Age of the Flying Boat, The (Japanese First Edition)

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The Age of the Flying Boat
Porco Hikoutei Jidai Cover.jpg
First Edition Front Cover
Author Hayao Miyazaki
Original title (if not in English) 飛行艇時代
(Hikoutei Jidai)
Country Japan
Language Japanese
Series Zassou Note
Publisher Dainippon Kaiga
Released July 1992
Pages 64
ISBN 4-499-20595-6


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.

The Story

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.

Serialized in:

Model Graphix, a Japanese scale model magazine. Published in three parts, from March 1990 to May 1990.

Expanded Edition

An expanded 72-page edition was published in 2004. Both editions include 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.

English Translation

Crimson Pig: The Age of the Flying Boat in ANIMERICA magazine, issues #5-7, July 1993 to September 1993, published by
Viz Communications. It's in full color, translated by Matt Thorn. For availability, contact:

Viz Communications
PO Box 77010
San Francisco, CA 94107