Stepping into the Workforce – Kiki’s Delivery Service


Another Ghibli film I shall talk about as I watch the entire collection of films. This one I knew about before and even saw the ending of the movie but nothing made sense since I hadn’t watched it from the beginning. Now that I have, I have many thoughts.

Kiki is a young girl who has always been excited to leave her small town to move to a big city where she can finally become a full fledged witch. It’s a rite of passage that all witches have to go through at the age of thirteen.

She encounters trouble from the get go and it isn’t what she expected at all. The city is cold and not warm like her small home town and has scarier traffic. It also has a lot more laws and less freedom.

She’s so relatable honestly. I don’t know about you but the struggle of trying to navigate the adult world, of entering the work force with skills you’re not sure how to utilise, I can relate to that.

She has talents but she’s not sure which ones will help her get a job and earn a living. She’s thrust into the adult world and at first I was like, she’s too young, she’s only thirteen! But then I thought, are you ever really ready? Is there ever a good time to be an adult? Some people are ready as soon as the government/society declares them an adult and that’s great but most of us aren’t ready at eighteen or twenty or twenty one, let alone thirteen.

However she perseveres with the help of Jiji and the lovely Osono and her husband Fukuo. Honestly we all need people like Osono and Fukuo in our lives. Imagine, they helped her knowing nothing about her because they saw she needed a job and even gave her room without charging her too much… how kind! I was so touched.

With their help she gains business for her delivery service.  She stumbles and things go wrong of course but she manages to deliver everything. However, when she delivers Madame’s present to her granddaughter (or was it grandniece) and the girl is so unappreciative, after all the effort she put in, you can see something die a little inside her.

Also she has to see kids her age having fun and living merry never having to worry about money. She can’t spend money on herself it all goes to her living expenses. Even when she has a good day with Tombo, when she lets him in, it all goes to crap when she’s confronted with those young people again.

Then she hits her slump. She’s depressed and loses her ability to fly. Her ability to fly is like the creativity most of us have, whether it be for drawing or writing or singing etc. When forced to use our skills merely to gain money that creative spirit can die a little or die completely. It takes the joy out of the activity and with the joy gone so goes the desire to do whatever it is that you do.

So again I could relate with Kiki. I especially felt bad when she could no longer talk to Jiji. Not Jiji! Why Jiji? Perhaps that was bound to happen though with that romance he had going on.

Question: by the end of the movie he still doesn’t talk… so is it permanent? She’ll never understand him again? Is it necessary so he can create more magical cats?

Another character who is a treasure is Ursula. She’s able to give Kiki a retreat from her work to recharge and to heal. She reignites Kiki’s creative spirit by simply letting her be and by sharing her talents and her gift with her.

Also Madame’s gift to Kiki, that was so heart-warming. Honestly in my head I felt like she was healed in that moment. If the movie had ended with Kiki accepting the gift and then making up with Tombo I think that would have been better than the blimp rescue.

I didn’t hate the rescue scene though. I like how she still struggled to fly and it wasn’t like she was miraculously better. Plus, the scene showed how the town had her back. However I still think it wasn’t necessary. Madame’s gift and Ursula’s retreat I felt were all she needed. Oh and to make up with Tombo. He was such a sweet lad anyway, I feel like that wouldn’t have taken much.

Note: I used to think blimps were something my mind made up. They’re real aren’t they? Whatever happened to them?

Apparently the novel the movie is adapted from by Eiko Kadono is not as dramatic and is more slice of life. I’m kind of curious to read the book.

Overall, it was a good movie and it got me thinking about all I’ve written above. The ending was rather jarring but it wasn’t terrible.

What did you think of the movie? What did you get from the plot?

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