Kiki’s Delivery Service is a 1989 Toshio Suzuki-produced animated fantasy film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It is based on Eiko Kadono’s Japanese children’s book of the same name.
The main character in the book is 13-year-old girl Kiki, who has witch’s blood. She begins her new life all alone in a new town. Kiki starts a delivery service using her witch’s ability to fly with a broom in the sky.
Kiki grows up beautifully in the story. It’s a youthful and fresh fantasy. There are five fun and fascinating trivia gathered here that will help you love the film even more.
The Town By the Sea is Modelled After Stockholm
The town where Kiki lives, Koriko, is modeled after the Swedish cities of Stockholm and Visby. References to Ireland, France, and the United States (San Francisco) are also evident. But the city’s rooves and windows speak of Europe.
The film’s artists and Miyazaki traveled to Sweden during the production process to research the movie. To create the ideas for the film’s fictional city of Koriko, they took pictures of Stockholm and Visby.
Missing a Kanji Stroke
When Kiki writes her letter to her parents at the end of the movie, she mentions her friends. ‘Friends’ is 友達 in Japanese, but Kiki has skipped a stroke in the second kanji character and wrote the word 友達.
It has been claimed that the reason the crew of the film wanted to add this tiny detail to the film was to demonstrate how she is still a child and has a lot more to learn, although Kiki has evolved and matured throughout the film.
Same Person Voices Kiki and Ursula
The voice actor Minami Takayama voiced both the protagonist Kiki and the painter girl, Ursula, in the original Japanese dub. Takayama was initially picked to voice Ursula.
But there were no fitting candidates for Kiki’s voice so she wound up playing two characters. She used the two distinct voices well enough so that though you know they are played by the same person, it’s hard to tell them apart.
It Was Ghibli’s First Big Hit
Any revenue above Yen 2 billion gross is considered a success in the Japanese film industry, and this film grossed Yen 3.6 billion. Miyazaki is world-famous these days, but before this particular work, he wasn’t a global icon.
The box office figures for Miyazaki before ‘Kiki’ were Yen 1.48 billion for Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind and Yen 1.16 billion for Castle in the Sky.
My Neighbor Totoro and Grave of the Fireflies screened simultaneously, and together they made Yen 1.17 billion.
The name Miyazaki became more prominent from about the time My Neighbor Totoro was released in 1988, and he eventually had a massive hit with Kiki’s Delivery Service.
In Japan, by the way, the top one box office record is Yen 30.4 billion for Spirited Away, directed in 2001 by Miyazaki.
Cameo by Director Hayao Miyazaki
A man with glasses shows up on-screen at the end of the movie. This man is modeled after Director Miyazaki. He id in the season in which too many people are watching television when Kiki leaves for the airship to help Tombo.
Rarely did Miyazaki include his figure in his films so this was a rare treat.
Kiki’s Delivery Service is one of the most famous Studio Ghibli titles. The flying scenes are amazing, mostly because Director Miyazaki has a deep love for the sky.
Perhaps it’s time to put it on your watch list if you haven’t seen Kiki’s Delivery Service yet.