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File:Porco1.jpg

Porco Rosso or Kurenai no Buta / 紅の豚, which roughly translates as "The Crimson Pig" or "The Red Pig", is a 1992 film by Hayao Miyazaki, a homage to the early days of aviation and cinema.

The film tells the story of a renowned Italian fighter pilot, a veteran of the First World War who has been mysteriously transformed into a pig. During The Great Depression, Porco Rosso, the 'Red Pig' makes his living as a mercenary, flying a crimson seaplane and doing battle with pirates. Things really start to get interestig for Porco when the pirates, tired of having their butts handed to them by a pig, hire Curtis, a famed American aviator, to take him down. Pursued by the Fascist military he deserted years ago, Porco gains a teenage sidekick, Fio, and takes the fight to the pirates. What follows is an epic journey of self-discovery and general Badassery in the great Ghibli tradition. It's got all the hallmarks of a Miyazaki movie; strong women, flying machines, air-pirates and an undertone of the supernatural.


Tropes used in Porco Rosso include:
  • Acoustic License: Played straight and averted. Sometimes, people communicate plane-to-plane via morse code, as they did in real life. Other times, they simply shout, which in real life would have been impossible.
  • Affably Evil: Curtis, and even "evil" is debatable; he's more of just The Rival to Porco as a pilot and for Gina's affections.
  • A-Team Firing: Lots of bullets are fired, but no people (or pigs) are ever hit.
  • Author Appeal: Miyazaki loves Italy and aviation (see Meaningful Name).
  • Badass Mustache: Porco Rosso has one.
  • Betty and Veronica: Gina, Porco's old friend who's always been in love with him and was always waiting for him, and Fio, Porco's young and feisty mechanic who also has feelings for him. They never meet until the end of the film and become good friends. The ending narration is deliberately ambiguous as to which one Porco chooses though the circumstances imply it was Gina.
    • Gina has to choose between Porco and Curtis, an American pilot who proposes to her. She makes it clear her choice is Porco.
  • Celebrity Voice Actor: The Disney dub featured both Micheal Keaton as Porco, and Brad Garrett as Boss.
    • The French dub gives us Jean Reno as Porco.
  • Catch Phrase: "That can't be good" in the English dub; "A pig's gotta fly" in the original.
  • The Chanteuse: Gina.
  • Cool Hat: Porco Rosso has one of these, too.
  • Cool Plane: Porco's Savoia S-21 is one of the most beautiful planes on film and Curtis' Curtis R3C-2 is based on the airplane that Jimmy Doolittle flew to win the 1925 Schneider Cup.
    • Also averted by the Sky Pirates motley collection of flying contraptions, though those are all caricatures of genuine aircraft as well.
  • Cool Shades: Porco Rosso wears these as well.
  • Completely Missing the Point: Porco tells Fio he's a known womanizer who lives on a small island in a tent. Her response? "That's OK, I like camping."
  • Day of the Jackboot: There are underlying hints of this, supposedly modelled on Benito Mussolini's forces.
  • Eagle Land: Curtis, who shifts from Flavor 1 to Flavor 2 depending upon how high his hormones are running at the moment.
  • Fake American: Englishman Cary Elwes does a mighty fine job as Curtis.
  • Funny Animal: Porco Rosso himself, obviously.
  • Genius Bruiser: Boss, a mild case. Not exactly a genius, but surprisingly enlightened nonetheless.
  • Ghibli Hills: shown passing under Porco's plane as he and Fio escape Italy.
  • Glamorous Wartime Singer: Gina.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: What the epic air fight between Porco and Curtiss boils down to after both their guns fail.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Most of the pirate bosses have nasty-looking facial scars.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language:
  • Goldfish Poop Gang / Harmless Villains: The sky pirates.
  • Homage: Porco's vision of a great procession of dead war pilots ascending to heaven in their planes was inspired by a Roald Dahl short story, incidentally providing a Genius Bonus for those who know Dahl himself was an Adriatic fighter pilot in WWII.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: The sky pirates.
  • In Love with Love/Meet Cute: Curtis, who proposes to Gina and Fio upon meeting them at different points of the film. Gina quickly refuses him in favor of Porco, while Fio's hand in marriage is set up as Curtis's prize during a duel between Porco and Curtis.
  • I Work Alone: Porco's refusal to join the Italian navy air force.
  • Little Stowaway: Fio on Porco's plane. She claims she needs to go with him to ensure it runs properly after repairs--and pretending to be his hostage may prevent the secret police from arresting her family.
  • Magical Realism Porco is magically transformed into a pig. Why? Where does the magic come from?
  • Meaningful Name: Gina is named after the G-91R aircraft's nickname, manufactured by Italian-Brazilian joint venture AMX. The series it belongs to? "Ghibli", which is where Studio Ghibli's name comes from.
  • Missing Mom: Fio's mother. Her father's absence is justified, as he has left to find work like the rest of Piccolo's sons. Her mother, however, is never shown or mentioned, and it appears that Piccolo himself is responsible for Fio.
    • Piccolo himself says Fio came from America. Likely her mother stayed there, Her elder sister is introduced as part of the crew that rebuild's Porco's airplane.
  • My Greatest Failure: A battle in which Porco survived when the rest of his squad didn't.
  • Not So Crazy Anymore: Gina bursts out laughing when Curtis "modestly" confides that becoming a famous Hollywood star is merely the first step towards his real goal: The President!
  • Olive Garden: Every stereotype you know about pre-WWII Italy is milked, although it's done so well you can't complain.
  • Plucky Girl: Fio.
  • Pun-Based Title, Porco Rosso, or the red pig, is a pun on the Red Baron
  • The Power of Love: What inspires Porco to get up and win the fight, and may be what turns him back into a man. Though perhaps Porco simply let go of his cynicism. Damn you, ambiguous endings!
  • Precocious Crush: 17-year-old Fio having a crush on the more middle-aged Porco.
  • Reused Character Design: Fio looks very similar to Nausicaa from Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, another Ghibli movie; Miyazaki has a tendency to recycle character models.
  • The Roaring Twenties: Everywhere from Gina's flapper outfits to the plane designs.
  • Romantic False Lead Fio.
  • Shaming the Mob: Fio delivers an absolutely classic example to the pirate gang by appealing to their sense of honour.
  • Shout-Out: The new engine Piccolo installs in Porco's plane has "GHIBLI" embossed in the valve covers.
  • Shown Their Work: Even more than usual for Miyazaki.
    • All the planes are absolutely correct (though the Pirates' are exaggerated) down to the fascist axe symbols.
    • The new engine for Porco's plane is a period-appropriate Rolls-Royce Peregrine.
    • Porco's WWI Italian Air Corps uniform is accurate.
    • All named Italian pilots are real people who flew with the Italian Air Force (though some of them were dead by the time the movie is supposed to be set).
    • However, they did misspell a few words in Italian.
  • Sky Pirate: Of the varieties.
  • Suspiciously Apropos Music: "Les Temps des Cerises", sung by Gina and playing on the radio in the beginning.
  • Ted Baxter: Averted; Curtis initially seems to be this kind of character, but he's almost as good as he thinks he is (not quite that good though) and isn't quite the jerk he initially appears to be.
  • Truce Zone: Gina's Cafe Adriano. Both pirates and pigs enter, but neither make any trouble inside; when it looks like the pirate gangs are about to start a fight, all it takes is a bit of gentle chiding from Gina and they're falling over themselves like bashful kids.
  • Ugly Guy's Hot Female Family Members: Piccolo.
  • Unfortunate Names: When your gang's name (Mamma Aiuto) means "Help me, Mommy!", you're not going to get much respect.
  • The Un-Reveal:
    • The origin of Porco's curse, though his guilt stemming from the death of his best friend (and Gina's late husband) in the war may be the cause of it. It serves more as a symbol of his disillusionment and cynicism than anything else.
    • At the film's end, Porco's curse has broken and Curtis sees his human face, but it is never revealed to the audience. Fio does give us a brief look when she's half-asleep and Porco is seated at a table checking cartridges. At least, that is the implication.
      • It's seen earlier, in the photo in the bar. The unreveal is whether or not it's turned back.
  • Wall Crawl: Curtis seems to be surprisingly good at this, scaling the walls of Gina's garden, and descending the cliff into Porco's Island hideout.
  • Where Are They Now? Epilogue: For everyone except Porco. This is presumably to keep it ambiguous on whether or not he actually became human again and with which woman girl he ended up.
  • Wife Husbandry: Isn't Fio a little young for Curtis?
    • She is 17, and Curtis can't be much older if he still looks young in the 1940s.
  • Wimp Fight: Porco's and Curtis' air duel/boxing match quickly devolves into this: by the end of six rounds both men are so tired they don't even try to block each other's punches.
  • Wrench Wench: Fio and Piccolo Aviation's all-female workforce.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Played with. Fio suggests that if she kisses Porco, his curse might be lifted. She kisses him at the end of the film too, but Porco's curse isn't broken until after he and Curtis agree to distract the Italian Air Force, implying that the curse was truly broken when Porco finally let go of his cynicism and disillusionment.
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