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561

Porco Rosso - "Why the hell is he a pig?"
Topic by: NLee
Posted: March 1, 2005 - 3:15 PM PST
Last Reply: March 8, 2005 - 2:47 AM PST

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author topic: Porco Rosso - "Why the hell is he a pig?"
NLee
post #1  on March 1, 2005 - 3:15 PM PST  
"Why the hell is he a pig?"

The question came from kamapuaa in this list (which, btw, is a good list except for his remarks about Porco Rosso)

So, why did Hayao Miyazaki make the leading male charater of this movie into a pig?

Is it because he always wanted to make joke like "Don't be so pig-headed", and "All middle-aged man are pigs"?

Or, is it because he intentionally wanted to make this movie less beliveble as a real story?

Think about it: among all the movies Hayao Miyazaki made, this one has the least amount of fantasic elements in it. The story took place during an actual period in history (between WW1 and WW2), at a real location (Mediterranean), and the sea planes are based on existing technologies.

There are almost no bad guys in this movie. Even the sea pirates are kind to little kids. The only really bad people are the Italian facists. ("I rather be a pig thn a facist", said Poroco Rosso). Of couse, one cannot help making a connection with facists in Japan during the same period. But that will be hitting too close to home.

So here is my theory: Miyazaki wants to using this movie to send a message against facistism in Japan, but he cannot do it too obviously. That's why he made Porco Rosso into a pig, just so that this movie looks like a fairy tale for kid.

What do you think?
jross3
post #2  on March 1, 2005 - 3:30 PM PST  
it's because his name is "Porco Rosso". That means "Red Pig", right? They wouldn't have been able to use that name on a chicken. Buckaw!

Maybe they were trying to make him a very unattractive character in the development stage. Then it got to a point where they jokingly gave him a pig face, and Miyazaki suddenly put his stamp on it, like in Excel Saga.
"I, Hayao Miyazaki, hereby give permission to make the main character into a pig!" ~ Hayao Miyazaki

purely speculative, mind you. I haven't seen the movie yet, so I can't form an "official" opinion. But from what you've said, I'd probably agree that it's to add more fantasy. If they were all normal humans, and doing normal human things, it just wouldn't seem like Miyazaki, would it? It would just be a historical drama. Doesn't sound at all special.
hamano
post #3  on March 1, 2005 - 4:08 PM PST  
I think one of the extras on the bonus disc is a clip of Miyazaki explaining this... something about all middle-aged men being pigs. My take on Porco Rosso is that it's Miyazaki's personal reflection on going through a midlife crisis. What happens when a man who's devoted his life to letting his inner child thrive and speak out hits his 50's? Porco happens. It's probably his most directly personally revealing film, with the Casablanca-era swashbuckling, the romance of flight, cute little school girls, the spunky heroine... all the elements that places the man Hayao Miyazaki in a specific pop culture time and place...

There's a certain greediness in a man hitting middle age. You feel it's your last chance to make a splash, to accomplish your life dreams and goals, your last chance to make like Hemingway hopefully without having to blow your brains out in the end. I think to Miyazaki, the image all this conjured up was a pig.

Hmm... but why did being the only survivor in a big air battle prompt Porco to withdraw into porcine solitude? I guess Miyazaki just had to move the plot along...

Some archived early reviews of Porco Rosso that might shed light...
IronS
post #4  on March 1, 2005 - 4:08 PM PST  
I would love to have seen the bonus disc already and thereby contribute to this discussion except it's lost somewhere in the USPS system. So don't blame me if you have this in your queue. I certainly hope GC has more than one copy of this.
hamano
post #5  on March 1, 2005 - 4:24 PM PST  
> On March 1, 2005 - 3:15 PM PST NLee wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> So here is my theory: Miyazaki wants to using this movie to send a message against facistism in Japan, but he cannot do it too obviously. That's why he made Porco Rosso into a pig, just so that this movie looks like a fairy tale for kid.

Here is MY theory. Miyazaki just wanted an excuse to show a boatload of cute little school girls dressed in nothing but bloomers!
NLee
post #6  on March 1, 2005 - 6:03 PM PST  
> On March 1, 2005 - 3:30 PM PST jross3 wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> it's because his name is "Porco Rosso". That means "Red Pig", right?
> ---------------------------------

"Porco Rosso" does sound suspiciously like "Pork Roast"... Anybody speaks Italian here?
kamapuaa
post #7  on March 1, 2005 - 7:58 PM PST  
Hee Hee! I stand by my earlier comments, even if I was being intentionally a bit snide. I think he was turned into a pig because Miyazaki (as with most cartoons) operates in a whimsical world where adults are relegated to supporting roles. Cartoons starring adults don't focus-group well, an anthropomorphized pig is more acceptable for children. For an adult, it's lost on us.

As far as the movie goes, I liked it enough. I listed it as his worst because the plot&themes were too loose and because I preferred the real attraction (all that flying) in his other movies. And because his other movies are so excellent. Although "On Your Mark," the music video about rescuing a kidnapped angel, was pretty bad.

The Onion's AV Club has a joint review of the three new Ghibli DVDs.
NLee
post #8  on March 2, 2005 - 6:58 AM PST  
> On March 1, 2005 - 7:58 PM PST kamapuaa wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> As far as the movie goes, I liked it enough. I listed it as his worst because the plot&themes were too loose and because I preferred the real attraction (all that flying) in his other movies.
> ---------------------------------

Okay, fair enough. The theme and plot of Porco Rosso is not as earth-shattering as that of Nausicaa or Laputa. On the other hand, one can also say the message is not as heavy-handed.

To me, Porco Rosso is a very warm and charming feel-good movie. After all, any movie that features a middle aged man as a loveable pig can't be all bad. You'll undersatnd that one day... roughly 20 years from now.
^_^
kohnfused1
post #9  on March 2, 2005 - 2:01 PM PST  
...because "Porky" (pig) never gets top billing?
Cosplayer
post #10  on March 2, 2005 - 3:58 PM PST  
(This is a war movie, right?) The guys on his side wanted an edge on the other army, so they tried to make a middleaged-mutant-samurai-pig, but they ended up with this miserable creature. Then they brainwashed him into thinking he was having a midlife crisis.

Miyasaki has a thing with turning middleaged guys into pigs. He did it to Sen's parents.
NLee
post #11  on March 2, 2005 - 4:19 PM PST  
> On March 2, 2005 - 3:58 PM PST Cosplayer wrote:
> ---------------------------------
The guys on his side wanted an edge on the other army, so they tried to make a middleaged-mutant-samurai-pig, but they ended up with this miserable creature.
> ---------------------------------

Ha ha. You haven't seen the movie yet, right?

The explanation given in the movie (on how Marco the man got turned into Porco the pig) is that God has a twisted sense of humor. Marco was supposed to die in the air war. He was given a second chance, but condemend as a pig for the rest of his life - until he can kissed by a fair maiden who truely loves him as a person... Oh wait, that's the story of "Beauty and the Beast".
Ghosteater
post #12  on March 4, 2005 - 8:51 AM PST  

I just know that somewhere in some meeting room, Disney marketers asked this same question before starting to rewrite the dialog for the US version.. The new US version is obsessed with this question, they added so many "I'm just a pig" references that weren't in the original, it was pathetic..

It's really quite simple. Marco felt he was a pig because he lived, because he had the talent to outfly the Germans and the rest of his squad didn't. He's a pig because he sees himself that way. It's not a "curse" as Disney added to the dialog, it's just a self image reflected on the outside.
NLee
post #13  on March 4, 2005 - 11:21 AM PST  
> On March 4, 2005 - 8:51 AM PST Ghosteater wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> It's really quite simple. Marco felt he was a pig because he lived, because he had the talent to outfly the Germans and the rest of his squad didn't.
> ---------------------------------

If that is the case, shouldn't his name be "Pollo Rosso"?

("Porco"=pig, "Pollo"=Chicken in Italian)
jross3
post #14  on March 4, 2005 - 12:54 PM PST  
> On March 4, 2005 - 11:21 AM PST NLee wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> > On March 4, 2005 - 8:51 AM PST Ghosteater wrote:
> > ---------------------------------
> > It's really quite simple. Marco felt he was a pig because he lived, because he had the talent to outfly the Germans and the rest of his squad didn't.
> > ---------------------------------
>
> If that is the case, shouldn't his name be "Pollo Rosso"?
>
> ("Porco"=pig, "Pollo"=Chicken in Italian)
>
> ---------------------------------

That would make him a farse (a pig stuffed with a chicken, or more likely a chicken inside a duck inside a turkey inside a pig inside a cow)
Yowanda
post #15  on March 4, 2005 - 1:32 PM PST  
I haven't seen the movie, and really have no idea what its even about, but perhaps it has something to do with getting a message across. Like in "Animal Farm", where all the characters are animals, its really easy to see how horrible the pigs are, when in fact Orwell was really saying that the Communists were horrible. It was easier to get his message across using animals than it would have been using people. Bah, its been a long time since I took English, so my explanation probably isn't the best, and perhaps isn't even relevant to the movie.
Cosplayer
post #16  on March 4, 2005 - 2:36 PM PST  
> That would make him a farse (a pig stuffed with a chicken, or more likely a chicken inside a duck inside a turkey inside a pig inside a cow)
> ---------------------------------

That could be a cool horror. Flesh eating farm animals. Are you eating them, or are they eating you?
kamapuaa
post #17  on March 5, 2005 - 5:19 PM PST  
He was saying, airplane pilots are pigs!
Ghosteater
post #18  on March 5, 2005 - 10:24 PM PST  
>
> That would make him a farse (a pig stuffed with a chicken, or more likely a chicken inside a duck inside a turkey inside a pig inside a cow)
> ---------------------------------

Mmmmmmm farse... Arrrrhhhhhh [droool]


Uh... Yeah.

Miyazaki has a longtime 'thing' about pigs. He really digs them for some reason. Chances are he just sketched a pig flying a plane one day and invented a story around it..

Here's a couple of quotes from interviews with him about it:

ANIMERICA: The question everyone is asking is, "Why did you make the hero a pig?"

MIYAZAKI: It's because I wouldn't want to draw a character like that as a human being. ::LAUGHS::
link


"In both Spirited Away and Porco Rosso there are people who are transformed into pigs. Where does this fascination with pigs come from?

That's because they're much easier to draw than camels or giraffes (laughs). I think they fit very well with what I wanted to say. The behaviour of pigs is very similar to human behaviour. I really like pigs at heart, for their strengths as well as their weaknesses. We look like pigs, with our round bellies. They're close to us."
dyy1
post #19  on March 7, 2005 - 1:00 AM PST  
his producer described him as a feminist, thats why there are females working on the plane, and why females always have important strong roles. They are never just talentless women even though back then women were mostly supposed to stay at home and all that.

so im guessing he did it for the reason everyone else said.. he was tryin to subtly show that he thought men were pigs, and wrote it into the character.

i agree though, what the hell. he didnt say anything about that whole story. That seemed like one episode out of a 2 episode series..
NLee
post #20  on March 7, 2005 - 8:06 AM PST  
Hey, a thought just hit me (*ouch*)...

Ever notice that there's one import body feature that's almost never shown in any anime character? It's almost as if that part of the body is taboo. Maybe this is the real reason why Marco was turned into a pig - so that Miyazaki can finally draw two round holes on the face of an anime character?

Yes, I'm talking about nostrils.
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