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Director: Peter Avanzino
Airing Date: April 13, 1996
Stars: Duckman
Rating: ★★★★★

This episode starts with a simple promise by Duckman to attend the recital by the tuba-playing Mambo and Charles. But then Ajax accidentally creates a hole in the space-time continuum, which allows Duckman to gets a visit from his future self who tells him what will happen if he does go to the recital…

Before soon we’re right in the middle of a surprisingly sophisticated, even complicated episode on destiny and the consequences of one’s actions, involving multiple future selfs of Duckman, one even more outlandish than the other. At one point their appearances creates a scene of mayhem that’s got to be seen to be believed.

In short, ‘The Once and Future Duck’ is one of the best written and best directed of all Duckman episodes, relying less on wise-cracking asides, and more on the development of the inner logic of its own absurdist premises. The result is as profoundly philosophical as it is hilariously zany.

Watch ‘The Once and Future Duck’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Duckman episode no. 34
To the previous Duckman episode: Pig Amok
To the next Duckman episode: The One with Lisa Kudrow in a Small Role

‘The Once and Future Duck’ is available on the DVD-box ‘Duckman – The Complete Series’

Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Release Date:  July 1, 1992
Rating: ★★★★

Porco Rosso © Studio Ghibli‘Porco Rosso’ is the strangest movie in Hayao Miyazaki’s filmography. The film eschews most laws of animated film story telling, seemingly just starting and ending in the middle of a bigger story.

Like ‘Laputa: island in the sky’ (1986) and the later ‘The Wind Rises’ (2013) the film is clearly born out of Miyazaki’s love for planes. Like ‘Laputa’ ‘Porco Rosso’ is set in an alternative history Europe (this time the Adriatic sea ca. 1930), and features flying pirates.

The title character is an ex-war pilot with the face of a pig (why this is so is never really revealed). Porco Rosso now is a bounty hunter, battling a federation of air pirates, and their leader, the American Curtis in particular, and secretly loving Gina, the owner of a hotel on an island.

Halfway the movie Porco has to take his injured plane to Milano to get it fixed. There he meets Fio, the young granddaughter of his old mecanic. There’s a vague sense of a Nazi threat, but this is hardly played out. The story evolves around Porco’s return to the Adriatic and final battle with Curtis.

The overal atmosphere is light and comical, but there are a few touching moments, especially between Porco and Fio. Typically for Miyazaki, the film features strong women, and women and children working (Porco’s plane is set together by a crew of women, only).

The animation is outstanding throughout, although it seems the animators didn’t do their best to lip-synch. Most interesting are the scenes of Porco’s take off and flight back to the Adriatic, which feature some spectacular animated backgrounds.

Watch the trailer for ‘Porco Rosso’ yourself and tell me what you think:

‘Porco Rosso’ is available on DVD

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