Photos - Kiki's Delivery Service
Kiki's Delivery Service feels like to me like a companion piece to My Neighbor Totoro. I'm not entirely sure why this is. Most likely this is because both movies are about personal development, of discovery and exploration of a wider world. The fantasy elements - Catbus and the Totoros, flying brooms - are not the main dish, but a flavorful accessory. These are essentially Italian Neorealist films at their core.
Kiki's first steps into adolescence and adulthood, with all that entails, are honest, compelling, genuine. You can relate to her struggles, as her parental bonds are broken, as she reforges her own identity, as she begins to step away from childhood. In this sense, I guess the "magic" in the film is the magic of youth, or at least that creative inspiration that springs from youth. I really love that line that Miyazaki wrote about creativity being a form of "magic." This isn't the stale fairy tale cliche, but an actual idea you can experience in the real world.
Oh, and I really love that shot of the small girl dressed like Kiki. Nice touch.
This is a really terrific movie, marred somewhat by sloppy American dubs that try to take over the movie (both the Disney and Carl Masek dubs are over-intrusive). The color palette's emphasis on reds and purples results in a washed-out look on DVD, but I'm sure it will look far better on Blu-Ray. The illustrations in the official art book are magnificent, and there's an expressionist zeal that's missing from our old DVDs and videotapes.