Winter 2020 Anime: Official Info, Airdates & Trailers
Keep warm this winter season with the latest anime info at MANGA.TOKYO!
Kiki’s Delivery Service mixes fantasy and everyday struggles in a genius way as a young teenage girl tries to find her place in the world and discover who she is. Miyazaki’s love for the element of air is once again visible in this 1989 anime classic where he portrays the sweet story of a girl learning about growing up. Even if you have never heard of this Studio Ghibli movie, it’s never too late for you to enter a world where witches and modern society co-exist.
Kiki’s Delivery Service tells the story of Kiki, a little witch who has to leave home for a year when she turns 13 to begin her solo witch training. Accompanied by Jiji, her talking cat, and her broomstick, she searches for a new town where she can settle and find out who she is.
Kiki is caught between excitement and premature nostalgia. Soon she will turn 13, an age in the witching world that means soon she will have to depart her childhood home. However, she’s already impatient to leave and feels prepared to live her life on her own – or so she thinks. Before she leaves, she asks her dad to hug her and toss her in the air as he used to when she was a child – deep inside she is a bit scared for the big changes that are about to happen to her life. She needs to know that no matter what happens, some things will always be the same. And the supportive love of a parent is one of those. Night falls and she grabs her broomstick, setting off into the night sky and finally arrives in Koriko.
Kiki’s life in her new town brings a realization that finding yourself is not as easy as it sounds. Her transition to adulthood has just begun. After leaving behind what’s familiar, she must learn about independence. She is fearless, enthusiastic, hardworking and, like most teenage girls, she has a temper. When she arrives at Koriko (which is architecturally inspired by north European cities) with her mother’s old broomstick and her talking cat Jiji, a geeky boy named Tombo approaches her. I think Miyazaki expressed himself and many of his desires through Tombo. Tombo admitted to Kiki that he’d love to fly and he’s jealous of the ones who can, and even built a flying-bike by himself. He’s a great guy, he sucks at flirting, but he gives it his best shot. I admired Tombo’s patience towards Kiki but I also felt a little annoyed. He surely saw something beautiful in her, but I don’t even know why she was so angry with him at the first place.
In the new town, Kiki realizes that nothing is going to be easy. The majority of people are not familiar with witches, and flying, especially between moving cars, can cause many problems. The presence of the air element is strong in this movie since, besides the talking cat, the only form of magic presented is flying. In a big modern city where old witch customs are unknown, it seemed impossible for a 13-year-old to find a place to live without her parents. But Kiki’s polite heart won over a very pregnant baker, who offered to give her a room in exchange for helping out at her bakery. Not long after taking up her offer, Kiki starts her own business, a flying delivery service. She struggles to get by at first but doesn’t lose her strength, and instead of moping she works even harder proving that with hard work you can achieve everything. However, at times she felt very lonely and jealous of the other teens who don’t have to work and are able to party all day and do and wear whatever they want. She sees her own obligations of having to work and wear only an old-fashioned black dress. Kiki loves bright colors but out of respect for her mother she chooses to follow her roots and witch traditions, which dictate witches may wear only black. But she adds her personal style by sporting a huge red bow on her head. The plot at this point unfolds extremely slowly and I got a little bored by watching Kiki’s everyday life.
By the end, Kiki’s eventual transformation goes through a maelstrom of loss and self-doubt. While trying to be loved and accepted for who she really is, she also loses her flying ability and her ability to communicate with her cat familiar, Jiji, causing her to lose all her self-confidence. Total disaster. When this happens, Kiki suffers and a desperate race to find a solution begins. After many unsuccessful attempts to get her magic back and breaking her mother’s broomstick in the progress, her hippie friend gives her some great advice. Kiki has to consider why it is that she wants to fly and discover her true reason and purpose. And the reason is her helpful spirit. She truly enjoys being useful, so when Tombo is close to death by involving in a Zeppelin crash, Kiki has no other option than to regain her ability and save him, becoming a strong character who her friends from certain doom. Her magic had been inside of her all the time – she never lost it. Following these events, Kiki will never feel alone again as she is now a part of Osono’s family, Tombo’s group and the cute old ladies crew. She now belongs to this new city, and who knows what adventures are ahead?
By the end of the film, there is some great symbolism. Kiki has in some ways lost what connected her with her childhood; her broom and her ability to talk to Jiji, but she still flourishes: Kiki has not actually lost these things but simply matured beyond talking to her cat and playing with broomsticks.
The soundtrack is composed by Joe Hisaishi, a good friend of Miyazaki, who is the genius behind the music in many Studio Ghibli films like Princess Mononoke and Castle in The Sky. The music is very soft and sweet, you can sense Kiki in the background, and makes the movie even greater.
The artwork is amazing and in the original Studio Ghibli style: detailed landscapes, expressive faces, and carefully picked colors. The visual style is about the beauty of surroundings rather than the ugliness that can sometimes be out there. It is a real pleasure to watch and listen to this movie.
Kiki’s Delivery Service is based on the children’s fantasy novel of the same name by Eiko Kadono (first published 25 January 1985, by Fukuinkan Shoten), but Miyazaki made numerous changes before the release. He added crisis (the lost flying ability), loneliness, and many everyday struggles. Kadono was unhappy with the changes that were made between the book and film, to the point that the project was in danger of being shelved at the screenplay stage, but fortunately, it didn’t. This film won the Animage Anime Grand Prix prize and was the first Studio Ghibli true blockbuster, becoming the highest-grossing film in Japan in 1989 and also finding an audience overseas. The film’s popularity even extended to the novel it was based on, inspiring author Eiko Kadono to write many sequels about Kiki’s other exploits. It was the first film released under a 15-year distribution partnership between The Walt Disney Company and Studio Ghibli.
Interestingly, Disney’s English dub of Kiki’s Delivery Service has many key differences in the dialogue, and there are a number of additions and embellishments to the film’s musical score and several lavish sound effects over sections that are silent in the Japanese original. However many of these differences and additions were reversed or removed in the 2010 DVD release by Disney.
The word takkyubin (宅急便, literally ‘home-fast-mail’) in the Japanese title is a trademark of delivery company Yamato Transport, though it is used today as a synonym for takuhaibin (宅配便, ‘home-delivery-mail’). The company not only approved the use of its trademark in the film but also enthusiastically sponsored it, as the company uses a stylized depiction of a black cat carrying her kitten as its logo.
Finally, I would like to mention a fan theory which supports that Mr. and Mrs. Osono are actually Sosuke and (now human) Ponyo who ended up together. And they indeed look alike.
For more facts about Kiki’s Delivery Service read this awesome article written by Mokugyo:
Kiki’s Delivery Service is a film about simple people with simple life situations. These things might seem manageable to an adult, but for a teenager are quite difficult. The character development in this film is great and the plot is modest yet interesting. I like the emphasis given in Kiki’s up and downs and in her character. Kiki is not an ordinary hero. She has many flaws but still manages to be lovable and save the day. You watch her grow up while fulfilling her purpose. She doesn’t know what she’s meant to be, but she won’t stop until she finds out. This youthful, pure faith is true magic.
It’s not really important what color your dress is. What matters is the heart inside!
This film is a passage into adulthood. From the innocent eyes of a young teenager, we remember how hard growing up was. After leaving a loving family and a protective home, Kiki suddenly realizes that no one owes you anything and you have to struggle to gain simple things such as respect and kindness. All these wonderful feelings will make you watch this movie again and again.
Keep warm this winter season with the latest anime info at MANGA.TOKYO!
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