Ryan dropped by the shop last night and we finished two Studio Ghibli movies back to back. Here are my reactions on the two:

In my opinion, Porco Rosso (Kurenai No Buta) tells a better story than the next one. Ever since the start of the movie humor is liberally weaved within the dialogue and the situations. You have an anthromorphic pig for a hero (said to have cursed himself out of despair), a spunky girl, a hollywood actor wannabe for a villain, and a group of lovable air pirates headed by a Brutus (of Popeye) lookalike chasing them. Memorable scenes include the ridiculous dog fight between Marco and Curtis (they resorted to throwing wrenches and other tools at each other when their machine guns jammed), all the scenes with the air pirates, and the silent heaven where all pilots who died in the war go. This is a truly touching film and very much worth watching.

Laputa: Castle in the Sky (Tenkuu no Shiro Rapyuta) starts a bit slow and the story doesn't really unravel until the middle of the movie. Similarities with the previous movie involve two sets of villains who take an interest in Sheeta's pendant, the first is a joint force between the military and a faction headed by the renegade Muska, the other is a bunch of pirates. The story picks up when Pazu and Sheeta were kidnapped by the first villains, when Pazu was released he made a pact with the pirates to rescue Sheeta and outrun the others in their quest for the treasures of the legendary castle in the sky. Memorable scenes include the resurrection of the broken robot that decimates the villains' lair and tries to defend Sheeta, the bumbling pirates who unknowingly helped her clean their kitchen, and the first look inside the castle with the guardian robot. The film turns out okay but not that memorable.