Dieselpunk + Steampunk Culture

Porco Rosso (anime; 1992) - Seaplanes and Air Pirates in the Depression-Era Mediterranean

"Thanks for the offer, but I'd rather be a pig than a Fascist."




Porco Rosso (the Crimson Pig) is a 1992 anime by Hayao Miyazaki which follows the adventures of an Italian flying boat pilot who has inexplicably been transformed into Porco Rosso, a half-man, half-pig. Now, in the early depression era Medeterranean, he's a bounty hunter, battling air pirates in the disputed Adriatic.


Voiced in the English version by Michael Keaton, Porco Rosso's fame and talent never quite manage to get him ahead of things financially, or lead to a "cure" for the strange curse that makes him a pig. Loved by women and adored by the people, he's singularly hated by the comically inept air pirates he defies. In despiration they call up glamorous American Seaplane Racer Donald Curtis (Cary Elwas; Wesley from the Princess Bride) to finally defeat Porco Rosso. Yet Curtis is in competition with Porco for more than glory in the air, but for the heart of Madame Gina, singer and owner of the local seaplane pilots' bar. 


When Curtis shoots Porco's already sputtering engine out, Porco makes way to Milan (and risk of arrests by the Fascist secret police) to the one man who can fix his beloved plane (a one-of-a-kind Caproni C-22, for those aviation buffs out there). There he's introduced to mechanic Piccolo's teenage granddaughter and mechanical prodige Fio. With the newly restored aircraft and young, feisty Fio in tow, Porco returns to the Adriatic to face Curtiss and hopefully make some money.


Spectacular visuals and graceful but fast-paced action share the screen with poigniant drama and emotion, political intrigue, and sometimes cartoonish comedy in a film aimed at grown-ups, but suitable for the family. The aerial scenes are breathtaking and realistic and it's worth seeing the movie just for them. Cynical but loveable, Porco exudes a cool charisma that makes him seem more truly human than his rivals. Historically and technically inclined viewers will appreciate the accuracy and attention to detail in the film's portrayal of the vintage aircraft [1] and historical setting while Dieselpunks and lovers of the era will appreciate the Casablanca-like atmosphere of intrigue, romance, and style. In all, it's a masterful work that stands well on its own, but is an absolute must-see for dieselpunks and flying boat junkies.


Cap'n's Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars and highly recommended for Dieselpunks and fans of flying boats and the Diesel Era.



1 - features Caproni, Curtiss, Savoia, and Dornier aircraft plus a score of more fictional, but intriguing aircraft that feel authentic.

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I love this move, as well as all the other Miyazaki movies. At least of the ones that I have seen.
Its one of the ones that I don't own yet.
Seen it twice. I hate anime but Porco Rosso is something special.
It's my first Miyazaka, but I'm curious to see more. I need to check out Castle in the Sky...that one looks Dieselpunkish as well...

I'm also not huge into anime the way many Americans are, but this one is one of the best and thankfully avoids most of the bad anime cliches that bug me so much. Thank the kami they didn't give Fio a little vaguely squirrelish cute thing for a pet, frex!

Just remember the - Alfred Bester? - line on how science fiction is crap. "90% of science fiction is crap. But hey, 90% of EVERYTHING is crap." :) So goes with anime.

I understand that the target for the Dragon Ball Whatever, Saint Seya or Naruto isn't the same after a while, in age and criteria; but I ask you to try to keep an open mind on authors like Hawao Miyazaki or Katsuhiro Otomo, this one more know for 'Akira': His 'Metropolis' is such an inspiration for the Dieselpunk genre, as 'Steamboy' is for Steampunk.

Having said that... Porco Rosso is fantastic, as any of his works (although I didn't appreciate Mowe's Moving Castle). He has a thing for airplanes, he always try to put some weird designs on his movies.

It is great for Dieselpunk. I can't watch anime anymore... I tried watching Last Exile, which is a sci-fi Steampunk/Dieselpunk mix, but it was just too weird. Not bad for background noise and visuals though.
I just added Porco Rosso to my Netflix queue. I have already seen both "Spirited Away" and "Castle In the Sky." I recommend them both but recommend "Spirited Away" somewhat more than "Castle" due to its story line (although they both are quite beautifully realized). I am not an anime devote by any means and approach watching anime as I would any other movie. And I most certainly agree with Cap'n Tony's comment above: "I'm also not huge into anime the way many Americans are, but this one is one of the best and thankfully avoids most of the bad anime cliches that bug me so much. Thank the kami they didn't give Fio a little vaguely squirrelish cute thing for a pet, frex!"

I also enjoyed Porco Rosso and, as Cap'n Tony said, I was glad to see it avoided many of the pitfalls that ruin some anime for me. Fio managed to be a precocious young woman without the sort of hot-and-cold personality and squeaky voice that usually makes me immediately go elsewhere* for something to watch. The english dub was very good, with Michael Keaton (BATMAN!) as Porco, and I thought that Porco's rival, Curtis, (Voiced by Cary Elwes in the dub) was a well-handled character, fully aware that he was a stereotypical bigger-is-better Texan, and the writers (and Elwes) had a lot of fun with it.


The airplanes are beautiful, the characters are interesting, and I especially enjoyed the reference to Roald Dahl's "They Shall Not Grow Old." I would recommend it highly.


*So far, I've hung on half-way through the English dub of Last Exile, despite Lavie annoying the hell out of me.

After having seen this, I just felt like flying my own plane, y'know? Feeling the wind in your face :D

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