One of the most spectacular features of Studio Ghibli movies is the subtle and serene art form with the sensuous and sensitive direction of Hayao Miyazaki's artistic sense.
Miyazaki's treatment of sensitive issues through the beautifully colorful picturesque that forms the backdrop of the character's state of mind and heart is a creative feast to the eyes and the heart.
The story of Kiki's Delivery Service starts as a simple journey of a young witch who sets out to the world on her broom with her cat to explore her place and make herself comfortable in the vast unknown world.
The mysteries and complications of human behavior are vividly articulated in the happenings since Kiki starts flying towards a life of experience.
The plethora of diversified people who are made around different ideas, thoughts, and expressions baffle Kiki as she takes a flying stroll around the unknown neighborhood, catching the eyes of onlookers while being confused and mesmerized by the standard of existence in the city line.
Kiki's journey flying away from home with Jiji
Kiki takes shelter under a loving pregnant woman who runs a bakery along with her husband. Given her grasp of flying and understanding directions, she starts her own delivery service to help the woman deliver her orders.
Being a girl of thirteen, when plunged into the vastness of the differences of the world, she feels overwhelmed and tired from the commotion and ignorance and has a hard time adapting to flawed human characteristics that makes her feel confused and lost in the big unknown city.
Adaptability in mutability is one of the main themes captured beautifully by Miyazaki in his artful rendition of the profound ideals embedded in the movie.
Soon, Kiki is shown to lose her ability to fly, her fatigue and detachment from being able to perform her witchcraft make her feel all the more depressed and alone.
She falls into the depths of her dilemma of not being able to return the favor of the woman who lovingly trusted her and gave her the space to take a break.
This can be associated with the creative block that people often face, with the growing fatigue from life's monotony that is often faced by people.
Kiki reunites with an artist she met, Ursula while delivering her first order, her prowess and art elevate Kiki's spirit, and she helps her realize that it is okay to not feel assertive with the talent we are accustomed to.
We can keep trying and take breaks, and eventually, we will regain our grasp on the niche we are comfortable in and thrive more beautifully.
This getaway, accompanied by the scenic parallel, is a beautiful journey for the viewers as the characters seem to be speaking to the viewers directly.
Jiji, Tombo, Ursula, and everyone's influence on Kiki
Throughout the movie, the characters' engagement affects Kiki's characteristic of adapting to the situations and people around her as she grows from her shell into the cityscape.
Tombo's friendliness around her as he tries to keep her company, while she sidelines herself sometimes, the viewers feel a rush of different emotions and experiences while watching her story unfolding into an exciting set of events leading to her eventual growth.
Miyazaki creates a beautiful balance between self-independence and self-reliance along with relying on others for support and comfort through Kiki's companionship with others.
Kiki's self-reliant charm that motivates people to do what they love, as she helps them discover small joys through assisting and supporting others while also taking responsibility for themselves, is the most beautifully fabricated moral woven into the fantasy scenic beauty that is Kiki's Delivery Service.
Jiji and Kiki: bound by friendship, a growth from innocence
Towards the end, Miyazaki shows that Kiki loses her power to talk to Jiji, who used to converse in human language with her. While readers may perceive this as weakening Kiki's power, it is, in fact, a different approach to the eventual independent growth that the two go through.
Kiki cannot rely on her broom and Jiji only to live in the city life where she is thriving. Her association while progression within herself and her individuality is the result of her and her friendship with Jiji on a mature level.
Jiji is invested in a cat named Lilly. Thus they're living their individually independent life while always maintaining companionship with each other. Growth and detachment are a part of the revelation that teenagers bring to humans' lives.
Hits and Misses
Here's a summary of the reviews given by MyAnimeList.net for Kiki's Delivery Service:
- The story: Many reviewers praised the movie for its charming and heartwarming story, which follows a young witch named Kiki as she sets up a delivery service in a new town.
- The characters: Several reviewers noted that the characters are lovable and relatable, particularly Kiki herself and her feline companion Jiji.
- The animation and visuals: Many reviewers commented on the stunning animation and attention to detail, with some calling it a "visual masterpiece".
- Slow pacing: Some reviewers felt that the movie can be slow-paced at times, with some scenes feeling drawn-out or lacking in action.
- Lack of conflict: A few reviewers noted that the movie lacks a strong conflict or antagonist, and instead focuses more on Kiki's personal growth and coming-of-age story.
- Weak supporting characters: Some reviewers felt that the supporting cast, particularly the human characters in the town, were underdeveloped and didn't add much to the story.
Overall, Kiki's Delivery Service has overwhelmingly positive reviews on MyAnimeList.net, with many viewers praising the movie for its charming story, lovable characters, and stunning animation.
While some reviewers felt that the movie could be slow-paced or lacked a strong conflict, these criticisms were generally outweighed by the movie's many strengths.