Kiki's Delivery Service (魔女の宅急便, Majo no Takkyūbin, translated "Witch's Delivery Service") is a 1989
|Kiki's Delivery Service|
Japanese theatrical poster illustrated by Hayao Miyazaki.
|Directed by||Hayao Miyazaki
Sunao Katabuchi(original position)
|Produced by||Hayao Miyazaki|
|Written by||Nobuyuki Isshiki(original script)|
|Music by||Joe Hisaishi|
|Editing by||Takeshi Seyama|
|Distributed by||Toei Company (Japan)
Buena Vista Pictures(North America)
|Release date(s)||July 29, 1989|
|Running time||102 minutes|
|Gross revenue||Japanese yen ¥2,170,000,000 (estimated) United States dollar $18,172,849.38|
Japanese animated fantasy film produced, written, and directed by Hayao Miyazaki and the fifth Studio Ghibli anime film. It was the fourth theatrically released film from the studio, and was also the second feature film that Miyazaki directed but did not originally write himself. The film won the Animage Anime Grand Prix prize in 1989. Kiki's Delivery Service is based on Eiko Kadono's novel of the same name, which is the first in a series originally published by Fukuinkan Shoten in 1985. The film adaptation includes only some of the episodes in the book; it ends at the end of summer while the book covers an entire calendar year. The movie depicts the gulf that exists between independence and reliance in the hopes and spirit of ordinary Japanese teenage girls.
It was the first Studio Ghibli movie released under the Disney/Studio Ghibli partnership; Disney recorded an English dub in 1997, which theatrical premiered in the United States at the Seattle International Film Festival May 23, 1998. It was released on home video in the U.S. on September 1, 1998.
Kiki is a 13-year-old witch-in-training, living in a small rural village where her mother is the resident herbalist. The film opens at the time traditional for Kiki to leave her home to spend a year alone in a new town to establish herself as a full witch. Kiki therefore flies off on her mother's broom with her closest companion, Jiji, a loquacious black cat. At her departure from home, she has trouble controlling her newly inherited broom, and ricochets off of the trees in her front yard.
Soon after leaving, Kiki asks Jiji to turn on the radio. He flips to a lively pop song and the beginning credits roll. After the credits and song finish, Kiki and Jiji meet another witch in training. After giving some advice about inner skills, this newcomer flies down to the town where she is staying. Seconds after she leaves, Kiki and Jiji are caught in a thunderstorm, from which they take overnight refuge in a train - specifically, in a cattle transport wagon. The next morning, Kiki and Jiji leave to find a place to settle in. Kiki settles in the beautiful seaside European city of Koriko, and, after initially finding it difficult to adjust to the city's pace of life, finds friends and a new home with a baker and her husband, and starts a delivery service that takes advantage of her ability to fly. Kiki experiences several setbacks, such as slow business, misplaced merchandise, rude customers, and illness. She also must contend with her loneliness, worries, and homesickness. Having caught the eye of Tombo, a local boy about her age who has an interest in aviation and in Kiki herself, she at first rebuffs him, though she slowly begins to warm up to him. Jiji simultaneously courts a local cat named Lily, who had earlier snubbed him.
Because of slowly growing insecurity that finally comes to a head, Kiki's powers diminish and ultimately disappear, to her great shame. She also learns that, because of her loss of powers, Jiji has lost the ability to speak to her. Kiki learns about overcoming such obstacles with the help of a newfound friend, a young artist named Ursula, who gives Kiki advice regarding inspiration that she needs in order to regain her magical abilities.
In a moment of deadly crisis, Tombo is accidentally lifted into the air when some strong summer winds blow the dirigible into town. When she is his only hope of rescue, Kiki finds the inspiration to regain her flying ability. Improvising with a street-sweeper's push broom, Kiki manages to rescue Tombo with considerable difficulty. At that adventure's conclusion, Jiji rejoins her, and they are once again able to talk to each other. Suddenly famous, she sends home a simple, modest letter to her parents, saying that she is becoming used to her new home and that things are working out well for her.In the original Japanese version Jiji remains a normal cat after Kiki learns that she has matured beyond talking to him.
The story continues through the end titles, as she flies a high-guard formation with Tombo as he flies his human-powered aircraft in a flight sequence obviously inspired by the Gossamer Albatross. Later, she is on the street of her town and notices a little girl walking past, because the little girl has her hair and clothing styled like Kiki's and is even carrying a small deck broom like the one Kiki flew to save Tombo - an indication of her having become a local celebrity. Jiji and Lily are also shown, with several kittens in tow.
Home Video releasesEdit
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.Clips from this dub are avaliable for download from crystalacids.com.
Kirsten Dunst voiced Kiki in the 1998 English dub. The English dub was also Phil Hartman's last voice-acting performance (as Jiji) before his death.There is a tribute to Phil Hartman after the Japanese credits and Kiki's letter to home, dedicating the film to his memory. The dub received mixed reviews—although it was mostly showered with praise, other critics and fans jumped on it for its minor alterations. Despite this, the dub has proven popular, selling over one million copies on video.
In Spain, Kiki was re-christened "Nicky", and the film re-titled "Nicky la aprendiz de bruja" (Nicky the Apprentice Witch), because in Castilian Spanish, the phonetically similar quiqui carries unintentional adult connotations.
Differences between versionsEdit
Although the plot and much of the story were translated as exactly as possible, Disney's English dub of Kiki's Delivery Service contained some changes, which have been described as "pragmatic". There were occasional additions and embellishments to the musical score overlaying some of the previously silent sequences. The extra pieces of music (provided by Paul Chihara) ranged from soft piano music to a string-plucked rendition of Edvard Grieg's In the Hall of the Mountain King. In addition, the original opening and ending theme songs were replaced. The new songs, "Soaring" and "I'm Gonna Fly", were written and performed by Sydney Forest.
The character of the cat Jiji changed slightly. In the Japanese version, Jiji is voiced by a female performer, while in the American version Jiji has a more distinct male voice (that of Saturday Night Live alumnus Phil Hartman) — possibly for fear audiences would think he is female prior to his developing a romantic interest in the white Persian cat living nearby — and also has more of a wisecracking demeanor. In Japanese culture, cats are usually depicted with feminine voices, whereas in American culture their voices are more gender-specific.
In the original Japanese script, Jiji loses his ability to communicate with Kiki permanently, but in the American version a line is added that implies he is able to speak (or she to understand him) again. 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 demographics, include Kiki drinking hot chocolate instead of coffee and referring to "cute boys" instead of to "the disco". All changes were approved by Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli.
The English subtitled script used for the original VHS subbed release and the later DVD release, is also not accurate, but can more accurately be described as a combination of dubbing and subtitle. It is based on the original Streamline dub, and has resulted in several additions from that dub to migrate into the script regardless of whether they are present or not (such as Herbert Morrison's "Oh the humanity!" line during the blimp sequence). This came about because Tokuma gave Disney the script for the original dub, thinking it was an accurate translation, leaving this as the script that Disney worked on.Also extra lines are added to the film to cover u silence such as Jiji's sarcastic humor when he turns on the radio in the beginning.
Characters and castsEdit
- Kiki is a 13-year-old apprentice witch, who leaves her home village to spend a year on her own, as is tradition in order to train to become a full-fledged witch. She has no visible magical abilities other than those of communicating with her cat and broom flying (at which she is still a novice). She is excitable, innocent, and may turn eager and shy. Some of the earlier concept drawings of Kiki closely resembled the original longer hair illustrations by Akiko Hayashi. It was eventually decided to cut her hair short to ease the animators' workload. She serves, of course, as the protagonist of the film. She is voiced by Minami Takayama in Japanese, Lisa Michelson in the Streamline dub and Kirsten Dunst in the Disney dub.
*Jiji is Kiki's black cat. Jiji and Kiki are able to talk to each other. He is very cautious, especially in comparison to her innocent eagerness, and possesses a somewhat sarcastic wit. He is the deuteragonist of the film. Jiji was voiced by a female actor, Rei Sakuma, in Japanese, and was voiced by male actors in the English language dubs - in the Streamline dub, Kerrigan Mahan, and in the Disney dub Phil Hartman. This was Hartman's last film role before his death.
*Tombo Kopoli (or Kopori) is a 13-year-old boy in Koriko, the city where Kiki settles. He is obsessed with aviation, is a member of a club building a human-powered aircraft, and is at first intrigued only by Kiki's ability to fly. He later becomes her friend; it is obvious that he is in awe of her. It is not clear to an English-speaker whether "Kopoli" is intended as a given name or family name. He is the tritagonist of the film. "Tombo", according to the novel, is a nickname, being Japanese for "dragonfly". He was voiced by Kappei Yamaguchi in Japanese, Eddie Frierson in the Streamline dub, and Matthew Lawrence in the Disney dub.
*Osono is the proprietress of a small bakery in Koriko. She is heavily pregnant throughout the film and can be seen feeding her baby in the end credits. She is the first person in Koriko to treat Kiki with kindness and respect. She also acts like a mother to Kiki. It is under Osono that Kiki first works as a messenger. She is voiced by Keiko Toda in Japanese, Alexandra Kenworthy in the Streamline dub, and by Tress MacNeille in the Disney dub.
*The baker is Osono's nameless husband; he is tall, strongly built, and almost entirely silent. Kiki is intimidated by him at first, but warms up to him after he makes a gift for her: an advertising wreath for her delivery service. He has only one line in the film, and is voiced by Kouichi Yamadera in Japanese.
*Ursula is an artist in her late teens, who lives during summer in a one-room cabin in a wooded area outside of Koriko. She takes an "older-sister" role to Kiki, explaining Kiki's temporary inability to fly in terms of "artist's block", and telling her that giftsTemplate:Emdashincluding the ability to paint, to be a witch, or to bake breadTemplate:Emdashmust be used, not rejected. She is voiced by Minami Takayama in Japanese, Edie Mirman in the Streamline dub, and Janeane Garofalo in the Disney dub.
*Oku-sama ("Madame" in the English version) is one of Kiki's customers. She is elderly and aristocratic, but warmhearted and kindly, and hobbled with arthritis. She is voiced by Haruko Kato in Japanese, Melanie MacQueen in the Streamline dub, and Debbie Reynolds in the Disney dub.
*Bertha ("Barsa" in the English version) is Oku-sama's housekeeper and friend. Her name is often rendered as "Bassa", an alternative spelling of "bāsa", the Japanese pronunciation of "Bertha".Template:Citation needed Bertha was voiced by Hiroko Seki in Japanese, Edie Mirman in the Streamline dub,<ref name="StreamlineCast"/> and Edie McClurg in the Disney dub.
*Okino is Kiki's father; according to Miyazaki he is a professor of folklore.He has no magic lineage, but met Kiki's mother when they were both young, when she came to his town on her traditional witch-training year. According to character designer Katsuya Kondo, he based Okino's appearance on actors David McCallum and Akira Terao. Okino is voiced by Kouichi Miura in Japanese, John Dantona in the Streamline dub,<ref name="StreamlineCast"/> and Jeff Bennett in the Disney dub.
*Kokiri – Kiki's mother, a witch and town herbalist. She worries that Kiki is not equipped to spend a year on her own. The success of Kokiri's potions appears to be dependent on her concentration; interruptions inevitably cause them to instantly spoil. Kokiri is voiced by Mieko Nobuzawa in Japanese, Barbara Goodson in the Streamline dub, and Kath Soucie in the Disney dub.
*Senior Witch – is a 14 year old witch who is provisioned in fortune telling and she also tells fortunes of love.She is voiced by Wendee Lee in the Streamline dub and by Debi Derryberry in the Disney dub.