Studio Ghibli: Porco Rosso (紅の豚)

Porco Rosso (紅の豚 Kurenai no Buta, lit. Crimson Pig) is a 1992 Japanese animated adventure film written and directed by Miyazaki Hayao (宮崎駿). It is based on Hikoutei Jidai (飛行艇時代), a three-part watercolor manga by Miyazaki. The film stars the voices of Moriyama Shuuichirou, Katou Tokiko, Okamura Akemi and Ootsuka Akio. Suzuki Toshio produced the film for Studio Ghibli. Joe Hisaishi composed the music.

The plot revolves around an Italian World War I ex-fighter ace, now living as a freelance bounty hunter chasing "air pirates" in the Adriatic Sea. However, an unusual curse has transformed him to an anthropomorphic pig. Once called Marco Pagot, he is now known to the world as "Porco Rosso", Italian for "Red Pig".

Yet another great work from Studio Ghibli that brings us that feeling of nostalgia, this time through the beautiful landscapes of the Adriatic Sea, and the memories of long ago from a human transformed into a pig. Sounds silly? Have a look yourself!

Also watch below Joe Hisaishi interpreting Porco Rosso's theme at the Budoukan!

Culture Point 15: Kabuto

For those less familiarized with the picture below, it is a Kabuto (兜, 冑), a type of helmet first used by ancient Japanese warriors, having later become an important part of the traditional Japanese armor worn by the samurai class and their retainers in feudal Japan.

As in the previous Culture Point about Japanese Traditional Clothing, there are a lot of distinct parts with their own names! Check them out below!

Art: iPhone Finger Painting by Yamaoka Seikou

Yamaoka Seikou (山岡セイコウ) is an iPhone Finger Painting and Watercolor Artist. While being quite famous for his amazing iPhone finger painting works, he also creates watercolor works.

Having started his iPhone art while practicing drawing on the train on his way to work, he felt attracted to it as it delivers the huge advantage of being able to draw at any time.

Have a look yourself at some of his works below! They're gorgeous!

Also, below are some of his watercolor works. Check them out!

And last but not least, be amazed with some of his works taking form! Watch the videos below!

Visit Yamaoka Seikou's Art Gallery by clicking HERE, and don't forget to visit his Official Facebook Page and subscribe his YouTube Channel!

The Beautiful-Beyond-Belief Japanese Violinist

Her name is Okabe Machi (岡部磨知), and she started playing violin at 3 years old. In venues such as the Tokyo International Forum, the Ebisu Garden Hall and ZEPP TOKYO, she has been performing original arrangements through all the country, having become a famous player.

Further expanding her activity, she has participated in live performances, recordings and other events as a soloist and arranger for artists such as Dragon Ash, Hitomi, Sound Horizon, AAA, Nishino Kana, Kawamura Ryuuichi, Kumaki Anri, among others.

She has released three original albums, sweet devilCandy girl, and Elpio.
She also participated in the production of the soundtrack of video games such as Ace Combat 3D: Cross Rumble, Final Fantasy XIII-2, God Eater, and Time Travelers.
Watch below some videos from her YouTube Account!

Also, don't forget to visit her Official Website and Blog below!


Studio Ghibli: Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea (崖の上のポニョ)

Ponyo (崖の上のポニョ Gake no Ue no Ponyo, literally "Ponyo on the Cliff"), initially titled in English as Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea, is a 2008 Japanese animated fantasy film written and directed by Miyazaki Hayao (宮崎駿) of Studio Ghibli and Toho. It is Miyazaki's eighth film for Ghibli, and his tenth overall.

The film was released in Japan on July 19, 2008, and it has won several awards, including the Japan Academy Prize for Animation of the Year.

The plot follows Brunhilde, a fish-girl who lives with her father Fujimoto, a once-human wizard or scientist who now lives underwater, and her numerous smaller sisters. One day, while she and her siblings are on an outing with their father in his four-flippered submarine, Brunhilde sneaks off and floats away on the back of a jellyfish. After an encounter with a fishing trawler (the net of which is scraping the trash-strewn bottom of the harbor), she ends up stuck in a bottle. She drifts to the shore of a small fishing town and is found and rescued by a small boy named Sousuke. Splitting the bottle open, Sousuke cuts his finger in the process. Brunhilde licks his wound when he picks her up, and the wound heals almost instantly. After taking a great liking to her, Sousuke renames her Ponyo and promises to protect her forever. Meanwhile, a distraught Fujimoto is searching frantically for his daughter. Because of his own bad memories of the human world, he believes that Sousuke has kidnapped her, and he calls his wave spirits to recover her.

Ponyo and Fujimoto have an argument, during which Ponyo voices her desire to become human. Suddenly she starts to grow legs and turn into a human, a power granted to her by the human blood she ingested when she licked Sousuke's finger. Her father turns her back with difficulty and goes to summon Ponyo's mother, Granmamare. Meanwhile, Ponyo, with the help of her sisters, breaks away from her father and uses his magic to make herself fully human. The huge amount of magic that she inadvertently releases into the ocean causes an imbalance in the world, resulting in a huge tsunami. Running pell-mell over the waves of the storm, Ponyo goes back to visit Sousuke, who is amazed but overjoyed to see her. Lisa is equally amazed, but takes Ponyo's transformation in stride. Lisa, Sousuke, and Ponyo wait out the storm at Sōsuke's house, where Ponyo learns of some of the things in the human world. Worried about the residents of the nursing home where she works, Lisa leaves to check up on them, promising Sousuke that she will return as soon as possible.

And that's it for the spoiler! :D It is quite an enjoyable movie so I recommend you to watch it!

For now, enjoy the trailer below!

Studio Ghibli: Kiki's Delivery Service (魔女の宅急便)

Kiki's Delivery Service (魔女の宅急便, Majo no Takkyūbin, lit. Witch's Express Home Delivery) is the title of the 1989 Miyazaki Hayao (宮崎駿) and Studio Ghibli anime film based on the children's fantasy novel written by Kadono Eiko (角野栄子) and illustrated by Hayashi Akiko (林明子). It was first published by Fukuinkan Shoten on January 25, 1985.

The original book won numerous awards in Japan. Encouraged by this and by the success of the film, Kadono has written four more novels, over a period of several years, and created a book series. The most recent was published in October 2009.

The plot follows Kiki, a young witch. Her mother is also a witch, but her father is not. Kiki is now 13 years old, and must spend a year on her own in a town where there is still not other witches. While accompanied by her cat Jiji, she uses her magic abilities to earn her living, working in a bakery and also doing a home delivery service riding her broom.


Jumping right away to a personal note, as always, yet another astonishing Ghibli work! I was particularly fascinated by the beauty of the backgrounds. That, plus the routine of Kiki's work and relations with other people, be it friends, customers or the city's people, it's really fun to watch!

Of course moving to a new city is exciting, but it's very difficult as well, so a lot of problems happen! It kind of reminds me of myself coming to Japan :)

One of the phrases that most caught my attention was during a scene when Kiki was talking with a friend who loved to draw. When asked what would she do if she became unable to draw, she replied something like "I would stop drawing. I would do something else. I really love drawing so eventually I would want to start drawing again."

I think it is a really interesting phrase, and I think about it a lot as well... We push ourselves over and over to be able to do something, but sometimes all we need is a break. And then, if we do like it, a new energy will allow us to come back stronger! I'll seriously think about that...

Also, one of the things this movie has good is that there is particularly no end. Kiki still has a lot to do and to learn, so the adventures continue!

Below is a preview of the movie! Enjoy!