Kiki's Delivery Service
|Kiki's Delivery Service|
Theatrical release poster
|Hepburn||Majo no takkyūbin|
|Directed by||Hayao Miyazaki|
|Produced by||Hayao Miyazaki|
|Written by||Hayao Miyazaki|
|Based on||Kiki's Delivery Service
by Eiko Kadono
|Music by||Joe Hisaishi|
|Edited by||Takeshi Seyama|
|Distributed by||Toei Company|
|Running time||102 minutes|
|Box office||¥2,170,000,000 (estimated)
Kiki's Delivery Service (Japanese: 魔女の宅急便 Hepburn: Majo no Takkyūbin?, "Witch's Delivery Service") is a 1989 Japanese animated fantasy film produced by Studio Ghibli. It was written, produced and directed by Hayao Miyazaki as an adaptation of the 1985 novel of the same name by Eiko Kadono. The film tells the story of a young witch, Kiki, who moves to a new town and uses her flying ability to earn a living. According to Miyazaki, the movie portrays the gulf between independence and reliance in teenage Japanese girls.
Kiki's Delivery Service was released in Japan on July 29, 1989, and won the Animage Anime Grand Prix prize. It was the first Studio Ghibli film released under the distribution partnership between The Walt Disney Company and Studio Ghibli; Walt Disney Pictures recorded an English dub in 1997, which premiered in United States theaters at the Seattle International Film Festival on May 23, 1998. The film was released on home video in the U.S. and Canada on September 1, 1998.
In exchange for accommodation, Kiki accepts a job delivering goods by broomstick from Osono, a kindly bakery owner. She meets a variety of people through her work, including an artist, an old woman, and Tombo, a geeky boy obsessed with aviation. At first Kiki is annoyed by Tombo and his extroverted friends, but she warms up to him after they take his flying bicycle for a test run.
In the latter half of the film Kiki becomes depressed. She discovers she can no longer understand Jiji, and has also lost her flying ability, forcing to suspend her delivery business. Kiki gets a surprise visit from Ursula (the artist), who determines that Kiki's crisis is a form of artist's block. Ursula suggests that if Kiki can find a new purpose, she will be able to reclaim her powers.
While Kiki is visiting a customer, she witnesses an airship with Tombo on board. A strong gust sends the airship out of control into Koriko, and leaves Tombo hanging in mid-air. Kiki regains her flying power and manages to rescue him. She regains her confidence and resumes her delivery service. Kiki's parents receive a letter saying that she and Jiji are happy.
|Character||Japanese||English (Streamline version)||English (Disney version)|
|Kiki||Minami Takayama||Lisa Michelson||Kirsten Dunst|
|Jiji||Rei Sakuma||Kerrigan Mahan||Phil Hartman|
|Osono||Keiko Toda||Alexandra Kenworthy||Tress MacNeille|
|Ursula||Minami Takayama||Edie Mirman||Janeane Garofalo|
|Tombo||Kappei Yamaguchi||Eddie Frierson||Matthew Lawrence|
|Fukuo (The Baker)||Kōichi Yamadera||Greg Snegoff||Brad Garrett|
|Kokiri (Kiki's mother)||Mieko Nobusawa||Barbara Goodson||Kath Soucie|
|Okino (Kiki's father)||Kōichi Miura||John Dantona||Jeff Bennett|
|Madame||Haruko Katō||Melanie MacQueen||Debbie Reynolds|
|Barsa||Hiroko Seki||Edie Mirman||Edie McClurg|
|Senior Witch||Yūko Kobayashi||Wendee Lee||Debi Derryberry|
|Ket||Yuriko Fuchizaki||Lara Cody||Pamela Adlon|
|Ket's mother||Mika Doi||Diane Michelle||Julia Fletcher|
|Jeff||Unknown||Unknown||Pat Fraley (uncredited)|
|Lily||Unknown||Unknown||Kirsten Dunst (uncredited)|
Themes and analysis
Several aspects of Kiki's behavior and appearance have been the focus of commentary. One major theme is Kiki's transition into adulthood. While being raised by loving parents who support her independence, Kiki is faced with problems common in adolescence such as finding a job, seeking acceptance, and taking care of herself. The concept of vulnerability is also examined closely in the film. Critic Mark Schilling noted a scene during Kiki's first night away from home, staying with the bakers: At night, she quickly steps out of her room into the outhouses and peers out to see the husband, Fukuo, stretching his muscles. After he leaves the scene, Kiki rushes back to her room and slams the door behind her while gasping for air. "The scene does absolutely nothing to advance the plot and the humor in it is low...but...it wordlessly — and eloquently — expresses Kiki's youth, vulnerability, and isolation."
Another theme is the transition from traditional to contemporary. Kiki is shown to balance both of these qualities. For instance, Kiki observes the tradition of witches wearing black, but adorns her hair with a bright red bow. Kiki also engages in other traditional methods; such as baking with a wood burning stove, or flying her mother's old broom.
Kiki's loss of her ability to fly is also the subject of discussion. It is considered the worst crisis Kiki has to face during the film. The loss of flight reflects the harm dealt to Kiki by her own self-doubts. However, this hardship is what causes Kiki to realize that being vulnerable does not always lead to failure. In essence, the experience demonstrates that such vulnerability can help one learn valuable lessons and better understand oneself. Kiki in fact does not face any external adversaries in the film, though some have argued that the crashing dirigible is a feasible example. In the Japanese version of the film, Kiki also loses her ability to talk with her cat, Jiji.
In relation to Kiki's portrayal as a witch, some have drawn comparisons to historical or contemporary views on witches and witchcraft. The film incorporates some conventions from fairy-tales such as a black cat companion for Kiki, Kiki's use of a broom for flight, and her black dress. While girls with magical powers are common in Japanese television, Miyazaki noted that, "the witchcraft has always merely been the means to fulfill the dreams of young girls. They have always become idols with no difficulties." In contrast, Kiki cannot use her powers as a means of wish fulfillment.
Kiki has also been compared to other characters in Miyazaki's films. While there are overt differences in demeanor between Kiki and San from Princess Mononoke, a character who is motivated by anger, both characters take control over their own lives. This theme of remarkable independence is also seen in Miyazaki's earlier works, such as in Nausicaä in Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. Kiki is also compared to Chihiro of Spirited Away in the sense that they are both young girls attempting to seek independence without being rebellious. Chihiro is able to develop her independence through her friends and parents just as Kiki leaves her village with her parents' blessings.
In 1987, Group Fudosha asked Kadono's publishers for the rights to adapt Kodono's novel into a feature film directed by either Hayao Miyazaki or Isao Takahata of Studio Ghibli. However, both of the chosen directors were busy working on My Neighbor Totoro and Grave of the Fireflies respectively. Miyazaki accepted the role producer while the studio continued to search for a director. Near the end of Totoro's production, members of Studio Ghibli were being recruited as senior staff for Kiki’s Delivery Service. The character design position was given to Katsuya Kondo, who was working with Miyazaki on Totoro. Hiroshi Ohno, who would later work on projects such as Jin-Roh, was hired as art director at the request of Kazuo Oga.
Miyazaki chose Sunao Katabuchi as director. Katabuchi had worked with Miyazaki on Sherlock Hound; Kiki's Delivery Service would be his directorial debut. Studio Ghibli hired Nobuyuki Isshiki as script writer, but Miyazaki was dissatisfied by the first draft, finding it dry and too divergent from his own vision of the film. When Totoro was finished and released, Miyazaki began to look more closely at Kiki’s Delivery Service and wrote a screenplay. Miyazaki eventually took over as director when Katabuchi became intimidated.[clarification needed] Since the novel was based in a fictional country in northern Europe, he and the senior staff went to research landscapes and other elements of the setting. Their main stops were Stockholm, the Swedish island of Gotland and Adelaide, South Australia.
Upon their return to Japan, Miyazaki and the creative team worked on conceptual art and character designs. Miyazaki began significantly modifying the story, creating new ideas and changing existing ones. Majo no Takkyūbin, the original children's book by Kadono that the movie was based on, is very different from Miyazaki's finished film. Kadono's novel is more episodic, consisting of small stories about various people and incidents Kiki encounters while making deliveries. Kiki overcomes many challenges in the novel based on "her good heart" and consequently expands her circle of friends. She faces no particular traumas or crises. Many of the more dramatic elements, such as Kiki losing her powers or the airship incident at the film's climax, are not present in the original story. However, in order to more clearly illustrate the themes of struggling with independence and growing up in the film, Miyazaki intended to have Kiki face tougher challenges and create a more potent sense of loneliness. One such challenge is Kiki's sudden loss of ability to fly. This event is only loosely paralleled in the novel, in which Kiki's broom breaks and merely requires her to fix it. Miyazaki remarked, "As movies always create a more realistic feeling, Kiki will suffer stronger setbacks and loneliness than in the original". Kadono was unhappy with the changes that made between the book and film, to the point that the project was in danger of being shelved at the screenplay stage. Miyazaki and Toshio Suzuki, the producer of Ghibli, went to the author's home and invited her to the film's studio. After her visit to the studio, Kadono decided to let the project continue.
Miyazaki finished the rough draft of the screenplay in June 1988 and presented it in July 1988. It was at this time that Miyazaki revealed that he had decided to direct the film, because he had influenced the project so much. Kiki's Delivery Service was originally intended to be a 60-minute special, but expanded into a feature film running 102 minutes after Miyazaki completed storyboarding and scripting it.
The word takkyūbin (宅急便?, literally "home-fast-mail") in the Japanese title is a trademark of Yamato Transport, though it is used today as a synonym for takuhaibin (宅配便?, "home-delivery-mail"). The company not only approved the use of its trademark, though its permission was not required under Japanese trademark laws, but also enthusiastically sponsored the film, as the company uses a stylized depiction of a black mother cat carrying her kitten as its corporate logo.
Inspiration for Koriko
Kiki's Delivery Service is set in an idealized trouble-free northern Europe in the city of "Koriko". The name of the city is not actually used in the movie except on the side of a briefly visible bus, and it is often spelled "Coriko" in publications from Ghibli. Miyazaki has noted that the town of Visby on the island of Gotland, Sweden is the main visual inspiration behind Koriko. Fictional Koriko is, however, much larger than Visby and features buildings and shops with the look of Stockholm.
The first official English dub of Kiki's Delivery Service was produced by Carl Macek of Streamline Pictures at the request of Tokuma Shoten for Japan Airlines' international flights. Kiki was portrayed by voice actress Lisa Michelson. This dub is only available in the Ghibli Laserdisc Box Set.
Kirsten Dunst voiced Kiki in Disney's 1997 English dub, released in 1998. This dub was also Canadian comedian and actor Phil Hartman's last voice-acting performance (as Jiji) before his death in 1998. The dub is dedicated to his memory. Reviews of the dub were mixed; although reaction was mostly favorable, others objected to script changes compared to the original Japanese.
Third English version
Kiki's Delivery Service received a new Region 1 DVD in March 2010, the same day Miyazaki's Ponyo became available on American home video. This English audio production is something of a combination of the original Japanese version (which is fairly minimalist and has basic sound effects) and the 1998 Disney English audio production (which has newer sound effects, some new incidental music, and the many entirely new lines of dialog, particularly from Hartman). Some of the 1998 changes remain in the 2010 version, while others are gone. The opening and closing songs from the English version were reverted to the original Japanese pop songs. Hartman's final line which implied that Kiki could understand Jiji again was removed.
Differences between versions
There are a number of additions and embellishments to the film's musical score, and several lavish sound effects over sections that are silent in the Japanese original.. The extra pieces of music, composed by Paul Chihara, range from soft piano music to a string-plucked rendition of Edvard Grieg's In the Hall of the Mountain King. The original Japanese opening theme is "Rouge no Dengon" (ルージュの伝言 Rūju no Dengon?, "Message of Rouge"), and the ending theme is "Yasashisa ni Tsutsumareta nara" (やさしさに包まれたなら?, "Wrapped in Kindness"), both performed by Yumi Matsutoya (credited as Yumi Arai). The original opening and ending theme songs were replaced by two new songs, "Soaring" and "I'm Gonna Fly", written and performed for the English movie by Sydney Forest.
The depiction of the cat, Jiji, changed significantly in the Disney version. In the Japanese version Jiji is voiced by Rei Sakuma, while in the English version Jiji is voiced by comedian Phil Hartman. In Japanese culture, cats are usually depicted with feminine voices, whereas in American culture their voices are more gender-specific. A number of Hartman's lines exist where Jiji simply says nothing in the original. Jiji's personality is notably different between the two versions, showing a more cynical and sarcastic attitude in the Disney English version as opposed to cautious and conscientious in the original Japanese.
In the original Japanese script, Kiki loses her ability to communicate with Jiji permanently, but the American version adds a line that implies that she is once again able to understand him at the end of the film. Miyazaki has said that Jiji is the immature side of Kiki, and this implies that Kiki, by the end of the original Japanese version, has matured beyond talking to her cat.
More minor changes to appeal to the different teenage habits of the day include Kiki drinking hot chocolate instead of coffee and referring to "cute boys" instead of to "the disco".
The English subtitled script used for the original VHS subbed release and the later DVD release more closely adheres to the Japanese script, but still contains a few alterations. Tokuma mistakenly believed the Streamline dub was an accurate translation of the film and offered it to Disney to use as subtitles. As a result, several additions from the dub appear in the subtitles regardless of whether or not they are present in the film.
In Spain, Kiki was renamed "Nicky" because in Castilian Spanish the phonetically similar "quiqui" is commonly used in the slang expression "echar un quiqui", which means "to have intercourse". The film was re-titled Nicky la aprendiz de bruja (Nicky the Apprentice Witch).
In 1993, a musical version of the story was produced. Yukio Ninagawa wrote the script and Kensuke Yokouchi directed the show. The role of Kiki was portrayed by Youki Kudoh and the role of Tombo was portrayed by Akira Akasaka. Akasaka was replaced by Katsuyuki Mori within the year. A cast recording was produced by the original cast, and the show was revived in 1995 and 1996.
Kiki's Delivery Service premiered on July 29, 1989 in Japanese theaters. The total distribution receipts were ¥2,170,000,000 ($18,000,000). The film proved to be a financial success and was the highest grossing film in Japan in 1989. The Japanese DVD was the best selling anime DVD for February 7, 2001.
The Disney English dub of Kiki's Delivery Service premiered at the Seattle International Film Festival on May 23, 1998. It was released to VHS on September 15, 1998 and became the 8th-most-rented title at Blockbuster stores during its the first week of availability. This video release also sold over a million copies. A few weeks later, Disney released another VHS of the movie, this time with the original Japanese soundtrack and with both English and Japanese subtitles. A Laserdisc version of the English dub also became available at this time. The Region 1 DVD was released on August 16, 2005, alongside Spirited Away and Castle in the Sky. It was again reissued on Region 1 DVD in March 2010 along with My Neighbor Totoro and Castle in the Sky as a tribute to the home release of Ponyo. This version of this 2010 release was slightly edited to match the original Japanese version. Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment will release Kiki's Delivery Service on Blu-ray Disc on November 18, 2014
On September 4, 1998, Entertainment Weekly rated it as Video of the Year, and on September 12, 1998, it was the first video release to be reviewed as a normal film on Siskel and Ebert rather than on the "Video Pick of the Week" section. Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune and Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave it “two thumbs up” and Ebert went on to rank it as one of the best animated films of 1998. The film ranked #12 on Wizard's Anime Magazine's list of the "Top 50 Anime released in North America". Other reviews were very positive as well. On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, Kiki’s Delivery Service scored a perfect 100% rating based on 25 reviews. The conservative Christian group Concerned Women for America boycotted Kiki’s Delivery Service screenings and released a press release on May 28, 1998 titled “Disney Reverts to Witchcraft in Japanese Animation”. Calling for a boycott of The Walt Disney Company, the group said the company “is still not family friendly, but continues to have a darker agenda”.
|1990||12th Anime Grand Prix||Best Anime||Won||Kiki's Delivery Service|
|Best Female Character||Won||Kiki|
|Best Anime Theme Song||Won||Yasashisa ni Tsutsumaretanara|
|44th Mainichi Film Award||Best Animated Film||Won||Kiki's Delivery Service|
|Kinema Junpo Awards||Readers' Choice Award||Won||Kiki's Delivery Service|
|13th Japan Academy Prize||Special Award||Won||Kiki's Delivery Service|
|Popularity Award||Won||Kiki's Delivery Service|
|7th Annual Golden Gross Award||Gold, Japanese Film||Won||Kiki's Delivery Service|
|The Movie's Day||Special Achievement Award||Won||Kiki's Delivery Service|
|The Erandole Award||Special Award||Won||Kiki's Delivery Service|
|Japan Cinema Association Award||Best Film||Won||Kiki's Delivery Service|
|Best Director||Won||Hayao Miyazaki|
|Japanese Agency of Cultural Affairs||Best Film||Won||Kiki's Delivery Service|
|Tokyo Metropolitan Cultural Honor||Best Film||Won||Kiki's Delivery Service|
|7th Annual Money Making Director's Award||Best Director||Won||Hayao Miyazaki|
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- Nausicaa.net My Neighbor Totoro Frequently Asked Questions. "I heard that it was double-featured with 'Grave of the Fireflies' in Japan. Is this true?" Retrieved on 2007-01-05.
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- The Art of Kiki's Delivery Service: A Film by Hayao Miyazaki, "Part One: In the Beginning", Page 8. VIZ Media LLC; 1 edition (2006-05-09) ISBN 1-4215-0593-2, ISBN 978-1-4215-0593-0. Retrieved on 2007-01-05.
- (French) La forêt des Oomus Kiki, la petite sorcière Koriko. Retrieved on 2007-01-05.
- Nausicaa.net Kiki's Delivery Service Frequently Asked Questions. "I heard that the name of the bakery was supposed to be a joke. Is it?" Retrieved on 2007-01-06.
- The Art of Kiki's Delivery Service: A Film by Hayao Miyazaki, Part One, In The Beginning, Page 11. VIZ Media LLC; 1 edition (2006-05-09) ISBN 1-4215-0593-2, ISBN 978-1-4215-0593-0. Retrieved on 2007-01-02.
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- The Art of Kiki's Delivery Service: A Film by Hayao Miyazaki, Part One, In The Beginning, Page 12. VIZ Media LLC; 1 edition (2006-05-09) ISBN 1-4215-0593-2, ISBN 978-1-4215-0593-0. Retrieved on 2007-01-05.
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- The Art of Kiki's Delivery Service: A Film by Hayao Miyazaki, Part Two, Art Of Animated Film, Page 32. VIZ Media LLC; 1 edition (2006-05-09) ISBN 1-4215-0593-2, ISBN 978-1-4215-0593-0. Retrieved on 2007-04-22.
- Kiki's Delivery Service News-Old
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- The Art of Kiki's Delivery Service: A Film by Hayao Miyazaki, Part Four, The Complete Script Of The Film by Hayao Miyazaki, Page 205. VIZ Media LLC; 1 edition (2006-05-09) ISBN 1-4215-0593-2, ISBN 978-1-4215-0593-0. "Central Park. Jiji weaves his way through the crowd. Cameras everywhere. Kiki amazed by the flood of camera flashes. Jiji skips into the frame, leaps onto her shoulder and meows over her shoulder. KIKI: Jiji! JIJI: Meow – Of course, his voice will never return. but it doesn't matter anymore... Kiki smiles and rubs her cheek against his." Retrieved on 2007-01-02.
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- Credits // Kiki's Delivery Service // Nausicaa.net
- Adachi, Reito (2012), A Study of Japanese Animation As Translation: A Descriptive Analysis of Hayao Miyazaki and Other Anime Dubbed Into English, [S.l.]: Universal Publishers, ISBN 1612339484
- Camp, Brian (2007), Anime Classics Zettai!: 100 Must-See Japanese Animation Masterpieces, Berkeley, Calif.: Stone Bridge Press, ISBN 1933330228
- Cavallaro, Dani (2006), The Animé Art of Hayao Miyazaki, Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, ISBN 0786451297
- McCarthy, Helen (1999), Hayao Miyazaki: Master of Japanese Animation : Films, Themes, Artistry, Stone Bridge Press, ISBN 1880656418
- Napier, Susan J. (2005), Anime from Akira to Princess Mononoke: Experiencing Contemporary Japanese Animation, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, ISBN 1403970521
- Odell, Colin; Le Blanc, Michelle. (2009), "Kiki's Delivery Service (Majo no Takkyūbin) (1989)", Studio Ghibli the Films of Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata., Harpenden: Oldcastle Books, ISBN 184243358X
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- Official website
- Kiki's Delivery Service page at Nausicaa.net
- Kiki's Delivery Service at Rotten Tomatoes
- Majo No Takkyubin at the Big Cartoon DataBase
- Kiki's Delivery Service (anime) at Anime News Network's encyclopedia
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