This post is more of a reflection of my thoughts on Kiki’s Delivery Service than anything else. I had initially done an analysis of this movie and I was planning on posting it, but I decided against it. Kiki’s Delivery Service is one of those films that I have a lot of thoughts about, and I figured it’d be a nice change of pace to give my own personal opinions on a film for a change. The following is my experience with watching this film and my thoughts about it.
Kiki’s Delivery Service is a 1989 fantasy and coming-of-age film directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It tells the story of a thirteen-year-old witch-in-training named Kiki and her journey to develop her powers, find her place in the world, and basically come to terms with who she is. Although there are elements of fantasy in Kiki, I consider this more of a slice-of-life film, as I feel that the focus of the film isn’t on the magic or the supernatural elements, but on the maturation of the main character, Kiki.
Kiki’s Delivery Service is one of my favorite Studio Ghibli films for very personal reasons. I watched it for the first time shortly after I turned fourteen years old, at a time when I was having issues with my body image. Like many girls at that age, I felt awkward in my own skin for one reason or another. In my case, I had always been on the thin, small side of the body size spectrum, and it was something I was teased about throughout my childhood.
Fast forward to my early teenage years—I was still thin and small, but I was also a late bloomer when compared to other girls going through puberty. It had become such a concern that I remember taking a few trips to the doctor’s office with my mom as an extra precaution. It was around this time that my insecurities came to a head.
As silly as it may sound, I cried the first time I watched Kiki’s Delivery Service. Up until that point, I had never been able to relate to a character as much as I could relate to Kiki, and although her struggles had nothing to do with mine, I saw a lot of myself in her character. Here was a girl on the cusp of adolescence, trying to come to terms with who she was. Like me, she was a bit of a late bloomer—at the beginning of the movie, she lacked the proficiency to fly on a broomstick, something that other witches her age already knew how to do with ease. She wanted, badly, to fit in and for people to accept her, but she wasn’t sure how to go about doing that. She was unsure of how to use her powers, and over the course of the film, she loses them and has to find a way to regain them.
The plot of the film is fairly simple and straightforward, but really, what makes this film a favorite of mine is how relatable the characters are. To be honest, I had forgotten much of the plot as the years went by, but watching it again this past weekend for the first time in a few years, I remember clearly why I enjoyed this film so much. I still find myself relating to Kiki, although for different reasons now than when I was fourteen. Kiki’s Delivery Service is a film that, I believe, has something to offer for everyone. Younger audiences will enjoy the fantasy elements like flying, magic, and talking cats, and older audiences will enjoy how realistically these characters are portrayed.
It isn’t often that I find a film with such real characters, and I feel that Kiki’s Delivery Service is one of those films that I will never outgrow.