Project #151: Kiki’s Delivery Service

*The UPS man rings Nitsuj’s doorbell to deliver a package and walks away leaving the package on the doorstep. The door gets answered by Chibi Isis.*


(Chibi Isis): Thank you UPS-san.


*Chibi Isis takes the package in and opens it to reveal a DVD of Kiki’s Delivery Service. Excited by this Chibi Isis runs to show Nitsuj.*


(Chibi Isis): Nii-chan! Nii-chan! Nii-chan! Nii-chan! It finally arrived!


*Holds up Kiki’s Delivery Service.*


(Nitsuj): Oh. So it finally arrived. Good for you Chibi.


(Chibi Isis): Can we review it Nii-chan? Just like you promised me.


(Nitsuj): Well I was planning on reviewing AoT -*sees Chibi Isis looking at him with excited eyes* but. . .that can wait. After all I haven’t reviewed anything Miyazaki related in a while. For those of you unfortunate enough to pass up this gem from Studio Ghibli. The film came out in 1989 (one year after I was born) and was written, produced and directed by Miyazaki himself. The film is actually an adaptation of the 1985 novel under the same name written by Eiko Kadono. The film follows the story of a young witch who moves to a new town trying to make a living for herself. The film is Miyazaki’s social commentary on a teenage girl’s independence and reliance in the world and was a huge success at the box office being the highest grossing film in Japan at the time and went on to win a number of rewards such as best anime, female character, theme song, and of course film/director. Let’s take a dive into the wonderful world of Miyazaki and check out Kiki’s Delivery Service. We’re looking at the dub today as well.


So the film starts off in a beautiful grassy plain where our main character Kiki voiced by Kirsten Dunst is listening to her father’s radio that she took without permission (truly the antics of a typical teenage girl). After hearing that tonight is going to be a clear night with a full moon she rushes home telling her mom that tonight is the night that she’ll be leaving. You see Kiki comes from a family of witches and according to traditions when a witch reaches the age of 13 they have to leave home and go off to continue their training. Kiki is excited for this as she’ll be able to study magic and become her own woman but her mother is rightfully worried about sending her daughter off on her own (Chibi Isis: I wouldn’t worry. I know a 10 year old boy who left home to train and battle dangerous monsters with no adult supervision. She’ll be fine). The father on the other hand isn’t worried at all and is quite supported of her (man cave. Man cave. Just one more night and I can have my man cave) even though he too is sad to see his little girl growing up and leaving the nest he knows he has to support of her choice. That night she leaves her tiny countryside town and flies away with her feline talking cat Jiji voiced by the late Phil Hartman (who may or may not be taking this role seriously. With him you never know). After taking off we get our first flying sequence and I’m not gonna lie these are the best scenes in the film. The flying is realistic and cool to watch. There’s no CGI in these scenes it’s all animated and it looks amazing. You really do feel as if you’re flying with Kiki. After a little bit of flying a storm breaks out (Chibi Isis: Clear skies my butt) and Kiki is forced to take cover in a train where she falls asleep in a stack of hay which is actually the food for cows (well good thing they aren’t carnivores otherwise this would have been a short movie). She wakes up the next day where she spots an island port city and flies to it deciding this will be the place where she trains. They land in the town where everyone isn’t at all that phased by the fact that she’s a witch (normal everyday occurrence for them. Kind of like New York when they see Spiderman swinging around). After almost causing an accident and about to get written up by an officer she gets saved by a boy named Tombo voiced by Matthew Lawrence all has a fascination with flying and takes an interest in Kiki however Kiki doesn’t take an interest in him because of his rude manners of not introducing himself to her (Chibi Isis: Clearly he doesn’t have a lot of female friends). She ditches him and looks for a place to stay but comes up short because she’s a minor and she has to show some identification that she’s a witch (she’s carrying a broom, can fly, and has a talking cat. What more proof do you need?). She keeps searching until she comes across a bakery owner named Osono who tries to deliver a pacifier back to a client’s baby but she’s too far away. Kiki delivers it for her and as thanks Osono gives Kiki a place to stay (phase 1 of city take over complete. Begin phase 2).


The next morning Kiki helps out around the bakery and that silent strong baker tries to impress Jiji (scene here: [MEDIA=youtube]X2YIjaYy_bI[/MEDIA]. Dude, if your trying to impress that cat or scare it you’re gonna need a do more than that. Or as Phil Hartman would say: [MEDIA=youtube]V2ewx9vIw68[/MEDIA]. (Chibi Isis): You were just looking for an excuse to use that clip weren’t you Nii-chan? (Nitsuj): Yes and it was worth it). Kiki tells Osono that she’s going to start a delivery service and Osono makes a deal with her where she’ll allow Kiki to stay if she delivers bread for her throwing in free breakfast and boarding (Chibi Isis: Throw in house cleaning and we got a deal). After that Kiki goes shopping for food and tries to avoid being seen by girls as we see she’s not too fond of being labeled the stereotype witch and just wants to be seen as her own person. She runs again into Tombo hanging out with his posse in a beat up car where once again he blows it with Kiki (man you are terrible at this buddy. (Chibi Isis): He’s almost as bad as that wannabe biker boy who keeps stopping by. (Nitsuj): So true. Wait what? (Chibi Isis): Yeah you didn’t know Nii-chan? Some biker guy keeps driving down the street every now and then calling out to me. There he is right now. He can get a little annoying and uncomfortable at times. (Nitsuj): Oh really. Excuse me for a minute. *Nitsuj gets up and goes outside where he greets the wannabe biker with a baseball bat to the face and proceeds to beat him up*. Now, if I ever hear or see you hitting on Chibi Isis ever again we’re gonna have problems. Also, when the ambulance comes to pick you up you’re gonna say you were in an accident. That’s the story we’re going with and if you lie to them some hungry wolves are gonna be paying you a visit in the hospital. If you understand me let me hear you moan. (Wannabe biker): Ugh~. (Nitsuj): Close enough. Have a good day *Nitsuj walks away and goes back into his house*. Alright, let us continue). Kiki gets her first delivery which is delivering a toy cat to some lady’s nephew. As she’s flying she gets hit by a strong gust of wind which knocks her into a crow’s nest where they accuse her of being an egg stealer and peck at her. She escapes but she loses the toy and can’t go back in the crow’s domain to look for it so she has Jiji pose as the toy while she goes back to search for it in the woods (this time bring a sword). She goes back in the woods where she finds the toy in a wooden cabin which is owned by this artist named Ursula. She’s more than happy to give Kiki the toy and even repairs it for her after it’s been damaged by the crows. With the help of the boy’s dog Kiki is able to switch Jiji with the toy without being noticed (Chibi Isis: Good doggy) and completes her first delivery (a few hiccups along the way but a successful delivery nonetheless).


The next day Kiki is watching the bakery which is having a slow day until Tombo shows up (oh boy. Watching that boy trying to woo Kiki is like watching Charlie Brown try to kick the football. (Chibi Isis): Sad, funny, awkward, and inspiring. But mostly funny). He wants to invite Kiki to his aviation clubs party happening at 6 which she accepts but before going she has to make a few deliveries. The first one is for a middle age man and the second one is for an old lady who’s baking her granddaughter a pie for her birthday (Chibi Isis: Oba-chan is very sweet). Kiki helps the old lady make the pie and even helps around the house while the pie is baking. After the pie is done Kiki delivers it in the rain to the granddaughter who isn’t all that happy about receiving the pie in fact she flat out admits she hates them (hey Chibi I think I heard the doorbell could you go check it out for me please? (Chibi Isis): Sure *Chibi Isis flies down to the door*. (Nitsuj): Now then. You ungrateful ignorant spoiled little wench! I mean your grandmother just baked you a pie and everything and you just diss it? Grow old and live with 30 cats as you spend your sad lonely days drowning in wine. *Chibi Isis comes back up after checking the door*). After delivering the pie Kiki flies back in the rain missing Tombo’s party and feeling bad about it (so she is interested in him). The next day she catches a fever and Osono nurses her back to health and gives her a delivery in the town. Also, Jiji is hooking up with the cat next door named Lily (Chibi Isis: Tis a wonderful cat life). She goes by foot where the recipient of the delivery is Tombo and this time they actually manage to have a conversation with each other (progress). He takes Kiki to the beach to see this amazing blimp they’ll be launching soon (Chibi Isis: Ominous foreshadowing) where he talks about his longing to fly like Kiki. Tombo friends drive by where they tell him they’ll get the opportunity to take a ride in the blimp (well lucky you) and Tombo tries to introduce Kiki to them but she doesn’t meet them because she feels like an outsider because of the way they talk, act, and dress (oh please you’ll fit in perfectly. If anything you could say you’re look is avant-garde). When she arrives back home she discovers something strange has happened to her. She can’t understand Jiji and can no longer fly a broom meaning she’s losing her magic powers.


Kiki tries to see if she still has them by trying to fly but instead breaks her mother’s broom and is forced to shut down her delivery service for the time being. Falling into a funk and unsure what to do she receives a visit from Ursula who invites her to come hangout with her for the time being. They go back to Ursula’s cabin where Kiki sees Ursula’s amazing painting (it’s a pretty cool painting I’m not gonna lie). While out at the cabin Kiki becomes Ursula’s model and tells her that the key to overcoming her flying problem is to find her own inspiration (Chibi Isis: That or find the magic feather from the Super Mario Bros. But the inspiration is the most likely option to go for). After a few days Kiki returns to the city where that nice old lady (who has that spoiled granddaughter) bakes Kiki a cake as a way to say thank you for everything she’s done for her (your granddaughter doesn’t deserve you). While at the house she sees on the TV that the blimp has been hit with strong winds causing it to go out of control and drift into the city with Tombo hanging in mid-air. Once she sees Tombo in danger she rushes off to save him where she regains her powers to fly (Chibi Isis: I guess having the inspiration to save your possible boyfriend will give you your powers back). So she flies to the blimp which has crashed into the clock tower and she saves Tombo right before he falls to his death. So everyone cheers and begins throwing confetti out into the street (where did that come from? Did they have it on standby or something?), Kiki is declared a hero and continues her delivery service, Tombo builds his plane and flies with Kiki (Chibi Isis: On the wings of love), Jiji has kids, and we end with Kiki writing to her folks saying how much she loves her new home.


Final Thoughts


(Chibi Isis): So that was Kiki’s Delivery Service and I’m guessing you didn’t like it so much right Nii-chan? (Nitsuj): Actually I really like this movie. (Chibi Isis): Really? I thought since it was similar to Totoro you wouldn’t like it so much. (Nitsuj): Well yeah I can’t deny that the two films are quite similar to each other. Both films don’t have a whole lot of action or story and have a hint of the supernatural in it but I like Kiki more because it does the formula better. The problem I had with Totoro is that we never really focused on the character but instead the two sisters who are good but at the same time when your film is titled My Neighbor Totoro you expect the film to focus on that character and his interactions with the world around him. In Kiki’s Delivery Service we do focus on Kiki and her interactions with the world around her. We see that despite being a proud witch she’s still acts like a normal girl and wants to be accepted in society as a normal girl who just happens to be a witch. We get to see her interactions with the people in the town and really get to know them all. If anything I wish the movie was longer so we could spend more time with them. You really do come to like all the people Kiki meets and want to spend more time with them. You wanna see Tombo succeed in getting on Kiki’s good side and talk to her more, see more of Ursula’s paintings and talk to her about them, help out the kind old lady with the ungrateful granddaughter, and try some of Osono’s bread. Just a lot of things you want to do in this town. Another thing that makes this movie stand out is that Kiki is a relatable character. We’ve all been in her shoes, we’re teenagers now and trying to become our own person and at times we can feel like an outcast because of where we come from but at the same time we try hard to be accepted for who we are by everyone. So with this mind set you really do get wrapped up in her world and feel as if you’re right there sharing all of her experiences whether they be good ones or bad ones. If anything you Chibi can relate to her more than me.


(Chibi Isis): Wow. You’re right Nii-chan. I never really saw it that way. But yeah, I do feel as if I can relate to her and this film greatly. I would also like to add that the animation is very pretty in this film as always with Studio Ghibli. The town looks like a very nice place to live and the flying scenes truly are amazing as you really do feel like you’re flying with her. I guess the only complaint I have is that the ending does feel like it was added in order to give us a satisfying end. It’s still a good ending and one that I enjoyed but it felt a little unnecessary. (Nitsuj): I always just saw it as Miyazaki wanting to show off more of the flying scenes that he was so proud of in the film and he should be proud to show them off as they really are the best scenes in the film and if you’re going into animation I highly recommend checking these scenes out for inspiration.


Final Score


(Nitsuj): My final score for Kiki’s Delivery Service is an 8/10. (Chibi Isis): I give the anime an 8.5/10. (Nitsuj): And averaging out those scores and going by my system the final score is 8/10 with a must watch stamp of approval. This is a film that will really suck you in and you’ll enjoy every minute of it. If you are between the ages of 13-21 I highly recommend checking this film out as you will relate to it so much. It’s an experience you’ll never forget. (Chibi Isis): Thanks for reading and we’ll next time on Project Nitsuj.


(Nitsuj): Now with that taken care of I can finally get to AoT.


(Chibi Isis): Actually Nii-chan before you do that this letter came for you and it said to read it immediately.


*Nitsuj takes the letter and reads it*


(Nitsuj): Dear Nitsuj it has come to our attention that *Nitsuj continues to read the letter in silent*. Holy crap I’m being sued by the Bronies!


To be continued


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