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Kiki's Delivery Service (魔女の宅急便, Majo no Takkyūbin, "Witch's Delivery Service") is a 1989 Japanese animated fantasy film produced, written, and directed by Hayao Miyazaki . It was animated by Studio Ghibli for Tokuma Shoten, Yamato Transport and the Nippon Television Network and distributed by the Toei Company. The film is based on the book of the same name.

Plot

It is traditional for 13-year-old witches to leave home for a year on the night of a full moon to pursue their skill through training. Thirteen-year-old trainee witch Kiki leaves home with her familiar spirit, a talking black cat named Jiji. She flies on her broomstick to the port city of Koriko. While trying to find somewhere to live, Kiki is pursued by Tombo Kopoli, a geeky boy obsessed with aviation who admires her flying ability.

In exchange for accommodation, Kiki helps Osono, the kindly and heavily pregnant owner of a bakery. She opens a "Witch Delivery Business", delivering goods by broomstick. Her first delivery goes badly; she is caught in wind and loses the black cat toy she is supposed to deliver. Jiji pretends to be the toy until Kiki can retrieve the real item. She finds it in the home of a young painter, Ursula, who repairs and returns it to Kiki so she can complete the delivery and rescue Jiji.

Kiki accepts a party invitation from Tombo, but is delayed by her work and, exhausted, falls ill. When she recovers, Osono clandestinely arranges for Kiki to see Tombo again by assigning her a delivery addressed to him. After Kiki apologizes for missing the party, Tombo takes her for a test ride on the flying machine he is working on fashioned from a bicycle. Kiki warms to Tombo but is intimidated by his friends, and walks home.

Kiki becomes depressed and discovers she can no longer understand Jiji, who has befriended a pretty white cat. She has also lost her flying ability and is forced to suspend her delivery business. Kiki has a surprise visit from Ursula, 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 regain her powers.

While Kiki is visiting a customer, she witnesses an airship accident on television which leaves Tombo hanging from one of the drifting vessel's mooring lines. Kiki regains her flying power and manages to rescue him. She regains her confidence, can understand Jiji again, resumes her delivery service, and writes a letter home saying that she and Jiji are happy.

Voice Cast

Character Japanese voice actor Streamline Dub (1990) Disney Dub (1998)
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 Koichi Yamadera Greg Snegoff Brad Garrett (uncredited)
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
Madame's Granddaughter Keiko Kagimoto Sherry Lynn
Ket Yuriko Fuchizaki Lara Cody Pamela Adlon
Maki (Ket's aunt) Kikuko Inoue Julia Fletcher
Ket's Mother Mika Doi Diane Michelle
Miss Dora Sho Saito Fay Dewitt
Policeman Koichi Yamadera Steve Kramer Matt K. Miller
Radio Announcer Carl Macek Corey Burton
Clock Tower Caretaker Tomomichi Nishimura Greg Snegoff Lewis Arquette

Additional Voices

Uncredited

Credit

Production

In 1987, Group Fudosha asked Kadono's publishers for the rights to adapt Kadono'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 of producer while the studio continued to search for a director.[1]

Near the end of Totoros 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 the Totoro film before. 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.[2] Since the novel was based in a fictional country in northern Europe, Miyazaki and the senior staff went to research landscapes and other elements of the setting. Their main stops were Stockholm and Visby at the Swedish island Gotland.[3] 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.[4]

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 Studio 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.[5]

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.[4] 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.[6]

Takkyūbin (宅急便) in the Japanese film title is a trademark of Yamato Transport. The company not only approved the use of its trademark, though its permission was not required under Japanese trademark laws,[7] The name of the bakery is a pun on panya (Japanese for bakery, lit. bread shop) and Guchokipa, an alternate name for Jankenpon, or Rock, Paper, Scissors in English.[8]

Easter Eggs

Ghibli

Kikis kleiner Lieferservice - Ghibli

Just for a short time a bus pass by with Ghibli written on it.

Hayao

Kiki-hayao

Hayao ist oben rechts

Kiki saves Tombo, which is broadcasted on TV. Next to the TV stands a man, who looks like Hayao Miyazaki.

Totoro

Kiki-totoro-easter-egg

Kleiner Totoro und Mei

Kiki owns a Totoro plush. Another small Totoro is found next to a girl in Koriko.

In the book shelf there is Totoro and Mei sitting in a toy house.

Release

See Kiki's Delivery Service/Release

It is the fifth Studio Ghibli 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.

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, who voiced Satuski in the Streamline Dub of My Neighbor Totoro. 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.[9] The dub is dedicated to his memory.

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. 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 DVD was released on August 16, 2005 alongside the releases of Spirited Away and Castle in the Sky. It was again reissued in March 2010 along with My Neighbor Totoro and Castle in the Sky as a tribute to the home release of Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea. This version of this 2010 release was slightly edited to match the original Japanese version, removing some of Hartman's ad-libbed lines and replacing Sydney Forest's opening and ending songs with the original Japanese songs.

2 years later, on 1 July 2013, StudioCanal released a Blu-ray, followed by a Grave of the Fireflies release except in that same format, only in the United Kingdom. Disney released Kiki's Delivery Service on blu-ray on November 18, 2014. GKIDS re-issued the film on Blu-ray & DVD on October 17, 2017.

Differences between versions

Disney's English dub of Kiki's Delivery Service contained some changes, which have been described as "pragmatic".[10] The changes were approved by Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli.

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 Griegmusical's In the Hall of the Mountain King.[11] The original Japanese opening theme is Message of Rouge, and the ending theme is Yasashisa ni Tsutsumareta, 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 dub 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.[12] Miyazaki said that Jiji is the immature side of Kiki,[13] 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".[14]

However, as outlined in the Release notes section above, the 2010 English release is once again quite different; many elements have reverted more towards the original Japanese version. For example, JiJi once again does not talk at the very end, and many of the sound effects added to the "traditional" English version have been removed.

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.[15]

In Spain, Kiki was renamed "Nicky" because in Castilian language 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.

Manga

A manga book series using stills from the film was published in Japan by Tokuma Shoten. An English translation was published in 2006 by VIZ Media, in 4 volumes.

Musical

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.

Reception

Kiki's Delivery Service premiered on July 29, 1989 in Japanese theaters. The total distribution receipts were 2,170,000,000 Yen (US$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.

Buena Vista Home Video's VHS release became the 8th-most-rented title at Blockbuster stores during its first week of availability. This video release also sold over a million copies.

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 1989. 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 has a score of 97% based on 29 reviews with an average rating of 7.8/10, the website's consensus reads, "Kiki's Delivery Service is a heartwarming, gorgeously-rendered tale of a young witch discovering her place in the world." The conservative Christian group Concerned Women for America boycotted Kiki's Delivery Service screenings and released a press release on February 5, 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".

Accolades

Year Award Category Result Recipient
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

Bibliography

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 (2009), "Kiki's Delivery Service (Majo no Takkyūbin) (1989)", Studio Ghibli the Films of Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata., Harpenden: Oldcastle Books, ISBN 184243358X

Yamanaka, Hiroshi (2008), "The Utopian 'Power to Live': The Significance of the Miyazaki Phenomenon", in Mark Wheeler Macwilliams, Japanese Visual Culture: Explorations in the World of MangHa and Anime, M.E. Sharpe, p. 245, ISBN 0765633086

Poll

There are two version of English dub. The first one released in 1990, where Kiki understands Jiji at the end of the movie. The songs are "Soaring" and "I'm Gonna Fly", written and performed for the English dub by Sydney Forest.

In 2010 the movie get its second release. In that version Kiki doesn't understand Jiji like in the Japanese original version. The opening song is "Message of Rouge" (ルージュの伝言 Rūju no Dengon?, ), and the ending song is "Wrapped in Kindness" (やさしさに包まれたなら Yasashisa ni Tsutsumareta nara?), both performed by Yumi Matsutoya (credited as Yumi Arai).

What English dub of Kiki's Delivery Service did you like better?
 
40
 
5
 

The poll was created at 16:45 on December 10, 2017, and so far 45 people voted.

External links

Official sites

News

Reviews

Encyclopedia

References

  1. My Neighbor Totoro Frequently Asked Questions., Nausicaa.net, Retrieved on 2007-01-05.
  2. 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. Retrieved on 2007-01-05.
  3. La forêt des Oomus Kiki, la petite sorcière Koriko. (French)
  4. 4.0 4.1 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. Retrieved on 2007-01-02.
  5. Nausicaa.net's FAQ on Kiki's Delivery Service Retrieved on 2007-04-21.
  6. 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. Retrieved on 2007-01-05.
  7. http://www.iip.or.jp/e/translation/ono/index.html
  8. 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.
  9. RevolutionSF Kiki's Delivery Service Reviewed by Kevin Pezzano April 27, 2003. Retrieved on 2007-01-05.
  10. A Comparative Analysis Of Requests in Majo no Takkyūbin and Kiki's Delivery Service
  11. Otaku World Reviews: Kiki's Delivery Service from Disney Reviewed by Jennifer Diane Reitz. Retrieved on 2007-01-02.
  12. 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.
  13. The Art of Kiki's Delivery Service: A Film by Hayao Miyazaki, Part Two, Art Of Animated Film, Page 45. VIZ Media LLC; 1 edition (2006-05-09) ISBN 1-4215-0593-2. Retrieved on 2007-02-11.
  14. Original Japanese script at [1]. Line in Japan is "But there'll be a disco there, won't there?" This line is not present in the English dub. Retrieved on 2007-01-03.
  15. Nausicaa.net Kiki's Delivery Service FAQ Q: Is there an English subtitled version of "Kiki"? Retrieved on 2007-03-04