Porco Rosso (Kurenai no Buta) is an animated feature length movie that was released in 1992. It was written and directed by one of Japan’s finest anime creators, Hayao Miyazaki. Miyazaki has become known for such amazing anime films as Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Princess Mononoke and Howl’s Moving Castle. Once again he plies the trade he knows best with Porco Rosso, an ordinary man with a very strange curse.
Porco Rosso is the story of an Italian man that is named Marco Pagot. Due to a curse, he has the head of a pig and becomes known as Porco Rosso. Porco used to be a pilot with the Italian Air Force, but left the military to become a pilot bounty hunter, living only for himself. Porco starts the movie on the phone taking a job to rescue a group of kidnapped girls. He completes the mission easily and has supper at a hotel called the Hotel Adriano, where a long time friend of his, Gina, works. Gina is one of the only people to know what Porco Rosso looked like before his curse, and she dreams of the day that Porco will return her love.
Porco also meets his nemesis, an American pilot named Curtis, at the restaurant. Shortly after leaving the restaurant, Curtis comes upon Porco and shoots his plane down. He circles a few times and, believing Porco to be dead, leaves. Porco survived the crash and manages to get his plane to Milan in order to be repaired. He discovers that his friend that owned his favorite mechanic shop is no longer there. In fact, he finds that no men are at the shop, that they have all left town to find work, as the town is suffering from the after effects of the Great Depression. Fio, the young granddaughter of the owner, is the only one there, but Porco finds that she is an excellent mechanic and ends up taking her with him when he leaves Milan.
Porco flies Fio to his private island and discovers that Curtis and a band of pirates have invaded his sanctuary. Curtis, annoyed by Porco and suddenly infatuated with Fio, challenges Porco to a duel, and it is decided that if Curtis wins, Fio will marry him, but if Porco wins, Curtis will pay for the repairs that were necessary on his plane. Porco and Curtis engage in their duel, a dogfight, the next day. Porco has a rule that he will not fire to hit a pilot, but will only hit the plane. Because of this, Curtis is able to take advantage of Porco and tire him out. It is only the timely arrival of Gina that decides the end of the battle.
While it may seem odd to watch a movie about a man with a pig’s head, Porco Rosso is about so much more than that. It is a movie that truly demonstrates Hayao Miyazaki’s strong opinions against war. While it is never said how Porco winds up with a pig’s head, many use the quote from Miyazaki, where he says that war only degenerates people into animals, as the reason that Porco is cursed with a pigs head.