A dose of imaginative cinematic comfort that’ll warm the cockles of your heart
“You’d think they’d never seen a girl and a cat on a broom before.”
Well ain’t this the darned cutest thing ever made. A coming of age/superhero origin tale in the delicate hands of Hayao Miyazaki. This one’s for anyone who’s ever felt inadequate, shy, out of place, or indeed homesick. I wish I’d seen this before moving to London for uni a few years back – there’s something so wonderfully reassuring about this spirited little gem. It’s an imaginative adventure brought to life through beautiful animation, and a dose of cinematic comfort that’ll no doubt warm the cockles of your heart.
In the pantheon of great Ghibli protagonists (that I’ve seen, at least), Kiki might be the most likeable one yet. She can be as courageous as Nausicaä and as special as Sheeta, but (in spite of her aerial prowess) she’s also delightfully down-to-earth. She’s out of her depth and often makes mistakes, but that never deters her – it merely strengthens her resolve. Hollywood’s lack of opportunities for three dimensional heroines feels even more concerning when you realise Studio Ghibli have been putting them front and centre for the last thirty years.
Kiki is surrounded by an equally endearing ensemble of supporting figures, all of whom add to the her character’s development in diverse ways. Much like its predecessor, My Neighbour Totoro, the film requires no real antagonistic figure to generate stakes. It does so naturally, utilising the right amount of Miyazaki’s various sensibilities to set-up a thrilling airborne finale. The legendary filmmaker channels his passion for aviation in unique fashion here, veering away from the likes of Nausicaä & Castle In The Sky by tying it to Kiki’s supernatural abilities. It’s a nice touch. There’s something awfully poetic about a witch revelling in the beautiful magic of flight.
I had been a little hesitant about Miyazaki’s genius after watching his first three efforts (Nausicaä being the only one I truly loved), but after the one-two punch of Totoro & Kiki, I’m positive he can do no wrong.