Based on Eiko Kadono’s novel of the same name, this animated film was written, produced and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It tells the story of a 13 year old young witch Kiki who must leave home on a full moon night (as tradition goes) and search for a new place to earn living with her magical ability for a year. Taking her chatty black cat Jiji, she finds the perfect spot in a coastal town called Koriko where she offers her craft – flying – to start her own business above a bakery store: Kiki’s Delivery Service. As she runs errands and makes friends with the local people, she also experiences setbacks and challenges on this adventure of her lifetime.
Voiced by a Japanese and English cast, we prefer the original version as the latter seems to alter the characters, storyline and atmosphere a little (cross-cultural translations perhaps?). For example, Minami Takayama’s Kiki (Japanese) sound innocent, cute and spontaneous but Kirsten Dunst’s Kiki (English) is somewhat spoilt, annoying and self-absorbed. Additionally Jiji is seen as shy and cautious (Rei Sakuma) in the Japanese version whereas it is a cynical and sarcastic (Phil Hartman) in the English version. However Miyazaki approved such changes as Kiki was the first Studio Ghibli film released under the partnership with The Disney Company
Being designed, created and adapted by Miyazaki, Kiki of course carries the signature art of the master himself and dazzles the audience with pure visual splendor and enchanting story (Aladdin would be a close western counterpart). Yet beneath the surface, the movie touches on the topic of independence and reliance in Japanese teenage girls, encouraging the youth of today to explore the world and pursue their sense of identity, place and skill in the society
The Blu-Ray features many behind-the-scene extras on Kiki, including:
- Storyboards – frame by frame illustrations for the entire movie
- Ursula’s Painting – a music montage of a significant painting
- Creating Kiki’s Delivery Service – the process of making this movie
- Kiki & Jiji – closer look at the main characters from the novel
- Flying with Kiki & Beyond – different drawings & shots of Kiki flying
- Producer’s Perspective: Collaborating with Miyazaki – Toshio Suzuki’s opinion of Miyazaki
- The Locations of Kiki – a 30 minute documentary of a fan in search of Kiki’s Koriko inspired by the city of Stockholm and a town called Visby in Sweden, as visualised by Miyazaki.
- Behind the Microphone – casting the voices for the English (Disney) version
- Original Japanese Theatrical Trailers – numerous trailers for the release of Kiki in Japan
- Studio Ghibli Collection Trailers – trailers for other Miyazaki’s animated films
We highly recommend Kiki’s Delivery Service as it will sweep you away into a world of magic and fairytale, full of heart-warming moments and fun-filled escapades, for both the young and the old.