Toon Zone Talkback - "Kiki's Delivery Service": It Must Be Witchcraft

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Ed Liu

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This is the talkback thread for "Kiki's Delivery Service": It Must Be Witchcraft.



I think Maxie nails the reasons for the vague sense of dissatisfaction I've always had with Kiki's Delivery Service. It's not that it's a BAD movie, and my niece loves it right alongside Totoro, but it is just kind of aimless.

Miyazaki doesn't have a lot to say about it in Starting Point, other than that it was meant as a movie to show the kinds of choices and life decisions he sees many young women facing in Japan (or the choices they faced when the movie was made), but I think he might have done a bit too well in capturing the sense of aimlessness and malaise that they had in the late 80's.

I do rather dislike the way the English dub makes it seem like Kiki can hear Jiji again at the end of the movie, though. It seemed like losing the ability to talk to her cat was just a mark of her coming of age, and that she was going to lose it permanently even after she re-learned how to fly. You lose some things as you grow up. It just seems so...Disney-fied to let her hear Jiji again.
 

adoptedBatpuppy

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Ed Liu,
I agree with you on the fact: when you are a kid things are different and every step you take as a kid becomes magical. When we grow up, we realize some things and take on more responsibility. We loose the ability ot think like kids and for some of us that magic is gone.

I think Kiki's Delivery Service does a good job showing a girl growing up and gaining responsiblity throughout the movie.
 

Leaping Larry Jojo

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Like Ponyo, if you're looking at the final destination rather than the details, you're simply not going to be satisfied with Kiki. Kiki is all about focusing on the little things--getting sick, baking a bread, talking to your artist friend...:p. While Kiki is weaker than Totoro at doing this, it's still a fantastic showcase of Miyazaki's talent at making the mundane seem energetic and fun and important. I'm still a bit baffled as to why Miyazaki's plot-driven films like Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke and Castle in the Sky tend to be favoured over his aimless ones, because the truth is...Miyazaki is not a very good plotter.

Trying to read any political or social context into Kiki is a futile purpose at best, really. It's a fairly lightweight, innocuous piece of work.

I pretty much love it though. As pure cinema, Kiki is first-rate.

Just a question: Does this release improve upon the video issues of the last release in any way?
 
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jph139

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Yeah, my thoughts on Kiki are pretty much the same. It's not up to par with Miyazaki's greatest - it doesn't have the great adventure of Porco Rosso, or the philosophical battles of Mononoke. And as far as light, mostly-aimless films go, it's not up to par with Totoro or Ponyo. It's a runt in the litter.

Of course, still a great movie, but definitely one of the worse ones. The pros outweigh the cons by far.
 

MagicBox

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I do rather dislike the way the English dub makes it seem like Kiki can hear Jiji again at the end of the movie, though. It seemed like losing the ability to talk to her cat was just a mark of her coming of age, and that she was going to lose it permanently even after she re-learned how to fly. You lose some things as you grow up. It just seems so...Disney-fied to let her hear Jiji again.
Fear not, then. According to Ultimate Disney's review of the new DVD, not only have the original Japanese vocal songs been re-inserted into the English dub (with the corresponding English pop songs removed, of course), but Jiji's line at the end of the film has apparently been removed as well.

Scroll down to the "Video & Audio (And English Version Changes)" section of the review for info.
 

Maxie Zeus

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Thanks for that note! I wasn't aware of this issue, and I did not watch the re-release twice for each language, so I wouldn't have caught it even if I had been.

(I watched it in English for about the first third, then switched to the Japanese track. Toward the end, I switched back and forth a few times between the two. I would have watched it all the way thru in English--I don't feel I'm qualified to judge a foreign VA's performance--but Hartman (sadly, since I really do like him) got all over my nerves very quickly.)
 

Lelouch

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Eh, say what you will about the added line but I liked that it gave a happier ending. Sure, it isn't as realistic, but I honestly I wanted a happy ending for her. I agree that the movie is pretty aimless, and definitely not Mononoke or Spirited Away, but it is a fun ride.
 

FightingDreamer

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I have to disagree about the dub-I thought Phil Hartman was great, Kirsten Dunst made for an appealing Kiki, and a lot of pro VAs get to strut their stuff, like Jeff Bennett and Kath Soucie as Kiki's parents or Tress MacNeille's wonderfully warm Osono. And while I suppose your criticisms are on point, I can't help but smile every time I watch this movie.

Still, good review, Maxie.
 

King

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Fear not, then. According to Ultimate Disney's review of the new DVD, not only have the original Japanese vocal songs been re-inserted into the English dub (with the corresponding English pop songs removed, of course), but Jiji's line at the end of the film has apparently been removed as well.

Scroll down to the "Video & Audio (And English Version Changes)" section of the review for info.
I kinda like that little pop song that diseny put in, but I don't mind hearing the JP one.
 

Rick Jones

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I don't know if it's because I saw this first but I tend to prefer it to Totoro. I'd seen both Mononoke and Howl's before, and enjoyed them, but Ghibli's wider library was still undiscovered territory for me probably due to running across box covers at local video stores for stuff like Totoro and Grave Of The Fireflies and thinking they either looked cutesy pie or utterly depressing. Stumbling across this movie and enjoying it as much as I did, led me to binge out on all of the other Ghibli work I could get my hands on. Since it was my true gateway, I think that I hold it in a special regard.
 

GWOtaku

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Man, I'm not sure how I feel about the Japanese songs coming back. That sounds great, but I remember the movie with the English songs in it. I vividly remember the one at the end. I'm rather worried I'll miss it; it's too bad they didn't stay as extras or something.

Anyhow, Kiki is like a ray of sunshine. It's simple but not mundane, it's a warm, comforting thing that you'll want to soak in. It's a nearly perfect slice-of-life title. It reigns as all-ages family entertainment, certainly.

It's been too long since I've seen it, I just remember being wowed by it on TV way back (this is waaaay back, before I had really discovered anime). I'm pretty much with Larry on this one, though Ponyo is admittedly better if you want a visual spectacle.

Gah. I need to hurry and watch Totoro.
 

SpaceCowboy

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I'm a bit surprised that Disney made these changes to the dub for the new release. The dialog edit of Jiji was a good decision, IMO.

Kind of strange that they would just drop the Sidney Forest songs completely. Maybe it had something to do with rights? I can't complain though. The Japanese songs are just as good.
 

Classic Speedy

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Kiki was actually the first Ghibli property I ever saw. Yes, even before Mononoke or Spirited Away, which seems to be most people's gateways.

Anyway, I enjoyed it. The laid-back, slice-of-life, almost episodic nature was different than I had seen from most animated movies, yet it didn't feel boring because of this. And the European-style towns and music really pulls you into its world. I also liked the themes of growing up and confidence in one's abilities, and what that meant to Kiki as a witch.

Oh and speaking of witches, what a refreshing change of pace that it actually looked at witches in a positive light. Probably why I took to Karin's positive look at vampires, too.
 

Mario500

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I first heard of the movie during the previews at the beginning of the videotape for "The Spirit of Mickey", which was released on my birthday in 1998 and was given to me as a gift. I never saw either version of the entire movie until 2007, when WGN-TV's national feed had the English-language version on an early Sunday morning. I thought the movie had nice artwork and decided to stay tuned. After the move ended, the word "nice" would always come to mind when thinking about this movie.

Later in the day, WGN-TV re-aired the movie on the national feed and I had my VHS tape ready to record. I got to see the entire movie this time, but unfortunately the credits were squeezed for program promotions. I later recorded the movie again one early Sunday morning on the same VHS tape and on the same TV channel. I wouldn't mind recording it once more if Turner Classic Movies airs it free of TV ratings, logos on the picture, and commercial breaks.

I found nothing wrong about the movie and I don't want to compare it to any other movie associated with its director. I did not mind the choice of music or lines added to the English version, even after learning no such things existed in the original version. For folks who first knew and loved the movie after seeing the English version from 1998 on VHS tape, the DVD released in 2003, or on TV, it would have been great to keep that version on the newer DVD in addition to the original version, which I'm interested in seeing someday.

If someone were to ask what my favorite movies are, my answer would include this one along with "The Sword in the Stone" and "Paulie", as I always feel positive after seeing these movies. It's interesting that all three movies feature intelligent talking non-anthropomorphic animals and I'm not one who speaks very much and two of the movies ("Paulie" and "Kiki's Delivery Service", the version from 1998) have endings that are encouraging to quiet folks like me.
 
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soundmonkey44

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Watched Kiki yesterday...have to say, I still think its one of the funnest myazaki movies, is it the best, well no...but its a really good film IMPO, the artwork & backgrounds are amazing and the voices in both English & Japanese are spot on IMPO.

I will ask this though...did anyone else have problems, with the audio on the Kiki DVD...there were spots in the english dub Where Kiki's voice sounded a little to digitized. but then again, that may just have been a problem with my TV or DVD player, not the DVD itself. but yea, just wondering.

but yea, its a fun movie, great art & an overall enjoyable experience.:anime:
 

SpaceCowboy

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I may just pick up this new release, because it seems that unlike the older DVD you can switch languages and subs on the fly. My player often had problems getting the "literal subtitles" to come on with the older disc when selecting it from the menu, due to the weird authoring on that release.

Wish that Disney could have done a new subtitle translation though. Kiki isn't drinking hot cocoa in the Japanese version.:p
 

Light Lucario

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Kiki was the first Miyazaki film. It must have been on either Cartoon Network or the Disney Channel, but I can't remember which one or when. I kind of agree with the review. Compared to his other movies, Kiki would be mediocre, but it's still a good movie at the same time. It's more along the lines of being a slice-of-life/family movie, instead of something like Mononoke.

Even though I haven't watched it in ages, I remember feeling that it was an enjoyable film. The artwork, especially for the background, was great and most of the characters were interesting to me. In all honesty, I thought that Kiki did a better job with making average day kind of events more interesting than the majority of Totoro did.

I didn't know that they gave Jiji that line at the end of the movie though. While I understand that it does show that Kiki was growing up and thus lost some of the magic of being a kid, I would have been sad if she couldn't talk to Jiji after getting her powers back. It probably also helps that I thought that not hearing Jiji was also connected to her powers or that was just never explained to me clearly enough. Still, it's a nice movie to just relax to.
 

Roman Legion

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Kiki's Delivery Service wasn't my first exposure to Miyazaki, an honor which belongs to Totoro's dub. Kiki may not have even been the second, a spot that I believe goes to Princess Mononoke. Whether Kiki was the second or third Miyazaki film I encountered, it became the standard I've judged everything else against. I think of it as Miyazaki distilled.

As much as anyone might appreciate complex entertainment, there's something to be said for well-crafted simplicity. If you compare Miyazaki's other works to grand, innovative orchestrations, then Kiki is something like a lullaby. It is refined down to a brief melody which is then repeated with subtle, intuitive variation. That's all it needs to be.

--Romey
 

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