Entering a New World: Kiki’s Delivery Service

Different movie brings different feelings. Some movies even take us to another level, which after you watch it, you started to relate it to your life and contemplate it profoundly. To me, this is that kind of movie.

*This article may contain mild spoilers*

Flying high with a broom

While My Neighbors Totoro (1988) focused on childhood and the magic of remaining a child even in the toughest of circumstances, Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989) was a level up. It tells us a story about growing up and entering a new world called maturity. It is still Hayao Miyazaki’s work, so Kiki’s world is also full with beautiful imagination yet depicted in a tender emotion.

The movie opens with a young witch named Kiki, who is going to leave his family to become a better witch. This is a common thing for witches, at least in her world. After the hasta la vista moment , Kiki managed to move into a new city with her cat using a broom given by her mother. In that new city, she then met a baker. Because she could fly with a broom, Kiki helped the Gutiokipanja bakery running their delivery service. Of course it is not a smooth sailing, the movie revolves around Kiki’s effort to settle in this new city.

I am a big fan of Ghibli movies. The subliminal messages of each movies always left me wondering on how beautiful an anime can be, moreover, how beautiful our live is. Apologies for my exaggeration, but I can reflect many things from Kiki’s journey. Let me explain why this movie is definitely one of my favorite from Ghibli collections.

Finding passion

Every witch has a special talent. For example, Kiki’s mother is a great chemist. On her way to the new city, Kiki met another witch who happened to have a talent in fortune-telling. “Whoaaaa!”, Kiki’s response summed up her insecurity. When Kiki was asked about her talent, she bluntly answered, “I haven’t made up my mind yet.’

Well, it is similar to our world, isn’t it? I truly believe that each one of us is equipped with special skill(s).

It’s intriguing to see others work on their talents, while we spend so much effort just to find it.

Finding passion is a journey.

We just have to believe that we are meant for something big. One step to identify that -like what Kiki does- is to give everything that we have for others. When Kiki helped Osono, the bakery owner, it opened so many doors for her. It gave her a place to live, a business to run, moreover, a sense of purpose. We are meant for others.

Facing the world as a misfit

It can be seen blatantly that Kiki does not fit in this new city. She barely made a conversation with Tombo the first time she arrived. She has already asked the question before even arrived in the city,”Is it really hard to get settled into a place you have never been?” Tough question, isn’t it?

Kiki surely also has a problem in confidence. Everybody says she is cool, but she can always spot negative things in her life, whether it is about her dress, personality, anything!

But it is very heartwarming to see this scene below on the movie credit :

From an outcast to a trendsetter

Don’t underestimate yourself!

Often times, others can see more of us than ourselves. We need that kind of people, people constantly remind us of what we are capable of. I am very grateful that I have those kind of people. When I doubt about myself, this people got my back and keep support me.

I also learn that it is ok to be different. We do not need people to shape us, we can be who we want to be. It is very overwhelming to force fit ourselves every time we want to enter a new social circle.

Just be genuine, just be yourself.

Encountering struggles

Even though we already found our passion or strength, that is only the beginning. Along the way, we have to encounter struggles. It will surely happen. But it is not the struggle that we need to be prepared for, it is the way we respond to it. Take a look at this dialogue between Ursula and Kiki.

Ursula: When I was your age, I’d already decided to become an artist. I loved to paint so much… I’d paint all day until I fell asleep right at my easel. And then one day, for some reason, I just couldn’t paint anymore. I tried and tried, but nothing I did seemed any good… They were copies of paintings I’d seen somewhere before, and not very good copies either. I just felt like I lost my ability.

Kiki: That sounds like me!

Ursula: It’s exactly the same. But then I found the answer. You see, I hadn’t figured out what or why I wanted to paint. I had to discover my own style. When you fly, you rely on what’s inside of you, don’t you?

Kiki: Uh-huh. We fly with our spirit.

Ursula: Trusting your spirit, yeah, yes! That’s exactly what I’m talking about. That same spirit is what makes me paint, and makes your friend bake. But we each need to find our own inspiration, Kiki. Sometimes it’s not easy.

Kiki: I guess I never gave much thought to why I wanted to do this. I got so caught up in all the training and stuff. Maybe I have to find my own inspiration. But am I ever going to find it? And is it worth all the trouble?

Ursula: Well, for example, there were quite a few times when I thought of painting something over that painting.

Ursula’s Painting

Kiki: But it ended up being so great!

Ursula: So I guess it’s worth it.


I really love music. I play many musical instruments and musical genre to express myself. But I also experience what Kiki was trying to say, bumped into a big wall. Although I have played piano since my childhood, sometimes, I feel like I don’t know how to play it, what song to play, and even worse, why I play it.

We just need to trust our Spirit. It will guide us through the adversities. We just have to try it again. Once more. If that is not enough, then give it another try, another “once more”. Until we find ourselves back in tune.

A movie about life

Although I am not sure if Kiki’s Delivery Service will still be my favorite Miyazaki as I continue to grow older, but it will always hold a special place in my heart. The movie reflects my thought on growing up and also resembles my youth. It’s about growing up, gaining independence, and finding friendship and love. It’s about doubt, experience and determination. It is a delightful movie but also contains a very deep message. It has everything I love about Studio Ghibli.

Best Things in Life

Joy and gratefulness are intertwined. We often feel grateful after we got the joy of something that we are longing for. On the contrary, I learn that joy is actually the product of being grateful. But ‘being grateful’ is not as easy as it sounds, especially in challenging situations. So, what makes being grateful is very hard?

Measuring. Or I may say, quantifying things.

If we are going to quantify everything in our life, then it is reasonably very hard for us to see the wonderful side of it. I personally believe that the best things in life are free but intangibles.

Few examples of my “best things” in my life :

  • Laugh with friends for cheesy jokes
  • Holding hands with my loved one
  • Support from my family when in trouble
  • Sense of hope and purpose
  • Singing songs that I really like while playing piano or guitar
  • And many other small things…

There is this quote by John Kramer, from a movie called Saw II :

But most people have the luxury of not knowing when that clock’s going to go off. And the irony of it is that that keeps them from really living their life. It keeps them drinking that glass of water but never really tasting it.

I really hope you can savor every little thing and cherish every single moment in your life!