Review: Kiki’s Delivery Service [1989]

Kiki's Delivery ServiceJapanese Title: Majo no Takkyūbin
Release date: July 29, 1989
Running time: 103 minutes
Written by: Hayao Miyazaki (original script)
Based on the book by: Eiko Kadono
Music by: Joe Hisaishi

The Voice Actors:
Kirsten Dunst/Minami Takayama: Kiki
Janeane Garofalo/Minami Takayama: Ursula
Phil Hartman/Rei Sakuma: Jiji
Matthew Lawrence/Kappei Yamaguchi: Tombo
Tress MacNeille/Keiko Toda: Osono

Plot Summary: (from animenewsnetwork)

When an apprentice witch turns thirteen, she must leave her home in order to hone her craft. Although Kiki’s sole talent is broom-flying, she sets out for adventure with her cat Jiji. They settle in a charming seaside town, where Kiki establishes her own delivery service. As Kiki learns to balance independence with responsibility, her kind heart wins her many new friends in this coming-of-age tale.

******Differences Between the English and Japanese Versions******

Although the plot and much of the script was left intact, Disney’s English dub of Kiki’s Delivery Service contains some changes. There were occasional additions and embellishments to the musical score overlaying some of the previously silent sequences. Most of the extra pieces of music (provided by Paul Chihara) ranged from soft piano music to a string-plucked renditions of Edvard Grieg’s In the Hall of the Mountain King. In addition, the replacement of the original opening and ending theme songs. The new songs, “Soaring” and “I’m Gonna Fly” were written and performed by Sydney Forest.

In terms of plot, the character of the cat Jiji has changed slightly. The Japanese version had Jiji speak in a more female-sounding voice, which is how the Japanese depict cats in their media. The American version had Jiji as a more distinct male voice — possibly for fear audiences would think him female, until “she” showed interest in the white Persian cat next door — and gave him more of a wisecracking exterior. In the Japanese version, Jiji loses his ability to communicate with Kiki but in the American version, an extra line is included that implies he is able to speak (or she to understand him) again.

More minor changes to appeal to the different demographics include Kiki drinking hot chocolate instead of coffee, and a line about disco is changed instead to about ‘cute boys’. All changes were approved by Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli. (Accessed Through: wikipedia)

I Say…
Talk about girl power! I really like Kiki! She rocks! Although she kind of reminds me about Nan (Little Women II’s Anne Harding) and Chihiro from Spirited Away. I think the movie makes sense. Everytime you think that you’re alone… there’s always someone or some people who couldn’t just turn you down. You just need to be a believer. The end was OK, it wasn’t too abrupt or short, neither was it boring. I really like the story. I think I’m going to check out the Japanese dubbed to be able to check out the differences. My liking for KDS is next to liking Whispers of the Heart. If not for the flying, it’d be a little more realistic in terms of the emotions humans feel. It’s all about independence, being young-spirited and cheerful no matter what you are facing. It such a feel good movie.

It’s Kirsten Dunst and Matthew Lawrence for the Disney dubbed! I was so happy to have read that fact! I have such a huge crush on Matthew Lawrence when I was 10 years old. (Those were the Super Human Samurai days of my life.)

Do check this movie out, it’s fun!

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