Ghibli Challenge #5, 6 – Ocean Waves (And Porco the Second)

I already am not trying to watch every Ghibli film at the GKIDS retrospective, so instead I might as well watch the ones I like more than once. I mean other than Yamada’s and Totoro, every single viewing of this thing is a reviewing for me. In a way I also feel bad–by buying a ticket I’m bumping some poor sod out of a seat. I think half of the showings I attended were sold out. That means potentially some guy who has never seen Whisper or Porco would have not had the chance! Oh well, their loss.

Ocean Waves (Umi wo Kikoeru) is the odd man out. Odd, in that it is Mochizuki’s only directorial contribution under Ghibli’s young animator program. Ocean Waves is also odd in that it was a TV special, not a proper theatrical film. So when seeing it in theaters, it means a DVD that is upscaled by whatever the IFC Center has on tap to play DVDs. I suspected as much going in–I would probably buy Ocean Waves on Blu-ray (among other Ghibli stuff), had I heard about it. What is sad is that the same DVD is like, 6 pounds on over Amazon UK, which after shipping and the pretty spiffy exchange rate, probably just a buck more than full-price admission ($13 for full price adults at the IFCC). I paid $14 for it God-knows-when ago.

Still, Ocean Waves is one of those semi-arthouse affair. It deals with some well-to-do kids from Kochi. The striking City Girl both getting her Inaka Fix and the Country Boys getting their panties in a knot. But that one pan! The only pan! The non-linear narrative! I am so stoked.

Well, it’s certainly not for kids. I don’t count teenage kids as kids. Or anyone old enough to appreciate a semi-candid reference to the mess of having your first period. And of course, the anti-Disney, anti-American reference to underage alcoholic beverage use.

But really, who cares? I don’t really think this film is made for kids. It may be made for the family, but it’s clearly the sort of show targeting an adult audience. It’s just capable of passing as wholesome entertainment.

And yes, I did rewatch Porco again. I will watch it again given the chance, too (unlikely at this point). It’s my favorite Miyazaki movie by a fairly long shot. This time I walked away with a subtle thing. The translated subs said “but a pig’s gotta fly” during his phone call with Gina. If my non-understanding of Japanese is anywhere close, he was saying something about how a pig that doesn’t fly is just a pig.

Nothing wrong with the translation. But would the non-showering of sea pirates make sense without knowing how close they are to pigs that they are? Or what makes Porco a pig is who he is, which is who everyone else is? Gina has it right: Curtis and Porco are both pigs, in their self-absorbed quest to look cool.

What separates men and pigs? Law and cleanliness I guess.

The final fight between the two subverts that coolness for laughs and entertainment. They’re not fighting a war. So they can get away with being stupid. So the movie can get away with being stupid. Let the lady who is all serious and all business take care of the Regia Aeronautica?

I guess this is kind of the macho-man message within Porco Rosso. Or maybe the proper term is “Hemmingway.” Only if he was half as funny!

The fifth and sixth (woo half way!) so-called challenges are a part of an end-of-year festivity among some anime bloggers. You can find out more about the Ghibli theatrical road show from GKIDS.

One Response to “Ghibli Challenge #5, 6 – Ocean Waves (And Porco the Second)”

  • Hogart

    >I don’t really think this film is made for kids.
    I’m sold. Now to find the time..

    >What separates men and pigs?
    Self-image, if my memories of the movie serve (which they probably don’t). I guess it’s time for a re-watch with all the mentions Rosso’s been getting this season.

    >Only if [Hemmingway] was half as funny!
    That’s as foreign-feeling a notion as a post-Utena Ikuhara narrative with only half the symbolism/allegory.

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