I first watched Kiki’s Delivery Service in Year 7, in a time where the world was full of optimism. Now, rewatching in my 20s, I realise Kiki’s Delivery Service is more than meets the eye with its timeless social commentary and charm, making it a favourite amongst university students worldwide.
Kiki’s Delivery Service was once the ‘middle child’ film in the Ghibli collection, unlike the epic, sweeping plots of Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle or Spirited Away, Kiki’s Delivery Service is of an experimental time of Studio Ghibli in the 80s, reminding audiences of cultivating individuality and compassion for one’s self. Kiki’s Delivery Service follows Kiki, a teenage witch who sets off on a coming of age journey in a year away from home in a seaside town. We can relate to Kiki as she learns how to survive in the big city, saving money, eating pancakes as she learns to hone (and monetise) her craft, her ability to fly. Kiki’s Delivery Service may be sweet, but it juggles with themes of a sad underbelly of growing up, of compromising ability for the sake of fitting in or making it into jobs in an unfriendly world.
For anyone who has ever felt alone, Kiki’s Delivery Service is a warm hug with a helping of Marxist Alienation Theory. This film remains both a source of conversation and comfort in our own coming of age journeys, whether it be a seaside town or New ‘20s Auckland.