Porco Rosso, known in Japan as Crimson Pig (紅の豚 Kurenai no Buta?) is the sixth animated feature film directed by Hayao Miyazaki, produced by Yoshio Sasaki, Sokai Tokuma, Yasuyoshi Tokuma and Matsuo Toshimitsu for Studio Ghibli and released on July 18, 1992.[1]

The plot revolves around an Italian World War I ex-fighter ace, now living as a freelance bounty hunter chasing "air pirates" in the Adriatic Sea. The man has been cursed and transformed into a pig. Once called Marco Pagot, he is now known to the world as "Porco Rosso", Italian for "Crimson Pig".

The film is loosely based on Miyazaki's manga Hikōtei Jidai. Miyazaki apparently based the scenery on the Rijeka, former Fiume, island coastline in Croatia.


The film, set in the Adriatic Sea in the interwar period, begins with the titular character Porco Rosso, a veteran WWI fighter ace and freelance bounty hunter, responding to an alert over an attack on a ferry liner by airborne pirates. Having successfully defeated the pirates, the so-called Mamma Aiuto gang, Porco retires to the Hotel Adriano, which is ran by his long-time friend Gina.

At the restaurant of the hotel, which is frequented by pilots all over the Adriatic, the heads of the pirate gangs are introduced to Curtis, an arrogant and ambitious American ace who has a contract to assist them. Within time Curtis falls in love with Gina but is frustrated to see that she has affections over Porco. After successfully executing a pirating mission Curtis tracks down Porco, who is flying to Milan to have his plane improved, and shoots him down, claiming to have killed him. Porco actually survives, but all but the fuselage of his plane has been destroyed. Porco continues his mission to Milan, much to the irritation of Gina (in Italy he is a wanted criminal for deserting the air force).

Porco arrives discreetly in Milan to meet Piccolo, his mechanic. He is surprised to find that Piccolo's sons have emigrated to find work elsewhere, and much of the engineering is done by his granddaughter Fio. Porco is initially skeptical of Fio's abilities as a mechanic, but after seeing her dedication in the project to repair his plane he accepts her as a competent engineer, and begins to recognize her as a genius. With no males to assist in the project, Piccolo calls up an all-female team to repair the plane. When Porco's plane is finished, he is unexpectedly joined by Fio on his flight home, with the justification that if the secret police (who have been discreetly observing them) arrest the team, they can say that Porco forced them to help and took Fio as a hostage. Porco reluctantly agrees, and the two hurriedly leave Milan. Stopping off to refuel on the way, Porco discovers that the new Fascist government are beginning to hire seaplane pirates for their own use, thus putting him out of business.

Upon returning home, Porco and Fio are ambushed by the pirate, who threaten to kill Porco and destroy his plane. Fio successfully talks them out of it, but Curtis appears and challenges Porco to a final duel. Fio impulsively makes a deal with him declaring that if Porco wins, Curtis must pay off his debts owed the Piccolo's company, and if Curtis wins, he may marry her. Porco is irritated at Fio for making such a deal, but forgives her and shows confidence in winning.

That night, at Fio's request Porco tells a story recalling an event in WWI, when he was still a human, where his entire squadron apart from himself was shot down in a dogfight with Austro-Hungarian aircraft. He recalls blacking out and awakening to find himself in complete stillness, with a white band hovering in the distant sky. Enemy aircraft fly past towards the band but ignore him. He sees his friend Berlini, Gina's then-husband, and calls him back but is ignored. Porco soon sees that the band is in fact thousands of planes flying together. Porco blacks out again and recovers skimming above the sea. When he awakes he discovers that he has been turned into a pig, believing this to be a divine punishment for fleeing the fight.[note 1]

The next day, the duel is arranged and a large crowd gathers on an island to observe. With the attendants betting heavily on the outcome, the contest begins. After an indecisive dogfight between Porco and Curtis, which soon dissolves into a bare fist boxing match, Gina appears to stop the fight and to warn the crowd that the Italian air force has been alerted and are on their way. Porco barely manages to win the fight upon her arrival, and hands Fio over to her, requesting Gina to look after her. With the crowd gone, Porco and Curtis agree to delay the air force together, and it is shown that Porco has transformed back into a human.

An epilogue reveals that Fio becomes president of Piccolo, which is now an aircraft manufacturer, Curtis becomes a Hollywood star, the pirates continue to attend the Hotel Adriano, and it is suggested that Porco proposes to Gina.


Character Original cast Disney English dub cast
Porco Rosso Shuichiro Moriyama Michael Keaton
Donald Curtis Akio Ōtsuka Cary Elwes
Madame Gina Tokiko Kato Susan Egan
Mamma Aiuto Gang Boss Tsunehiko Kamijo Brad Garrett
Mr. Piccolo Sanshi Katsura David Ogden Stiers
Fio Piccolo Akemi Okamura Kimberly Williams-Paisley


Fio and Porco in Porco Rosso

Fio and Porco

The film was originally planned as a short in-flight film for Japan Airlines based on Hayao Miyazaki's manga The Age of the Flying Boat, but grew into a feature-length film. The outbreak of war in Yugoslavia cast a shadow over production and prompted a more serious tone for the film, which originally had been set in Croatia. The airline remained a major investor in the film, and showed it as an in-flight film well before its theatrical release. Due to this, the opening text introducing the film appears simultaneously in Japanese, Italian, Korean, English, Chinese, Spanish, Arabic, Russian, French and German.

History and politicsEdit

Porco Rosso is one of the few films directed by Hayao Miyazaki in which the historical and geographical settings are clearly defined and where most of the story could have happened in the real world. Marco is an Italian hero from the First World War and is shown fighting against Austro-Hungarian fighter planes in a flashback sequence. The story is set in the Adriatic Sea, most likely near Rijeka in Croatia and the surrounding Dalmatian islands.

The story happens between the time of the two World Wars. The scenes in the Adriatic town suggest the town is Fiume (today Rijeka), although it could be set in any of the then Italian cities of Dalmatia. The story takes place during the fascist era; Italian guards are portrayed in military parades with typical fascist uniforms ("blackshirts"), albeit with different colors (black, blue and green). When Porco is buying ammunition from his favorite tool shop, the owner states that "government is changing again", which conceivably places the story in 1924, when Fiume was annexed by Italy under the terms of the Treaty of Rome. Italy, like many European countries, suffered severe economic hardship after the First World War and the economic crisis mentioned in the film is probably intended to be the European 1920s post-war depression rather than the global depression of the 1930s. However, the manga from which the film was derived specifically states the story is set in 1929, and in the opening sequence of the film Porco is reading a magazine bearing a 1929 date.

Porco makes statements of his being anti-fascist, quipping during one scene that "I'd much rather be a pig than a fascist".

Homage to early aviationEdit

The fictional "Piccolo" aircraft company depicted in the film may be a reference to the Italian aircraft manufacturers Caproni and Piaggio: the jet shown in the last scene is very similar in concept to the Caproni C-22J, an aircraft designed by Carlo Ferrarin (a designer for Caproni, whose name is also notably used in the film for Marco's Air Force pilot friend), but as a flying boat resembles most closely the Piaggio P-136 and later P-166 twin engined amphibians, in having a pusher configuration, inverted gull-wing configuration, retractable wingtip floats that double as fuel tanks, side retractable wheels, and slotted flap surfaces. The Jet-amphibian is also reminiscent of the Fouga Zephyr glider which tested the Mabore Turbofan prior to the development of the more famous Magister jet trainer, and shares with both of these aircraft the inclusion of a V-tail.

Additionally, the light reconnaissance aircraft Caproni Ca.309 is known under the name "Ghibli", the same name as Miyazaki's and Takahata's animation studio.

In the early 1930s, Italian seaplane designers set world speed records (such as the Macchi M.C.72 designed by the Italian airplane designer Mario Castoldi). One of the test pilots killed during the attempt to set the speed record was named Bellini, the name given to Porco's pilot friend in the film.

Marco Pagot, the name of the main character, is also a homage to the Pagot brothers, pioneers of Italian animation (Nino Pagot was the author of the first Italian animated feature film, "I fratelli dinamite", and his sons Marco and Gi Pagot were Miyazaki's collaborators in the production of Sherlock Hound).

Meanwhile, the character of Curtis is likely to have been named after the American aviation pioneer Glenn Hammond Curtiss who, along with the Wright Brothers, founded the Curtiss-Wright Corporation. His character is also an oblique reference to Ronald Reagan, in that his ambitions lie not only in Hollywood, but also the Presidency. In the 1930s this would indeed have seemed remarkably ridiculous (hence Gina laughing off his ambition), though modern viewers will gain a satisfied grin from Curtiss on this score. The rest of Curtiss' character appears to come directly from the adventure film heroes portrayed by Errol Flynn at this time — indeed, they share a jaw line — including his buccaneering derring-do, willingness to fight, and overall demeanour combined with romantic ardour.


Porco Rosso
Joe Hisaishi
Released 22 July 1992
Label Tokuma
  1. "The Wind of Time (When a Human Can Be a Human)" – 2:50
  2. "MAMMAIUTO" – 1:21
  3. "Addio!" – 0:37
  4. "The Bygone Days" – 2:16
  5. "A Sepia-Coloured Picture" – 0:47
  6. "Serbia March" – 1:03
  7. "Flying Boatmen" – 2:36
  8. "Doom (Cloud Trap)" – 1:23
  9. "Porco e Bella" – 1:06
  10. "Fio-Seventeen" – 2:04
  11. "The Women of Piccolo" – 2:04
  12. "Friend" – 3:04
  13. "Partnership" – 2:28
  14. "Madness (Flight)" – 2:39
  15. "To the Adriatic Sea" – 1:50
  16. "In Search of the Distant Era" – 2:18
  17. "Love at First Sight in the Wildness" – 1:11
  18. "At the End of Summer" – 1:26
  19. "Lost Spirit" – 4:11
  20. "Dog Fight" – 2:10
  21. "Porco e Bella (Ending)" – 2:35
  22. "The Time of Cherries" (sung by Tokiko Kato) – 2:52
  23. "Once in a While, Talk of the Old Days" (composition, lyrics, singing by Tokiko Kato, arrangement by Yoko Kanno, Junichiro Ohkuchi) – 3:56


Porco Rosso was the number one film on the Japanese market in 1992, earning ¥2.8 billion in distribution income.[4] It was selected as the "Prix du long métrage (Feature movie) at the 1993 Annecy International Animated Film Festival. The film received a "Tomatometer Rating" of 100% percent positive, on the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on thirteen reviews.[5] It also made Time Out's top 50 animated movie list.[6] On Anime News Network (ANN) Porco Rosso, as of Dec 2010, has over 2,600 ratings, the average of which is 8.212 out of 10.


Miyazaki has proposed he wants to make a follow-up anime to the 1992 original film if his next few films following Ponyo are successful. The film's working name is currently Porco Rosso: The Last Sortie and will be set during the Spanish Civil War with Porco also returning, albeit this time as an old pilot, reflecting Miyazaki's own aging.[7]



External linksEdit

ar:بوركو روسو ca:Porco Rosso cs:Porco Rosso de:Porco Rosso es:Porco Rosso eo:Kurenai no buta (filmo) fr:Porco Rosso gl:Kurenai no Buta ko:붉은 돼지 hr:Porco Rosso it:Porco Rosso ka:ალისფერი ღორი hu:Porco Rosso – A mesterpilóta nl:Porco Rosso ja:紅の豚 no:Porco Rosso pl:Szkarłatny pilot pt:Kurenai no buta ru:Порко Россо fi:Porco Rosso sv:Porco Rosso th:พอร์โค รอสโซ สลัดอากาศประจัญบาน uk:Порко Россо vi:Porco Rosso zh:红猪

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