Hayao Miyazaki has never made a direct sequel to one of his films. But it looks like he might be about to embark on the first. A new interview with the director suggests that he has conceived a sequel to his sixth film, Porco Rosso, which featured an ace fighter pilot who has been cursed to live with the face of a pig. The sequel, Porco Rosso: The Last Sortie, would pick up long after Porco flew off to a semi-mysterious fate at the end of the first film; we’d see the flying pig much older, in part to reflect the advanced age of his creator.
Cut Magazine has a new interview (in Japanese) with Hayao Miyazaki, and Nausicaa.net offers a partial translation. The most direct quotes are these:
“I think that I must think about only a movie of a boy.”
“I do not need to make a movie if it is not a tragic story of a boy.”
“So I want to escape to Porco Rosso: The Last Sortie. I have all its materials.”
“It should be interesting.”
“It is set for Spanish Civil War.”
This one is easy for me: I’m thrilled. Porco Rosso is a strange film in the Miyzaki catalog: it’s the one that has the closest thing to a real-world setting, as it takes place in the Adriatic Sea between the two World Wars. It has direct allusions to real-world politics (such as the rise of fascism in Italy) but also fantastic adventure story components, like the semi-honorable sky pirates against whom Porco flies.
The animation in Porco Rosso is truly beautiful, especially in some of the flying sequences; you can see Miyazaki’s great affinity for the machines of the era expressed in the grace with which the planes are animated.
And there’s a certain glow to the story as a whole, which sits at an unusual midpoint between realistic adventure and pure fantasy. The film has a wonderful collection of characters including Porco himself, his would-be girlfriend Gina, proprietor of a pilot’s club that could be in the same world as the Rick’s nightclub in Casablanca; Fio, a young female engineering prodigy; the dashing but scoundrel-like American pilot Curtis; and the goofy sky pirates who pester Porco.
The interview further says that this film and some of the other movies Miyazaki has conceived (which would be directed by younger animators) depend to a great extent on the financial fate of Studio Ghibli in the near future. That depends in part upon the success of The Borrower Arrietty, and then on the films that follow. As Miyazaki says,
If next two films succeed and Suzuki-san lets me make it (Porco) while saying, ‘It cannot be helped because it’s a hobby of the old man’, I’m happy. It’s my hobby…I had thought about the possibility of “Porco Rosso: The Last Sortie” in the morning. But before Shibuya-san (the interviewer) come here, I thought ‘It’s not good after all, It’s just my hobby.’