Animated film “Porco Rosso” is the work which Miyazaki director poured his feelings about aircraft, people and sky to. I will introduce 10 points that there are not so much Porco’s fans know in this article.
1. The original of the story was novel written by Hayao Miyazaki himself
The story of Porco Rosso is an off-shot work of “Hikoutei Jidai”. It is said back then Miyazaki had worked on another project with same titled novel for about 3 years but it wasn’t published because the progress came short until deadline so he changed it into movie script at last minute.
2. All Japanese planes depicted in this anime are accurate models
All Japanese planes depicted in this anime are accurate models. Miyazaki himself is said to have struck on every parts which are used in these planes when he was a staff of his father’s company “Miyazaki Airplane” that dealt with aircrafts at the same time when Porco had been an active pilot.
3. Hayao Miyazaki drew all of planes by himself
All Japanese planes depicted in this anime are drawn by hand of Mr. Miyazaki himself who has passion for airplane since his childhood. He also did the sketch of the setting around Porco Rosso which you can see in model kits or artbooks, but I think it showed only pieces he desired to depict specifically because they were not related to Porco itself much.
4. Aircrafts depicted in this anime have become very popular recently
Recently there are many fans who practice flight simulator which you control a plane just as a virtual Porco Rosso does. It seems that there were few people who knew how to fly a real aircraft but now they can enjoy flying one after learning from playing games.
5. The setting of the movie was inspired by Venice, Italy
The movie is set on Adriatic Sea, and it appears to be based on Venice, Italy where Miyazaki visited several times before he started to make this film. When Mr. Miyazaki first visited Venice, he saw buildings with wooden beams exposed at their base because of frequent floods there and he thought that it looked very charming beside canal filled with water for the reason. He found Venice was completely different from other cities which are always under construction, and above all, he loved places where people enjoyed their lives serenely there.
6. Porco Rosso himself is based on a real person
Porco Rosso himself is based on an Italian ace pilot “Corrado Rozzoni” who was active during WWI period by the time Miyazaki wrote this novel. Even today it is said that Rozzoni flew after he left his own country and became gentleman of leisure at Adriatic Sea just as Porco did in the movie though some anime fans claim that Porco had been beaten up by him one day before the story starts for some reasons…
7. Indoor scenes are painted on the cels
Indoor scenes where Porco talks with Curtis were drawn by painting on the clear cels. This is because it was too difficult to draw detailed background inside the plane if it had been hand-drawn animation, especially ceilings. However I heard that even Mr. Miyazaki himself felt painful for doing “tracing” against his will…^^; Most of hand-drawn anime nowadays don’t use so much traced backgrounds anymore but this film used them extensively because they wanted to express the setting of Italy in 1920s as much as possible.
8. Aircraft depictions in this anime were influenced by WWI movies made in Japan
The aircrafts depicted in this movie look like fighters who appeared at air shows during 1919-1921 in Japan since the Russo-Japanese War, and this is because Miyazaki got inspirations from them. These fighters were made by “Nieuport” or “Breguet” for France which used during WWI and flew at air shows in Japan after they were captured by Japanese army, but it seems that they looked somewhat different from their original models…9. Aircrafts depicted in this anime have changed little
In this movie, aircrafts look more like 1930s’ fighter planes than 1920s’. In other words, it means that designs of these aircrafts influenced the designs of fighter planes used in WWII rather than those used during WWI where Porco was active though some people say that he might be a fascist ace pilot…
10. Aircrafts depicted in this anime are now valuable
There is a rumor that one of aircrafts which appear at the very last scene were used during “Battle of Midway” and they were brought back to Japan by special operation after American troops occupied Pacific Ocean, but it seems that it was not true because there were no flight-worthy aircrafts left on Midway Island anyway. I think these aircrafts just remind us how precious they are for Ghibli fans who love aviation because Miyazaki depicted them so detailedly.