‘Kiki’s Delivery Service’ by Hayao Miyazaki (1989 film) – review

kikidoyouloveme-c537c2fbe895a651b76179c8b7a4f23bBeing a witch can be this fun. She can fly on a broomstick anywhere faster, higher and further and see the world in her own eyes, which takes her to a higher plane of existence. Perish the titular image of a spooky hag with an equally evil-looking black cat flying together on an old broomstick on Witches Sabbath as a medieval invention of a woman laden with sexual and spiritual depravity. For a witch can be young, innocent, good-hearted and hard-working into the bargain who tries to live purposefully and meaningfully with what’s given to her as a result of responding genuinely and humanly to life’s challenges.  Such is a growing tale of Kiki’s Delivery Service, aka Witch’s Delivery Service.

Kiki, a thirteen-year-old witch, leaves her mother and father for an independent one-year training of witchcraft at a faraway place where no other witch lives. Her companion is a witty and trusty talking black cat named Jiji that is more of kin than a pet. When Kiki finds a place in the port city of Koriko that has the outlook of San Francisco, Marseilles, and Nice beautifully combined, she sets up a delivery service as a messenger flying on a broomstick passed down to her in a long line of witchery by her witch mother. The business is in bloom because of her excellent customer service, positive attitudes, and beautiful heart, boosting her self-confidence, filling her heart with the love of humanity. Her broomstick and craftiness in flying with amazing navigation skills are part of witchery. Still, her real magical power is her empathy with people that infatuates all with a sense of euphoria. Kiki comes to know that the real magic comes from within, not from supernatural entities.

Kiki’s Delivery Service is a 1989 Japanese animated film that was written, produced, and directed by great Hayao Miyazaki, which was an adaptation of the 1985 eponymous novel by Eiko Kadono. The fineness of Japanese animation is at the meticulous rendering of an original literary source text to the animated version without losing the authenticity of the unique theme and maximizing the emotional and visual effects. Also, there is a polyphony of pathos and affabulation found in Miyazaki’s animations, such as Graves of Fireflies, My Neighbor Totoro, and his other television works, as presented in The World Masterpiece Theater. Kiki’s Delivery is a bildungsroman film of an adolescent girl who tries to establish her place in the world while growing up, independent of the comforts of her home and conformity of lifestyles that are likely to be pinned down on her by a society’s convention. In a way, it is reminiscent of Jonathan Livingston Seagull in terms of his search for self-identity and growing into adulthood through the difficulties of life. However, Kiki’s rite of passage seems more adventurous, more libertine, and more animated, all in the artistic mastery of Miyazaki’s creation of La Vie de Rose, according to the eyes of young and resilient witch Kiki. Young, Old, Man, Woman, regardless of where you are or what you do, this is a film that will bring you all to the world of fantasy wonderfully anchored in the reality that will entertain you with beautifully rendered scenery in detail and a story worth the keeping at heart.

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