back with my second feature film of the 12 Days of Ghibli, Kiki’s Delivery Service. Kiki’s Delivery Service follows the story of a young witch, Kiki, and her pet cat/assistant, Jiji as she sets out on her own, as is tradition for young witches when they turn 13. Kiki settles for the seaside city of Koriko where she finds her place as a delivery girl, given her speedy trips atop her trusty broom. Along the way, she mets all sorts of people and makes many friends, including a local boy who takes quite the liking to her, and can usually be found looking for her when he’s not working on his homemade airplane. Unfortunately, Kiki’s problems escalate when it seems she starts to lose her witch powers and even becomes unable to fly. But she overcomes her doubt and fear when the young boy becomes endangered by a crashing dirigible.
While, at its core, this film is most certainly a “coming of age” tale, detailing Kiki’s matriculation from child into responsible adult with childlike qualities, there are other themes to give this film depth as well. Like the balance of creativity and talent in one’s life and how one lives it. Kiki, thrust out on her own, must find a unique way to profit from her own specialized skills, much like we all must at some point in our lives.
Just as with facing life choices, we must also deal with disappointment and not-so-good times, like Kiki does when her magic seems to leave her. Her flight becomes grounded and Jiji, normally talkative, falls silent to her ears. Only when a dire situation arose did Kiki find the willpower to get up and try, to give her best. Only then was she able to (sort of) recover her ability to fly, and even talk to Jiji again. Showing that it’s in our darkest hours that we learn to shine the brightest.
Like all Studio Ghibli films, Kiki’s Delivery Service is a “children” movie, perhaps more so than Spirited Away. But I don’t think that should prevent adults who enjoy an all-around inspiring movie from finding this film very moving, perhaps even tear-jerking (or maybe that was just me). The climax of saving Tombo from the jaws of peril had me, personally, on the edge of my seat, and I think there are plenty who can attest to this as well. The animation is as expected from Ghibli, very well done, as with the music and voice acting (both Japanese and English). Recommended to anyone who wants a nice, family film with a very heart-warming (but not too deep, or socially critically) story.
Until next time,