Kiki's Delivery Service

Kiki's Delivery Service ★★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Suppose I replace Kiki with myself, her flying with my passion for writing, and her city with London. With these changes, I can easily see myself following the same journey as the titular character in Kiki's Delivery Service. Hayao Miyazaki does it again, bringing us a low stakes slice of life film, much like My Neighbor Totoro. But unlike that movie, this one is much more mature and complex.

The film follows the coming-of-age journey of a 13-year-old witch, as she sets out on her mandatory year of independent work and life. With no skills other than broom flying, she starts a flying delivery service to support herself and her adorable cat, Jiji.

I heard that this film was relatable for all creatives, but I wasn't sure how. Kiki's journey starts much like Chihiro's in Spirited Away. As she leaves her family to enter an unfamiliar world and adapts to the working environment, she matures too. But unlike her, Kiki isn't a spoiled brat who others need to humble. And her secondary journey isn't one of love, but of her work-life.

Ursula: "Magic and painting are a lot alike. You know, a lot of times, I just can't paint."
Kiki: "Really? When that happens, what do you do?... Before, I could fly without giving it a thought. But now, I don't know how I did it."
Ursula: "When that happens, all one can do is struggle through it. I draw and draw and keep drawing."
Kiki: "But then if I can't fly..."
Ursula: "Then I stop drawing. I take walks, look at the scenery, take naps, do nothing. Then after a while, all of a sudden, I get the urge to draw again."

Ursula's analogy makes Kiki's struggle very relatable. As I stated at the beginning of this review, I can easily see myself in her shoes. I can relate to her burnout now. But I also see myself relating to her struggle as a hard-working, independent adult in the future. It's uncomfortable to imagine my passion become a chore instead of being a fun activity.

Kiki's Delivery Service is both relatable and endearing. With friendly characters and grounded themes, I can see myself revisiting this movie in the future. Not only because of its quality but also the comfort it brings—my favourite Ghibli film, by far.

SCORE: 8/10

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