When I first came across Kiki, the first image occurred to me was a small girl flying across the city at night. A sea of lights — but not a single one offers her a warm welcome. There’s a profound loneliness high above the city. In flying, one may no longer be confined to land, but this freedom also implies insecurity and loneliness.
The wonderful children’s book Kiki’s Delivery Service (written by Eiko Kadono) gives an affectionate depiction of the hopes and spirit of today’s girls struggling to become independent. <…> Now economic independence doen’t necessarily include spiritual independence. Nowadays spiritual poverty is a much more urgent matter than material poverty.
While her mother’s broom might give Kiki protection, her father’s radio solace, and her black cat a friendly sidesick, Kiki experiences loneliness — a yearning to connect with others. She represents every girl who is drawn to the glamour of the big city but find themselves struggling with their newfound independence — in spite of their parents’ love and financial support. Today’s girls also share Kiki’s naivete and lack of awareness.
In the original story, Kiki resolves each dilemma she encounters with resolve, and in doing so, she develops a circle of friends. For the anime, we had to alter this premise slightly. Although it is nice to see her talent bloom so gracefully, today’s city girls are much weaker and jaded in spirit. For many girls, the struggle to achieve independence is to demanding. Many of them feel like they’re treading water. We wanted to explore this issue of independence more thoroughly in the filmed version. As a result, the film has a realistic edge. The isolation and disillusionment Kiki experiences are much stronger in the film than they are in the original story.
When I first came across Kiki, the first image occurred to me was a small girl flying across the city at night. A sea of lights — but not a single one offers her a warm welcome. There’s a profound loneliness high above the city. In flying, one may no longer be confined to land, but this freedom also implies insecurity and loneliness. The heroine of our film is a girl who defines herself by flying. There have been many animation films based on "witch girls", but their magic is only a device to realize their wishes. The witch’s magic in Kiki’s Delivery Service doesn’t come so easily.
Magic in this film is a limited power no different from the talents of any average girl.
Later on, as she flies above the city, Kiki feels a strong connection to the people below, but her sense of self is much stronger than it was at the beginning. We realize that our film’s story must develop in a convincing manner in order to make the film end on this happy note.
We have no desire to dismiss the flamboyance of young girls. We only wish our viewers won’t be too spellbound by the flamboyance of youth. Ultimately, this film celebrates their struggle to become independent.