2 Best Movies to Watch by Osamu Saka

Staff & contributors

As impressive as Studio Ghibli’s collection of films are, I am still stubborn to believe that Porco Rosso is its most underrated film. Porco Rosso, directed by Hayao Miyazaki, is the story of a World War military aviator-turned-bounty hunter who has mysteriously been transformed into a pig. 

Bright with humor, heart, and flight (Miyazaki is largely influenced and inspired by the art of aviation), Porco Rosso manages to also acknowledge and reckon with the horrors of war. It also boasts one of, if not the greatest, line in any Ghibli film: I’d rather be a pig than a fascist.

Genre: Adventure, Animation, Comedy, Drama, Family

Actor: Akemi Okamura, Akio Otsuka, Bunshi Katsura, Bunshi Katsura Vi, Ginzo Matsuo, Hiroko Seki, Mahito Tsujimura, Minoru Yada, Nobuo Tanaka, Osamu Saka, Reizō Nomoto, Sanshi Katsura, Shinnosuke Furumoto, Shûichirô Moriyama, Tatsuyuki Jinnai, Tokiko Kato, Tsunehiko Kamijo, Yoko Soumi, Yu Shimaka, Yuzuru Fujimoto

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Rating: PG

Best known for landmark cyberpunk anime Akira, Katsuhiro Otomo crafted strange and terrifying visions of a world that has not yet come, imagining technology that surpassed that of today, but in much pessimistic light compared to that of the genre. Three of his manga short stories are depicted in Memories, with Otomo partnering with Kōji Morimoto and Tensai Okamura to direct each segment, and with Satoshi Kon in writing, just before Kon’s own iconic surrealist films. Kon-written Magnetic Rose has been universally acknowledged as the best of them, being much more emotionally poignant, but the other two does have its charms, as Stink Bomb takes a relatively silly premise to its fairly logical, but scary conclusion, and Cannon Fodder takes the beauty of Otomo’s art into such a hollow and ugly world. All three deliver terrifying omens of death through technology used against the everyday man, whether by accident or design.

Genre: Animation, Fantasy, Science Fiction

Actor: Ami Hasegawa, Gara Takashima, Hidetoshi Nakamura, Hideyuki Hori, Hisako Kyoda, Hisao Egawa, Kayoko Fujii, Keaton Yamada, Keiko Yamamoto, Kenichi Ogata, Koichi Yamadera, Masato Hirano, Michio Hazama, Nobuaki Fukuda, Osamu Saka, Ryoichi Tanaka, Ryuji Nakagi, Shigeru Chiba, Shozo Iizuka, Takkô Ishimori, Tetsuya Iwanaga, Tomoko Ishimura, Tsutomu Isobe, Yuu Hayashi

Director: Katsuhiro Otomo, Koji Morimoto, Tensai Okamura

Rating: PG-13