directory Hayao Miyazaki
Oh, Kiki, I love you. It’s been a while, but you’re great.
Kiki’s Delivery Service is the last of Hayao Miyazaki’s great feature films that I have come to write about here in the film diary. Over the years since 2002 when I started writing about every feature film that I watched in full, I’ve seen and written about each and every one of his films now except for Kiki.
It’s not that I haven’t seen Kiki. It’s not that I don’t really love Kiki. It’s just that somehow, over these past 12 or 13 years, I didn’t sit and watch Kiki in total.
I’m sure that I saw it in parts over that time. I regularly showed my kids Miyazaki’s films, wandering in and out, often sitting through them all. And Kiki, even before I had kids or wrote in the film diary, was a film that I bought on VHS for nieces and nephews and watched many, many a time.
This viewing came from a request by Clara, who noted that she hadn’t seen it in a long time, and as Miyazaki’s films are her personal favorite, she wanted to see “one of his big films” (seriously, her words).
Made on the heels of My Neighbor Totoro (1988), Kiki is another of Miyazaki’s most gentle and kid-friendly G-rated stories. For so many filmmakers, that might easily become a pejorative but here it’s just a point of clarity. Totoro, Kiki, and Ponyo (2009) are a wonderful, fantastical set of films that could be played for even the youngest of children. Others of his films are more complex or frightening, but these three are pure loveliness at that level of parental rating.
The story of a 13 year old witch who travels to a new village with her talking cat, Jiji (Phil Hartman) is one of those things that you might have a harder time convincing an adult to watch than a small child. Her skills yet undeveloped, she begins delivering things from a small bakery, meets a young boy enraptured by all things flight, and culminates with a dramatic rescue from a rogue dirigible.
It’s a very simple, very lovely piece of animation. Perhaps not quite as iconic as Totoro, it’s wonderful, unique, purely Miyazaki kind of film. Clara loved it. But even Felix couldn’t remember it all that well from whenever he had last seen it.
I love Miyazaki’s films, and I’ve loved sharing them with my kids. I think it’s great that they both like his movies so much. Miyazaki is for the ages.