They’re the best Anime that 1992 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of Dragon Ball Z Movie 07: Kyokugen Battle!! Sandai Super Saiyajin, Doraemon Movie 13: Nobita to Kumo no Oukoku, Ranma ?: Kessen Tougenkyou! Hanayome wo Torimodose!, and more!
5: Dragon Ball Z Movie 07: Kyokugen Battle!! Sandai Super Saiyajin
English: Dragon Ball Z: Super Android 13!
Japanese: ドラゴンボールZ 極限バトル!!三大超サイヤ人
MAL Score: 6.86
Dr. Gero’s Androids #13, #14, and #15 are awakened by the laboratory computers and immediately head to the mall where Goku is shopping. After Goku, Trunks, and Vegeta defeat #14 and #15, #13 absorbs their inner computers and becomes a super being greater than the original three separately were. Now it is up to Goku to stop him.
Yet again, this is for Dragonball Z fans. If you don’t ike the episodes I highly doubt you will like this movie and would waste your time reading on. If you do like the episodes, feel free to continue reading. If you have not seen Dragonball Z t all then I recommend watching it first, atleast up to the end of the Android / Cell Saga, this kind of fits in with it.
The story of this is basically the most powerful android Dr Gero has created (that they have seen so far) and yes you guessed it..they have to kill it, the action is pretty much right the way through the film it gets moving pretty quick. It’s pretty much an hour of combat.
The animation wasn’t bad, nothing special, the typical Dragonball Z animations.
As this is a movie and most movies d have, for Dragonball Z. The sound was better than the series but not the best from the movies.
Same as you’d expect from Dragonball Z. Won’t explain it more as I really don’t think you will enjoy this movie if you did not like Dragonball Z.
This was my second favourite Dragonball Z film and I have watched this various times.
For those of you reading this that aren’t Japanese, do you remember your first time watching an anime in the original Japanese with subs? This was my very first experience ever watching ANYTHING in a foreign language and reading sub-titles. The year was 1999 and I was 11 years old. My local comic store sold bootleg VHS tapes made by the Chinese Triad, including all the DBZ movies. I bought this movie because it had an epic cover art slapped on it that actually had nothing to do with the movie. The Chinese bootleggers just put completely random cover art on all their DBZ VHS tapes. For most of you, this was one of the shittiest DBZ movies, but for me it was an epic experience!
The movie starts with Android 17 decapitating Gero with a roundhouse kick, which was completely edited out of the US version. For some reason, the movie actually adds a copious amount of blood that wasn’t in the main series version of that scene. Having never watched anime “uncut” my 11 year old mind was blown by the shower of blood when Gero gets his head smashed! I mention in some of my other reviews that I rented and bought a bunch of shitty late 80s and early 90s OVAs to bask in the manly violence. THIS was actually the movie that started that path. I put up with bullshit like Genocyber, MD Geist, and all the others like a drug addict trying to chase down that first “high” that you never quite feel again. This movie has ZERO plot, but the fights are and fast and furious, the animation is good for DBZ standards, and it is quite enjoyable for any DBZ fan.
Even better than the violence was the amazing soundtrack! I had never heard the Shunsuke Kikuchi soundtrack until this movie and only experienced the US soundtrack by good ol’ Bruce.
HOLY SHIT! This music was SO much better that it made this shitty movie worth re-watching again and again just to experience it. Youtube didn’t exist and bootleg VHS was really the only way to listen to the glorious original soundtrack! I’m not sure if it was ever uploaded to Napster and my computer would have been WAY too slow to download it anyways. The epic music for the battles, the badass character themes for Piccolo and Vegeta, and the absolutely beautiful song that plays when Goku uses the Spirit Bomb (Genki Dama for you fucking Weaboos!) Music plays a massive role in how much we enjoy movies, even though we often don’t realize the impact that it has. Imagine Star Wars with a shitty soundtrack! It would be a good film, but the experience simply would NOT be the same! I didn’t fully realize would a monumental difference soundtrack could make until watching this movie and hearing the difference between the Japanese and US soundtracks to DBZ. In that regard, this movie actually was an important step in my development as a film critic by opening my eyes to that fact.
Did I rate this film objectively and completely free of nostalgic bias? Hell no I didn’t! I’m only human, and we are all susceptible to nostalgia. Knowing this allows me to have empathy and avoid becoming quite as bitter and condescending as some other critics. I may feel a twinge of anger when someone rates Mirai Nikk or Black Lagoon a 10/10, but if that was my first violent anime, my first sub, my first introduction to a Japanese soundtrack, and I watched it at age 12, I would probably have done the same thing. God bless this shitty movie, its bloody violence, and its glorious soundtrack!
“Super Android 13” has lame jokes, bad voice acting, and worse of all, a storyline that could have been written by simpletons: Robots programmed to kill Goku. That’s it. Seriously! It’s a pretty poor effort even for an action film. There’s practically no character development (or even characterisation) to speak of, and barely any dialogue, just continuous battling. But since it’s an action anime, it would have been redeemable if the action is even half decent. Alas, it isn’t. It’s ridiculously unimaginative, and follows the usual hero keeps powering up till he wins patterns with impressive faithfulness. If there’s anything that I hadn’t seen before, it’s the ultra-fast-exchange-of-blows style battles… but the movie used it so much (like 90% of the time) that by the time it finished I was already bored of it.
*sigh* I can see why this “movie” is only 45 minutes long. It would be hard to make anything longer than this with the kind of material that this anime has to work with.
4: Doraemon Movie 13: Nobita to Kumo no Oukoku
English: Doraemon the Movie: Nobita and the Kingdom of Clouds
Japanese: 映画 ドラえもん のび太と雲の王国
MAL Score: 7.11
During class, Nobita questions the teacher where heaven is located when he was being taught about clouds. Being laughed at, Nobita looks for proof that a heavenly place exists on the clouds, but was explained by Doraemon that it cannot exist scientifically. Disappointed, he was eventually helped by Doraemon to create their own kingdom of clouds. Little did they know that there are creatures who have been living on clouds for a long time.
3: Ranma : Kessen Tougenkyou! Hanayome wo Torimodose!
English: Ranma : Nihao My Concubine
Japanese: らんま1/2 決戦桃幻郷! 花嫁を奪りもどせ!!
MAL Score: 7.42
Ranma and the gang are invited to a boating trip with Kuno. Unfortunately, a storm destroys the yacht and everyone is stranded on a remote island. The whole situation goes even more awry when one by one, the girls disappear without a trace. Ranma then finds out that the girls are abducted by Toma, ruler of the island, as part of his personal harem.
Although there are three Ranma 1/2 movies (1989-1992), the only one I really liked is Ranma 1/2: The Kidnapping of the Brides (1992). Like the previous ones, the animation was done by Studio Deen and the resulting work was sensational. As would be expected from such a popular franchise, let’s go. Dragon Ball Z (1989-1996) and Yu Yu Hakusho (1992-1995) have similar examples among their films. Among the changes is its new director: Iku Suzuki. A man of great experience in the industry, although usually he has never been associated with very salient titles. Still, the film was crowned the best of the trio, albeit not with high honors.
In the same way as Ranma 1/2: Big Trouble in Nekonron (1991), the main plot consists of the rescue of Akane. Actually, I’m telling a half truth because this time the kidnapper sequester all the women in the group. A modification that, however, does not constitute a great change because most of the girls don’t participate actively in the events with the exception of Nabiki and Akane herself, who in the end becomes the true object of the antagonist’s desire. The fact of repeating the same type of plot also adds the circumstance that they do not offer the viewer anything new, such as, for example, solving some of the subplots that concern the characters. But perhaps the worst thing is to promise a solution to the problem of Ranma’s curse and finally discard it contradicting the previous intentions of the protagonist.
From a positive perspective, this second film constitutes a pleasant experience. In fact, he shows it from the beginning when he makes, in just five minutes, a good presentation of the dynamics and relationship that the members of the cast maintain. However, the best part comes at the moment when the contest to select the most suitable wife takes place since the competitive and proud Ranma takes very seriously to show him who is the woman with the best qualities among those gathered. Here are a few absurd proofs like the carnivorous plant flower arrangement. Similarly, the battles against Toma’s minions are another source of laughter, especially for Nabiki who manages to defeat the dog without using force. It is a pity that they did not end up better exploiting the tests of the contest or the combats because of the short duration of the film, although some situations also demanded more ingenuity. For example, could it not occur to you that Mousse fought in his duck form against the bird-man? A bird fight would be more unique.
Another feature of the film that is worth commenting on, due to its relevance, is the fanservice. Let’s say it maximizes female sexualization and brings the eroticism of the series. The partial nudes of the female version of Ranma are very occasional, but their scarcity is offset by the bouncing technology that female breasts feature. Even more important are his outfits. We start with the swimsuits they wear on the beach, with numerous bikinis and some aprons for Ukyou and Shampoo. But the biggest surprise is in the palace, since the ruler wants to see them in their maximum splendor. In general, they are dressed in daring dresses because of how open and low-cut they are. Ranma is the best looking of all, although Nabiki stands out from the crowd because of her level of ostentation. Their sex appeal is so great that they seem like the most attractive women in anime, without this constituting a way of distorting their characters. What we should question, however, is the fact that, with the exception of Nabiki and Ranma, the others are inoperative. Fighters like them don’t need a man to protect them.
You can also find my review here: https://elarmarioanimados.blogspot.com/2020/11/resena-ranma-12-el-rapto-de-las-novias.html
This movie was absolutely awful.
I enjoy Ranma 1/2, so I was excited to find out there were two movies… When I watched this one I was extremely disappointed. I found it to be quite boring, the plot was weak, and… I dunno, it’s hard to describe how bad it was. There were LOADS of two-part episodes throughout the series and OVAs that would have made WAY better movies than this did, so I really don’t understand why this made it as a movie and those just passed off as episodes. I wouldn’t recommend watching this movie, even if you’re a Ranma 1/2 fan… I had a bias when watching that it would be great but even with that in the end… even before it was half way through… I was disappointed.
The story isn’t Takahashi Rumiko’s best work, but fans of Maison Ikkoku will enjoy hearing the end theme song “A Piece of Love” by Picasso (known for their wonderful ED “Cinema” from the second season).
Overall I’d say it’s worth watching at least once, but for me once every few decades or so has been enough.
2: Muumindani no Suisei
MAL Score: 7.69
Unusual things have been happening in Moominvalley. Moomin, Sniff and Mee leave for the Observatory on the Lonely Mountains to confirm the Muskrat’s words: a comet is about to hit Moominvalley and destroy everything. On the way they meet Snufkin, the Hemulen and the Snorks and experience many adventures.
I watched this movie twice. The first time I watched it with Polish dubbing and a bad subtitle that I found and translated just for me to watch; the second time I watched it when I translated this movie into my language, which is Portuguese.
This movie is a prequel to the Tanoshii Muumin Ikka series, and is a good introduction for those who want to see more of Muumin. It doesn’t matter if this movie is seen before or after the series, since it takes place before and, as I said, is a good introduction.
Here we see how Moomin met Snufkin, Floren and Snork, his brother. They go on an adventure to find out about the comet that is going to fall on Moominvalley.
Since I saw this movie before the series, I knew nothing about Moomin’s world or the characters. Everyone is introduced in a natural way as they are going to find out about the comet.
We know that Snufkin is a wanderer who doesn’t care much for material possessions; Snif is greedy for wealth but never gets anything; My lives a lot with the Moomins and so on. Of course, this was introduced in the series, but this for me, who saw the movie before, was a good introduction.
I liked the characters in the movie, and did not intend to see the series. I ended up watching the series and liked the characters even more.
The technical part of the movie is ok. It is on the same level as the series, when it comes to animation. What stands out most in this movie in terms of visuals is the extremely well-detailed scenery.
The end of the movie is pretty cool, and it can make you want to see the series.
In general it is a nice movie. It is very simple and functional to get to know the characters. I recommend it.
I may be a little bit biased with this one, but I noticed that there was not a single review for Moomins! I tried not to put too high ratings, but it’s so hard. I already feel like I’m giving it lesser score that I actually think it deserves. Sometimes it’s hard to be objective…
So where should I begin? Yes, it’s a “children’s movie”, Moomins are targeted for children (which is odd since the original source, Tove Jansson, didn’t emphasize them to kids especially…) but you can see a lot of mature themes and grim moments – I wasn’t allowed to watch Moomin’s before going to bed when I was a kid. Do I still watch Moomins? Of course! This is a good example of an animation that pleases everyone – at least I’ve never heard of a person who hated Moomins.
The lore and the world in Moomins fascinate me a lot. This movie is no different, and it serves as an “origin story” to the show and it underlines the tone that the whole show will have – except I remember that the show was a little bit more lighthearted, which can be explained by the plot of this movie; A gigantic star is falling from the sky! You remember when Final Fantasy 7 went grim and melancholic when the star was peeking from the horizon, soon to be crashed on earth? Well same here, except the gripping feeling is through the whole movie “Will they make it in time?”.
The story is done well, it really gives you the feeling of a long and exhausting adventure, even though it’s a short movie. The setting is build up perfectly for the show to continue where they left off, but the movie stands alone perfectly – just like the show does (so you don’t need to watch them both if you don’t want to.).
The art style… oh boy. I just love it okay? It’s simplistic but detailed where it needs to be? That sounded confusing.
I haven’t seen same kind of art anywhere else. I love how the hills, forests and other landscapes look. The colors blend together beautifully and give away a serene and a mystic feel in some way. Sure, the characters may seem a little bit simply done, but I think that’s a matter of opinion if it bothers someone or not.
For it’s time, it was really pretty and I think it has aged perfectly.
The characters are the weakest point to be honest, but they are still pretty decent.
I’ve always loved Snufkin (really? that’s what you call him in english/japanese?) and he definitely shines in this one once again. I just think he is so cool, travelling all the time and being handy, friendly, few with words and mysterious.
The protag in itself is pretty neutral moomin, someone that the audience can relate to and look up to, since he is also quite brave.
I was often referred to Little My as a kid because of my short temper… Eh, people either love her or hate her.
But the blandest character… Floren. She is bearable in this movie, our heroes save her and her brother and she is pretty neutral, but in the show… She is just so meh. I never really liked her as a kid that much since she was too girly and moody in my opinion.
This movie has it’s great, okay and meh characters. All of which succesfully entertain you and makes you feel attached to them. The best character? The muskrat (a philosopher muskrat) who lives under the bridge. His most famous line “Stupid woman – Cleaning doesn’t help anything” is a bit of a running joke in finland.
and the music! It’s awesome. Do I need to say more? (go google “Sumio Shiratori” soundtrack and listen those sweet tunes) THIS MUSIC SHOULD BE ON SOME VIDEO GAME OH MY GOD IT’S SO GOOD! (I’m sorry I had to.)
but… the voice acting. I really can’t bear the voices in japanese. Maybe it’s nostalgia, I don’t know. Little My sounds really unbearable. I prefer the Finnish voice acting and subtitles. Maybe it won’t bother you. It bothered me.
I think that I fell in love with Miyazaki’s films because of Moomins. They are in many ways similar. And no wonder; Akira Miyazaki worked in this! He may not be Hayao, but the similar feel this movie and the show has is striking. Moomins are enchanting and enriched my young mind with wonder and adventures. If you love Howl no Ugoku Shiro or Majo no Takkyuubin, I think you should check out moomins.
This is a show/movie I’m going to revisit many times and in a few years I’m going to watch it with my own children.
(I’m sorry if my review is too hyped, I tried to tone it down. Moomins are my weak point and it’s terribly hard to stay objective about them! I have notalgia goggles and I admit that.
You can see if I’m only talking and go watch it! It’s only 1h and 15min movie! If you get hooked there is always the show too!)
Moomins, or Muumit, like we call them here in Finland, are these little gritter-like creatures – size-wised somewhere around a hedgehog – who live in a not-so-magical and almost-realistic-like world, called the Moomin valley, spending their days mostly just… well, pretty much in a same manner, like I used to spend my summers when I was a kid. Originally created by Tove Janson, Moomins weren’t originally ment especially to be mainly for kid’s entertainment, since the original strips contained pretty heavy adult themes, like drinking, life and death, once place in a world, loneliness and fear. The original Moomins even looked pretty creepy, and the characters tended to be way more adult-like, than how I used to know them as a child! But, since Japan showed an interest to turn this dark, mysterious finnish creation into a slice of live- formula-based tv-show for kids, it’s only natural, that in a prosess, the movie was also made! And, here it is! Moomins the Movie: the Armageddon!
So, what’s the story then? The story begins on a events even earlier than the actual tv-show. Moomin family is settleing down in a peaceful Moomin valley – how it was called, before this little convenient naming, I wonder? – and building up their vairly marketable blue round house, when one stormy night, a shady character under a bridge tells them, that something bad is on it’s way, and there’s absolutely nothing they should, or could do. After a heavy rain of soot, Moomin trollen, accompanied by couple of his friends, decide to travel all the way to the Lonely Mountains, in a search for a observatory, and on the way, they meet many friends and enemies, like Snuffking, the travelling but world-wise hermit, crystal-obsessed lizards, dangerous bug-eating Angostura-tree, Hemulen, Octopus, and of course, know-it-all Snorken and his sister Snorkfröken, who becomes Moomin trollens immiedate love-interest. Together they learn, that a dangerous Comet is on it’s way to the Moomin valley, and it’s only about two days time to evacuate, and save whatever there is to save – funny thing is, that the astrologists have absolutely no idea, what will hapen when the comet hits!
The story is indeed exceptional, considering the sourcematerial, but oddly enough, it really actually works to it’s favour! It’s not overly complex, and it’s thus easy to follow, but it gives constantly that odd yet curious vibe about something unknown approaching, not exactly knowing what it is or what’ll does, and if the worst possible hapens, what’s left after – rebuild, death, or search for a new home? Seeing how this steadily approaching threat from beyond the stars, with no name, personality or motive, simultaneously destroys everything on it’s way and causes bot panic, terrors and sadness to those, who’re about to loose everything, but also exitement and joy for those, who won’t understand the real danger and are just waiting in a amazed awe, is both terrifying and dark, that wouldn’t so easily fly in many other franchise, especially aimed for kids. And, since this movie was partly made in Japan, the music is of course a top notch, since every single piece and note fits and plays perfectly in every scene, complimenting the beautiful landscapes and emotions, so that the overused exposition is almost completely left out. This movie doesn’t hold any hands, or doesn’t try to make something “less frightening” that it should be. It’s a story about a world, that’s about to end – how much sugar coating there really can even be?!
That all being said, I really can’t say, whom I can recommend this to, other than all the fellow finns, and those rare individuals abroad, who know the original Moomins. You don’t need to know all the characters, or their stories, since most of the characters are actually met first time in this movie, as their own debute to the viewer. This movie was Finland’s seventh most watched movie in it’s time, but still, it never saw a light of day in any country outside of Japan and Scandinavia, and sadly, it was never dubbed in english – not in my knowledge, anyway. If you even happen to find it from the ether, I’m pretty sure it’s either on finnish, or swedish, and since not so many people actually really understand any of these two languages… yeah, good luck watching this movie, if you’re at all interested. My condolences.
Overall, this movie is great. It starts of the whole premise for the tv-series, introducing many of our favourite characters and even some of the actual world and it’s wonders and dangers, without being too overwhelming, and even tough it is mostly suitable for kids, even adults can still enjoy watching it with them. If I could, I would translate this whole movie into english subs, since I know Finland is gaining popularity on abroad, as a relatively interesting country and culture, but because I myself don’t own this movie in DVD… yeah, I’m not that smart!
Enjoy this movie, those of you who can, and keep the spirit of Moomins burning bright! And that theme music… omg what a earworm that is!
1: Kurenai no Buta
English: Porco Rosso
MAL Score: 7.96
After a curse turned him into a pig, World War I ace Marco Pagot becomes Porco Rosso, a mysterious bounty hunter who takes down sky pirates in the Adriatic Sea. He whiles away his days on a secluded island, rarely leaving other than to collect bounties or to visit the beautiful Gina, a songstress and owner of the Hotel Adriano.
One day, while traveling to fix his faulty engine, Porco Rosso is gunned down by a young American hotshot named Donald Curtis. Thrilled at the possibility of fame, Donald boldly declares that the flying pig is dead. Not wanting to disappoint Gina, Porco Rosso flees to the famous Piccolo S.P.A. airplane company and takes out a massive loan in order to repair and improve his fighter plane. There, he is surprised to find that the chief engineer of Piccolo S.P.A. is the 17-year-old Fio Piccolo, who hungers for a chance to prove herself. With Fio’s improvements, Porco Rosso prepares to challenge Donald officially and regain his honor.
Miyazaki movies can broadly fall in 2 or 3 categories; some of them are driven by their uncanny and bizarre plot (princess mononoke, spirited away etc). And then there are some where the direction almost completely overshadows the plot-line. Like Totoro, Porco Rosso falls in the latter category. From the opening scene to ending, this movie is all about direction, direction and direction.
The movie, set in the 1930’s, starts on a deserted island which acts as a hideout for the famous war-veteran turned bounty hunter ace pilot known as porco rosso (scarlet pig) who, we soon learn, has been afflicted by a curse which turned him into a pig. Just knowing this much can give you a false impression that this movie, like most miyazaki movies, has a lot to do with the mystical or the supernatural, but nothing can be further from the truth. Our ‘manly’ protagonist is a pig for a reason, but that reason has little to do with magic. The movie follows the scarlet pigs journey to reclaim his honor, after being ‘shot down’ by an American mercenary. For the most part, its a comedy drama with sprinkles of romance and slice-of-life
As the movie progresses, we learn more about the scarlet pig and some of his background. Eventually we get to the reason of his current predicament. There is a strong lesson to learn here, and thankfully it’s not force-fed into your head like Disney does with some of its movies. Here, the message is subtler and yet strikes a stronger chord.
‘Porco Rosso’ is different from miyazaki’s other endeavors. For one, it has a lot more comedy in it, and this aspect is amplified by the comical and, sometimes, witty dialogue. The humor is in-your-face laugh-out-loud funny, filled with wise-cracks, puns and word-play. And the concept of a man-turned-pig ace pilot flying the skies of a fictional Europe dueling pirates and an arch-nemesis from America is not something you’ll find in every anime.
Speaking of arch-nemesis, this movie has a really good one in the form of Donald Curtis, a notorious womanizer, and an over-confident and pompous, yet funny and very likable American, who also happens to be Porco’s rival in lurrve. Two of the funniest sequences of this comedy ride are his ‘encounters’ with porco in the skies. Characters in general have been done very well, with each of them lending to the comical aspect of the movie really well.
The airplane designs and all the flying sequences are really good. Some of the flying sequences are especially enthralling- not in the eye-candy sense, but it’s just that they’ve been done so well that it feels like whoever did it must be in love with airplanes and flying in general. In fact, a good part of Miyazaki’s early life was spent drawing battleships and airplanes. That life-long fascination of his mirrors very well throughout his works, especially this movie.
The premise and the post WWI European setting gives a very unique and exquisite feeling to the movie; and this fact is reflected well in the artwork, with its lush sceneries, views of exotic islands and beaches, cities and some of the characters, especially the pirates, which really do look like something from cartoony Europe of the 30’s. The leader of the pirates, for one, can pass for a Bluto (from Popeye) look-alike. For the most part, the miyazaki like feeling is intact. The animation is just gorgeous for a movie made in 1992. The color palate is exceptionally vibrant and has a certain depth to it that Miyazaki fans have come to associate with his movies.
The music is vintage Hisashi joe; fans of the maestro will find some of his best tunes in this movie. The animation and music blend perfectly to evoke the right emotion at the right time, bringing to life the world of Porco Rosso while lending it a unique charm that you probably won’t see in any other anime movie. Disney’s dubbed version has excellent voice-overs that fit perfectly with each character’s personality. I find that the Disney version does not deserve the hate that it is often subjected to by the fans of the older pre-Disney dub versions.
However, there are two things that might put-off people. The first is the minimalistic approach to storyline. Plot-junkies who expect their animes to be filled with deep and complicated plots might not find this to their liking (I’ve heard a few complain about this). But if you like Miyazaki movies in general, you’d know that complaint is baseless. With Porco Rosso, everything might be charming and simple on the outside but there’s more to this movie than meets the eye. The second complaint, which is actually a little more common, is that the ending is too abrupt. The ending is a bit subtle, yes, and it may leave a you wishing there was more, but the movie manages to tie all the loose ends very well, and it is by no standards an unsatisfactory ending. Porco Rosso is more like an old friend from a long forgotten time who stops by your front door to have a nice cup of tea, has a warm and pleasant chat with you but then quietly leaves from the back door with a quick goodbye.
Thanks to Miyazaki’s captivating direction, the movie is very soothing and peaceful and I think its best watched at the end of a hard and tiresome day, when you want to watch something calm and relaxing. All in all, Porco Rosso is a unique movie; not just as miyazaki or a Ghibli film, but a unique anime movie.
This right here is what you call a good fucking “anime” movie. Yes i know, those exist, right? Way back, millennia ago, before dinosaurs become extinct and before anime movies weren’t only a weeabo-loser and pedophilia pander, good movies, heck even stupid movies reigned supreme.
Now you might be asking yourself, hey but this is a Miyazaki flick, doesn’t he always have some pre-teen girl as the lead in his movies so that pedophiles from all around the globe can cream their unwashed jeans. Well yes, and actually no, this one is an exception hence why Im writing a review for Porco Rosso and Porco Rosso only.
This movie delivers one of the finest main characters in anime cinema history, even tho is he merely a swine, he is actually Clint Eastwood in his patented ice-cold ass-whippery, he is James Bond in his wittiness and humor, he is John Wayne, he is Steve McQueen, he is a culmination of the spiciest cultural ass-whoppers from the far east to the shores of the west.
The WW2 setting just adds to the flavor.
Although this movie does have a pre teen girl in it but who the fuck cares about her, we are here for the swine, amirite? Im not?
Blow me, moving on.
Now, Porco Rosso does have a lot of the typical Miyazaki niches. You have the small underage heroine, the curse which our main protagonists has to overcome, a douchebag on crack, some olg hag and so on and so forth. What is unbeknownst to me and to many other intellectuals is just how underrated this movie actually is, quite possibly Miyazakis most underrated film to date. Why is that you may ask?
There are a few reasons for this the main one being is that most people see our protagonist which is a swine looking like a pimp on steroids and immediately conjure thoughts like “But where is muh cute little girl” or “this most be boring”. If you ever encounter people like this the right thing to do would be to call the authorities and have the pedophiles removed from the streets and loser ridden anime conventions.
The OST? I dont even have to delve any deeper into this to say anything other than give that nigga Joe Hisaishi a raise for these fine pieces of music. He constantly hits it out of the park and leaves you craving for more after you have listened to his playlist for the 84th time.
The art is fine, like in every other Miyazaki film. So nothing special to write home about here.
On the other hand it is unique because of the world it builds around. Any fans of classic Hollywood will be pleased at the amount of homages that are spread through the story, both in individual scenes and in tone. This movie holds many similarities in its more dramatic part, both aesthetical and story-based, with “Casablanca”; and the slapstick comedy that is there through the whole storyline, softening the conflicts and relationships of the characters, resembles “The quiet man”.
This polarity between a heavy character drama and a dreamy comedy may be a double-edged sword, in the sense that many people will probably find this movie inconsistant in terms of its mood, but I think “Porco Rosso” does a really fine work at balancing both aspects of its storyline. The comedy never disallows the viewer from appreciating the gravity of Porco as a character, and the serious and intimist sequences don’t deny the zaniness of his daily life. The best thing about this is that it allows to create a full dramatic portrayal of the main character, while bringing some kind of fabulistic charm to his lifestyle, which gives nostalgic vibes to the story. This ends up being relevant as well in the romantic view that Miyazaki brings to describe one of his childhood passions, flight engineery. In this movie it becomes completely obvious through the careful visual depiction and the spectacularity of the flying scenes.
The storyline is completely focused on Porco and the universe around him. He is definitely a complex character that goes way beyond his main defining trait. In fact, his aspect in the context of the daily relationships it’s the least relevant. We are told that he is a human turned into a pig by some sort of mysterious spell, but those around him still recognize Porco as a human. Even Gina, the one that he’s most closely related with, treats him as if he was the same as always. The appearances in this movie are brought for a much less superficial purpose, as this transformation is used as a metaphor for the deep wound Porco carries with humanity in general, and with himself. His bitterness, however, is contrasted in the movie. That is, instead of being exaggerated, and giving rise to an overly cynical character, the story also emphasizes on his caring side. He is shown to have friends, understand their emotions and care for them; his scenes with Gina make clear that they love and respect each other. This side of him is emphasized later with the presence of Fio and the clear effect she has in his growth as a character.
The rest of the characters, while not being as fleshed out as Porco, still hold their own charm. I am specially fascinated with Gina. She doesn’t even appear too often in the story but her elegance and intimist approach increase the emotional effect of every scene she’s in, and the hints on her own past are so suggestive and enveloping that, despite the lack of physical presence in the plot, she manages to create a very strong emotional involvement around her. She is there in some of the most moving moments of the story and I’m specially fond of one where a flashback of her past with Porco is shown.
Fio, on the other hand, plays the counterpart of Porco as a quick-witted and joyful girl. This simple purpose is actually conveyed in the form of a very strong and charismatic character. Her chemistry with Porco through their scenes is amazing, and another one of the key points of this story. In fact my favorite scene of the movie involves them both; with Porco narrating a defining experience of his past -in his very own way, though- and Fio hearing this whole story completely captivated, understanding, finally, the dimension of his personal conflict as a whole.
Donald Curtis and the pirates, despite being technically the antagonists of the main story, are actually quite light and charming. The arrogance of Curtis is contextualized in a way that emphasizes on his innocence rather than on an actual malice. And similarly, the pirates never come off as evil and their hate towards Porco is never treated seriously.
On the artistic level, this is a great effort overall, though probably not as satisfying as other Miyazaki movies. For example, it suffers from a lack of shading in many scenes, and the designs of the background characters don’t look very inspired. However, it still keeps a lot of strength in the visual depiction of the scenarios, and places like Porco’s lonely island or Gina’s bar are given a distinct atmosphere that becomes very effective. The design for the main characters is simple, yet very effective, with Porco being the obvious choice as the most outstanding. The aesthetics, as said, are very closely tied to the imagery of classic films, which sort of fit very well with the Italian environment of the late 20s this movie is located at.
Similarly, the soundtrack is quite outstanding overall but not as consistantly mesmerizing as in other works of the author. Then again, this is not a very relevant issue, and I guess it has to do with the huge variety of music pieces; as this variety leading to some irregularity seems unavoidable. Anyway, if I have to choose one, it would be Tokiko Kato’s version of the French Revolutionary song “Le temps des cérises”, that serves to introduce Gina. Her song in the ending credits is equally beautiful.
All in all, and while it’s not my favorite, it is still a Ghibli and Miyazaki movie I am very fond of. It is a little tricky to recommend here, though, because its style and themes will probably not fit the tastes of an anime fan if they are mainly interested on exploring the imagery and philosophy that are associated with the Japanese culture; in fact, I think that “Porco Rosso” is a better recommendation for movie-goers than for anime fans, in general. That doesn’t mean it will be necessarily less enjoyable, but it’s more likely for people with a grown interest on Western filmmaking to find points in common with this movie.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Kurenai no Buta
2. Muumindani no Suisei
3. Ranma : Kessen Tougenkyou! Hanayome wo Torimodose!
4. Doraemon Movie 13: Nobita to Kumo no Oukoku
5. Dragon Ball Z Movie 07: Kyokugen Battle!! Sandai Super Saiyajin