I’ve been watching: Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)

  • Another Studio Ghibli anime film. This one is about Kiki, a 13-year old trainee witch who spends a year away from home in a new city, as is tradition for 13-year old witches-in-training. The film follows Kiki as she learns to support herself and live independently in a strange new place, utilising her unique talents as a young witch to start a flying delivery service. A central theme is Kiki’s own insecurity and vulnerability in being in a completely new environment, and the film follows the challenges Kiki faces both socially and economically: finding accommodation, starting and running a business, making friends, and adjusting emotionally to her new circumstances.
  • Kiki is a wonderful character, an exuberant and spirited young girl whose youthful joy and purity and passion won’t fail to warm your heart. I certainly found myself smiling the whole way through this film, just because Kiki positively radiated joy and love and warmth that I couldn’t help but smile along with her. She’s no one-note caricature though—she has her moments of melancholy, anger, sadness and insecurity, and those moments make the pure warmth she exudes at other times so much more gratifying. It’s another testament to Studio Ghibli’s ability to create fantastically engaging and sympathetic characters, one of their undoubted strengths.
  • Unlike the last Studio Ghibli film I watched, Only Yesterday, this film is a return to the storytelling style that I believe Studio Ghibli is so successful at. Because of its characters and its plot, it’s principally directed at a young audience, but at the same time the themes and dialogue are intelligent and resonate with a more grown-up audience. It has the same appeal that I’ve written about before of a film that’s ostensibly a children’s film that is capable at the same time of whetting adults’ more grown-up narrative tastes as well as bringing out the inner child in them.
  • It’s beautifully written and produced, and I think it’s a wonderful film. I chose it because of its reputation as one of Studio Ghibli’s better films (I’m basically just touring through their greatest hits at the moment), and, unlike last time, I wasn’t disappointed by any means.

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