’s amazing about the animation is all of them are hand-drawn. Especially the planes and the action scenes, there are none of that 3D CGI, but just traditional method, though the animation is smooth. Colours are bright and characters are lively and filled with expressions. The relationship between Porco and the other characters also serve as interesting perspectives and interactions. It is perhaps the simplicity of the story that allows us to fully explore the characters itself, and in this sense, I really like this movie for it.