Age of the Flying Boat, The (Japanese Expanded Edition)
The Age of the Flying Boat (飛行艇時代 Hikoutei Jidai?) is a 15-page all watercolor manga, which the animated film Porco Rosso is based on. It was serialized in Model Graphix, a monthly magazine about scale models, as a part of Miyazaki's Zassou Note series. Like other mangas in this series, Hikoutei Jidai is a manifestation of his love for old planes. It's filled with planes from 1920s (heavily modified by Miyazaki), technical details about them, and the men (good-hearted and silly) who love these planes.
Compared to the anime version, the manga is much lighter and sillier (in a good sense). Other than being a "retired Italian Air Force pilot", Porco's past is not in the story, so there is no conflict with the fascist government, although the rise of fascism and the sentiment against it are mentioned. Gina doesn't appear at all, and Porco is basically a happy guy. Still, the basic story line and its charm are carried over into the anime.
In the air battle scene between Porco and Donald Chuck (Donald Curtis in the anime version), Miyazaki wrote, "If this were animation, I might be able to convey the grandeur of this life-or-death battle. But this is a comic. I have no choice but to rely on the imagination of you, good readers." No one knew at that time, that we were going to be able to see this scene on the big screen as the animated movie Porco Rosso.
It's the 1920s over the Adriatic Sea. Air pirates with their floatplanes plague the sea, attacking ships, robbing money, and kidnapping girls. Enter a bounty hunter, Porco Rosso. Flying his red floatplane, he is the best in the business. He is a very cool guy and women love him. But there is one thing particular about him - he is a pig.
- Part One: Porco Rosso saves a girl from the air pirates, Mamma Aiuto.
- Part Two: Porco is shot down by an American, Donald Chuck. Porco takes his plane to Piccolo, SPA, in Milan for repairs. Fio, a 17 year old girl redesigns his plane and improves it.
- Part Three: Porco and Chuck have a great air battle for Fio and Italian pride.
Model Graphix, a Japanese scale model magazine. Published in three parts, from March 1989 to May 1989.
The Age of the Flying Boat (飛行艇時代 Hikoutei Jidai?). Revised and expanded 2004. Dainippon Kaiga, 71 pages, ¥1890, ISBN 4-499-22864-6. Includes the Porco Rosso manga (15 pages total), several settings of airplanes, and several resin-kit models of them, photos of some real counterparts of 1920s floatplanes which appeared in the film, and some interviews with Miyazaki regarding some airplane model-kits.
Link to the older 1990 First Edition.