Kiki’s Delivery Service is hands down my favourite animated film. It took me a moment to figure out why it stuck with me so much as a kid and I think I’ve finally narrowed it down.
Besides the fact that I was obsessed with magic and witches as a kid, Kiki presented herself as a character who was the most relatable to me. No matter how much I wanted it to happen, I never got magic powers or a letter to Hogwarts.
A girl can dream.
However Kiki, at her core, is simply a young girl trying to figure out who she is. She’s kind, bubbly and perhaps a little brash sometimes. She’s independent and headstrong yet still very much insecure and full of self doubt. When you remind yourself that she’s a thirteen year old girl being sent off into the world to grow independently, it’s a pretty wild concept. If that was me and even if I were a witch, I’d be scared out of my mind. Kiki, on the other hand, is ready for the challenge and actually been dreaming of this moment.
Okay, Kiki. Your naïveté is showing but bless your little heart.
The fact that there was no big bad villain in this film was something completely different to me. Every movie always had a big bad who was very blatantly shown so when nobody besides that one snooty little witch presented themselves, you could colour me confused on my first watching.
The film is Kiki vs herself. She’s her own villain as soon as her insecurities begin to plague her. We all have moments where we lose our way. In small ways and in huge ways. It’s how we get out of these funks that defines us. As a kid, that was such a monumental message to me. The fact that I had control of my own destiny. Your own power lies within you and you alone. Whereas the films I watched previous always usually circulated around a young girl being saved or some fun yet unrealistic villain screwing around with the main characters’ lives. The idea that you are equally your own hero and enemy is such a big concept to grasp as a child but it always stuck with me.
But also…Jiji is the best. Obviously.