Life, if done right, is long. It is also full of unfair twists. We start it off as mindless eating machines that get to take naps, everybody loves and wants to hold, and we get all our meals through breastfeeding. Six Flags! We end our tenure on Earth as interesting, battle scarred individuals that no one wants to talk to and who are routinely ignored for the new and unusual. Two flags.
I, and many of you other travelers, am/are “Middle Aged.” I’ve been around enough now that younger people call me “Mr.” and try to avoid listening to me, while at the same time they have to admire things I’ve done or powers I’ve accumulated.
Where am I going with this?
Well, it was recently announced by Hayao Miyazaki, “Mr. Totoro” himself, that we might get a Porco Rosso sequel! HOORAY!
QUESTION 1: What is Porco Rosso?
Pocco Rosso is an amazing animated film which, on the surface is about high flying adventure in dog-fighting seaplanes in the tense political climate of the Mediterranean Sea between World Wars, but which is actually about being middle aged. Specifically this aspect of Porco Rosso is about looking forward and looking back.
Did I mention the main character is a human pig because of a death curse from a bi-plane duel? Did I mention there are cute girls, handsome pilots, and more air pirates than you could shake a stick at? It is one of the best animated films from one of the best animated film directors of all time.
QUESTION 2: Where can I see it?
Well, Forbidden planet does a pretty dang good job of ordering or carrying in stock many of Miyazaki’s films from My Neighbor Totoro to Kiki’s Delivery Service. Last time I stopped in I believe I even saw the sketchbook and art books for Porco Rosso, filled to the brim with incredible background paintings and plane designs used in the film itself!
QUESTION 3: So will there be a sequel?
Who knows? Miyazaki said that he wants to do one, but only if his latest film is successful. That will be tough.
I usually leave all the musings on Japanese entertainment to Mat K. and the Gundam boys around here, but I know my Miyazaki. While his last film, Ponyo, was a spectacular piece of animation it was also slightly freaky and uninviting. Similarly Howl’s Moving Castle was a triumph from a technological standpoint but lacked the imagination and heart that made Miyazaki so famous.
See, as you get older the world changes. So do you. Sometimes you change with the world, or sometime the world changes in different ways than you do. Miyazaki is a cartoon God, a man responsible for animated films that will be studied, cherished and inspiring to children and artists for generations to come…but he is still making pictures that, while sensational, reflect an artists still creating for his own interests and not necessarily for his worshipers.
A Porco sequel will be a return to the linear fun of Hayao’s earlier work, and can draw on the artists’s experiences of staying true to yourself while the world clamors for you to stay true to it. A masterpiece on aging from an aged master.
That is something this middle aged anime junkie would like to see.
That and more flying pigs in bright red planes! And cute girls! And Sea Pirates! ZOooom!