Yesterday I decided to watch Kiki’s Delivery Service again. I had planned to do so for quite a long time, don’t know why I didn’t. Anyway, since I was (and still am) “in the mood for Healer”, I didn’t pick up any new dramas. I watched “War of the Arrows” (because of Moon Chae Won) and “Artificial Intelligent” (because of Truc) on previous days and what came next on my mind was Kiki’s Delivery Service, so I went for that.
For years on end I was really concentrating on My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away. I was trying to see why they were so popular and appreciate them for all their worth. But to be totally honest with myself, out of all Ghibli’s films, Kiki’s Delivery Service has always had a special place in my heart. I didn’t quite know why, I just knew that Kiki’s struggle was similar with mine but I didn’t give it much thought. Then I watched it again yesterday and it was crystal clear.
At the beginning of the movie, Kiki was lying on the grass looking at the sky. The wind was breezing around her. She listened to the radio and decided she wouldn’t wait anymore and start her independent journey right that day. It felt as if I was lying on the grass looking at the sky and feeling the breeze around me too. And the way she ran toward home across beautiful and bright and colorful scenery made it all feel so exhilarating.
She came home with her announcement and naturally her parents had mixed feelings. The scene when her father couldn’t fling her up to the air like before was quite touching, but it wasn’t heavy, the atmosphere was just light. Her mother came to help her dress up as a witch, and the way Kiki said “black dress, black cat” was very cute. The moment what struck me the most was this:
Kiki’s mother: It’s not really important what color your dress is. What matters is the heart inside it.
Kiki: I know that having a good heart is very important. I wish I could show you that my heart is ready.
Kiki’s mother: Just follow that heart and keep smiling.
I was like, “Oh, no wonder”…
“A good heart” – that’s something I always want to keep as a critical part of my identity. And a genuine smile from the heart, too.
The movie went on with her journey as an independent witch girl to a city by the ocean. It didn’t turn out very well with her intention of giving first good impression, luckily she met a nice person and decided to stay. “I’ve decided not to leave this town. Maybe I can find others like Osono-san who will like me and accept me for what I am.”
Her struggle with the unknown was what drew me to this story in the first place. This time, I got to dig deeper and realized she was similar with me even more than I thought, notably in three instances.
- “I think something’s wrong with me. I make friends, then suddenly I can’t bear to be with any of them. Seems like that other me, the cheerful and honest one went away somewhere.”
- “We fly with our spirit.” “The witch’s spirit? Perfect! That’s what I’m talking about. The spirit of witches. The spirit of artists. The spirit of bakers. I suppose it must be a power given by God. Sometimes you suffer for it.” “I guess I never gave witchcraft much thought. That talk about discipline and training was so old-fashioned.”
- And the fact that people’s ridicule and insensitivity, whether directed to her or not, could totally defeat her. It gave her doubts and questioned her confidence.
Her growth was like my growth, with the realization about the world, what to do to become a better person, and how to be comfortable with that.
All in all, it’s safe to say Kiki’s Delivery Service is my most favorite Ghibli film. It really speaks to me. I like everything about it, not only the message it sends. Everything – the details, the colors, the scenery, the atmosphere,… Most recent, I enjoyed When Marnie Was There, a bit further back would be The Borrower Arrietty, but let’s talk about them some other time (if I ever have enough motivation…). For now, I’ll just be in the mood of this film a bit longer. Positively, hopeful, happy.