All Geek To Me

Pure Geekness

The Magical World of Miyazaki: Kiki’s Delivery Service

  By Geeky Gem

As you all know I have a thing for Studio Ghibli movies and have seen close to all of them, in these articles I have and will continue to tell you about them. This time I thought I would tell you about Kiki’s Delivery Service.

Kiki’s Delivery Service first came out in Japan in 1989, and was translated and released in the UK in 1997. It was the first release from the Disney/Ghibli partnership. The film was a success for Ghibli as are so many of their movies. It won the Animage Anime Grand Prix prize in 1989, the movie is loosely based on the novel of the same name by Eiko Kadono. Again this movie was written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki.

According to Miyazaki the movie touches on the gulf that exists between independence and reliance in Japanese teenage girls. Going beyond the coming of age themes, this movie deals with the nature of creativity and talent, and the central difficulty every person faces in becoming themselves, whether through luck, hard work or confidence: the inner movie explores the same questions that are later asked in Whisper of the Heart, which we will come to on this journey.

Kiki is a 13 year old witch-in-training, living in a village where her mother is local herbalist. It is traditional for witches to live for a year on their own when they reach 13 years of age. At the start of the story Kiki takes off for the big city with her best friends Jiji her cat. Kiki decides to live in the city of Koirko which is on the coast near a beautiful sea. After a hard start, Kiki finds herself some friends and a place to stay. But she only has one of her witch abilities which is she can fly a broomstick. Which at first she is not very good at. She decides in order to look after herself and earn some money that she will open a delivery service.

As you can imagine Kiki does have some set backs, and many are to do with her adolescent worries. She is also chased all over town by a boy called Tombo, the local crazy boy who is mad about aviation and is fascinated by Kiki’s ability to fly. Kiki eventually warms up to him and they become friends. After a nasty event involving some of Tombo’s friends Kiki is left very upset, so much so that her ability to talk to Jiji and fly disappears. She now has to figure out how to get these powers back. When Tombo’s ends up in some trouble, Kiki must try to save him, but she still has no powers. It is with this attempt to save him that she regains her powers and rescues her friend. The story carries on through the closing credits, you see Kiki settle into her new home, and she is somewhat of a local celebrity.

By now you should being seeing the themes that run through Miyazaki movies, he wants to portray the struggles of his characters but he makes them so you can relate to them in some way. Here for example we meet Kiki and her struggles to deal with adolescence, something I could relate to very easily, the awkwardness of being a teenager and finding you are now of an age where you have to start being responsible for your actions and choices. This is a hard thing for anyone to get used to. This again is one of Miyazaki’s life telling stories, I think this is the real reason why I like these movies so much.

Again the music is beautiful and always fits fantastically with the action on the screen. Its one thing that isn’t lost in the translation. I have seen this movie in both Japanese and English and as always the voice for both languages is brilliant. There is something about the way Miyazaki picked his actors and he does have a say on who is cats in the English dub version which I think is really important.

This is the part where I tell you if you haven’t seen it then you must, but if you have read the other pieces I have done on Miyazaki and you have liked them and have indeed liked the films if you have seen any of them, then I don’t need to tell you, this Is a must see. You’ll just know, and you’ll add it to the list of things you have to see.

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