Kiki's Delivery Service

Kiki's Delivery Service ★★★★½

We all need an Ursula in our lives.

Kiki's Delivery Service is such a special movie. After perfecting his ideal adventure movie with Castle in the Sky, Miyazaki took the idea of and child protagonists and used them in Totoro, and then took the calm, happy, and childlike wonder of Totoro and used it in this while also aging up the hero, making this a film that is virtually impossible for any teenager (that I know of at least) to hate. Just like Totoro, this movie taps into the inner child that resides in all of us. But more than that, it focuses on the struggles that come with responsibility, independence, and just plain ole being a teenager. 'Cause even though we got it easy compared to adults, it's still a hard knock life.

Kiki is such a well-written character; there's not a scene that at least one person can't relate to. Whether it be Kiki waiting in the bathroom in the morning, Kiki helping out someone even though she's not hoping for any reward, Kiki missing out on something due to embarrassment, or Kiki carrying two massive bags of supplies and looking at nice shoes, these scenes all are so relatable to people, and it feels like they could really happen. She's a real human being with real human emotions. She laughs, she cries, she wants to die inside, and she wants to help people and be a good person. I do all of these things too, and just like Kiki, my emotions can change in an instant. It's her relatability that makes this movie so enjoyable to watch, because I feel like Kiki could be me, and who doesn't imagine themselves in situations like this? I'm with her every step of the way, I feel every emotion that she feels, and I could watch her do anything for hours on end.

There's much to be said about the movie's themes of independence and responsibility and how these wants and needs make life really difficult sometimes. But to me, that movie is about something a lot more simple than that: the power of kindness. As a normal everyday person, I try my very hardest to be the kindest person I can be, while still obvious trying to be respectful and funny and whatnot. It's a tricky balance (the movie also has a lot to say about balance), but this kindness is something that I honestly try to uphold the most, and it's not for any selfish reason. I genuinely want to be a good person to people and like helping them out. Just like Kiki. And just like Kiki, I don't expect anything out of being kind to people (you don't have to believe me if you so choose). But kindness can go a long way, as shown in the film and in reality. By being kind to people, both Kiki and I have made friends, helped out people, and have become more aware of our place in our communities. Do we always get rewards, and are people always kind to us in return? No, not all the time. But that can't be helped, because all we gotta do is be kind, and eventually (hopefully) the whole world will follow.

I'll get off my soapbox now. *ahem* THIS MOVIE IS SO GOOOOOOOOD!!!! I think this and Porco Rosso (haven't seen Wind Rises yet so I can't say) are the best showcases of Miyazaki's love of flight. It's so magical here, in rain or shine, and I'll never forget how in awe I was when I first saw Kiki lift off from the ground. Miyazaki's direction is especially wonderful, he brings out the weight of so many flight scenes. It helps that Kiki is written so well which made me empathize with her more, but the shot structure and the specific motions of Kiki flying... are just stunning. There's one specific shot of Kiki surveying the town from above, followed by her dropping down. The way her dress and broom are animated make it so you can tell just how much weight the air has, and you FEEL like you're falling with style.

Speaking of that dress, her outfit is such a simple design, but oh so perfect. The dress is very evocative of a traditional witch, but the red bow is a reminder of the fun, loving person that Kiki is. Her short hair and her radio are signs of her spunky side, and her mom's broom is her link to her old past and magic. With the new broom she gets, she symbolically is welcomed by the town at last, and welcomed to this new home. It's possibly my favorite character design of any Ghibli movie (Radish Spirit, No Face, and the Baron are all close).

On a technical level, this film soars. The animation is breathtaking once again; there is not a shot that I don't like. The score by Joe Hisaishi my God the music. It's so good. It's a lower tier Hisaishi score I think, but the music here is literally better than any film score in the past 4 or 5 years so yeah. The editing of the scenes is just brilliant, weaving characters and places together and showing them for just long enough to make the third act work as well as it does. The sound design is immaculate, and as usual, the Miyazaki blues are the bluest blues to ever blue. Unparalleled. Something about Miyazaki's hand-drawn animation does something so wonderful and aesthetically pleasing to put me in a happy mood. I love this movie so so much. It's so inspiring, so happy, so wholesome, and so relatable. The only thing that holds it back from that five star rating is that for maybe five minutes or so in the first act, I wasn't as engaged with the movie as much as it wanted me to be. That's it. But on the whole, this is a fantastic movie featuring a fantastic protagonist, and it's the perfect summer Ghibli movie.

Oh and Jiji's cool too i guess.

Fun fact about me! The first time I saw this was actually when I took my sister to the theaters for Ghibli Fest to go see this for her birthday, which just so happened to be the 30th anniversary of this movie. Awesome time!

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