I remember when I was a kid, I made sure that I got up early in the morning on Sundays, so as not to miss my favorite cartoon series. From Unyil, to Dash Yonkuro, to everlasting Doraemon, and the short-lived Asari-Chan, although this came out on Saturdays during the time when I had just started studying here.
Somehow there was this inexplicable nature of seeing a cartoon on Sunday morning, it could be the feeling of a holiday that results in a jolly feeling during and after watching the cartoons, knowing that my 1-2 hour sitting in front of a television was not a waste, and I found myself recharged with energy to do any activities afterwards.
I could not be more glad to revisit the worth taking experience again earlier this morning, when I decided to watch Kiki’s Delivery Service, one of Hayao Miyazaki’s stellar works that made him a living legend.
Such a praise never seems overrated though, for Miyazaki has been known for his heartfelt storyline without being weepy, and Kiki is no exception on this department. But if you look for otherworldly fantasy with larger-than-life characters, you are bound to disappoint.
This is what I was surprised at. Having been familiar with his works such as “Spirited Away” or “Princess Mononoke”, I expected some monsters to eat Kiki alive or turned her parents into pigs. Yet, Kiki’s greatest enemy, if only there’s any literally, is a group of crows who still act and behave like, appropriately, crows themselves. The only exception perhaps Jiji, her talking cat, but then, aren’t all the commonly-perceived witches equipped with one?
There you go, even without defying convention by twisting Kiki into some complicated or complex characterization, we still get hooked following the story of Kiki, a young witch who at the tender age of 13, must start living independently to sharpen her skill as a witch. The journey never fails to amaze us as Kiki, the witch, turns out to be an ordinary girl who starts getting a grip of her life while seeking for her truest identity.
Feminists who complain how recent films seem to deter from portraying good female characters might find solace on the film, as such a rarity to find any films, be them animated or not, to have a strong character of woman carry the whole film throughout. It is definitely another Miyazaki’s element which has been persistently reserved in most of his works, and knowing that the film was made in 1989, anti-Hollywood film critics may quick to point out that the film is ahead of its time.
Children will love having Kiki as their sister or friend, or simply daydreaming to be one, to be able flying around with a broom and a talking animal as their faithful companion, thus starting to get the film’s merchandise, and thankfully, it was given a lesser treatment in business-minded Disney, despite handling the film’s international distribution.
For me, I simply have a good time watching Kiki’s journey to be able to know what she wants to do with her life, how to live on her own terms, and be responsible for it. Too much? I don’t complain on having my Sunday ruined, right?! 😉