Sunday, August 22, 2010

Hayao Miyazaki takes to the air again with "Porco Rosso: The Last Sortie"?

by Chris MaGee

Hayao Miyazaki is a director who we nromally associate with whimsical and wonder-filled tales about children (or young adults), but in 1992 the master animator created a story not aimed at children but at middle-aged men. That film was "Porco Rosso", a downbeat adventure about a former WW1 Italian fighter ace whose misanthropic ways have transformed him into a pig... literally. Porco flies over the Adriatic Sea battling it out with his rival Curtis and trying to win the heart of his true love Gina. For me "Porco Rosso" definitely had its charms, but not nearly the same amount of charm as Miyazaki's tales aimed at kids, so I was a bit taken aback at the news posted by Todd Brown over at Twitch that Miyazaki is planning a sequel to "Porco Rosso" titled "Porco Rosso: The Last Sortie". Well, I was taken aback at first...

While this is low on my list of favorite Miyazaki films it makes sense that this would be one that MIyazaki would be revisiting now. Longtime fans of Miyazaki will know that if the man has one obession other than animation its aviation. Fanciful flying ships and aerial adventures are featured again and again in his early films - "Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind", "Castle in the Sky", "Kiki's Delivery Service" and of course "Porco Rosso". Miyazaki came by his obsession honestly. His father was the owner of a factory that manufactured rudders for Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter planes used during the war. Miyazaki's most recent films though such as "Princess Mononoke", "Spirited Away", "Howl's Moving Castle" and "Ponyo" haven't gotten as airborne as his previous films, so maybe the 69-year-old Miyazaki wants to return to a subject that is so very near and dear to him. Also Japanese manga readers have recently seen pigs flying again in Miyazaki's manga "Kaze Tachinu (The Wind Rises)", the story of Dr. Jiro Horikoshi, the chief engineer and designer of the Zero, in which Miyazaki depicts his pilots as pigs. (Read our full report here.)

No word yet on when we'll see "Porco Rosso: The Last Sortie" fly into Japanese theatres, but we'll keep an ear to the ground on this story.

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