by Aly Runke, contributing writer
Hayao Miyazaki is an acclaimed filmmaker and many love his animated movies; Kiki’s Delivery Service being one of them. I personally grew up on Kiki. Now Kiki is coming to the silver screen once again, this time as a live action feature. Kiki’s Delivery Service was originally a children’s novel by Eiko Kadono, which Miyazaki based his film upon.
The live action film will reflect Miyazaki’s storytelling as well as that of the original work. The movie hit Japanese theaters on March 1, 2014. The reviews have been mixed. The live action adaptation has a few variances from the animated feature, including more Japanese influence in the setting of the movie, whereas Miyazaki’s settings were western. The character Ursula, Kiki’s artist friend, is also nowhere to be found. Other criticisms include the less-than-impressive CGI work used to create Kiki’s loyal sidekick and cat, Jiji.
Though the movie is definitely different, it has been claimed that director Takashi Shimizu ended up doing a great job. Shimizu is also widely known for directing the original Grudge films. Not surprisingly, the horror film director, while not delving too deep, does bring a bit more gravity to his rendition of Kiki’s tale.
The movie’s opening in Japan was very popular, with the movie being shown in over 218 theaters. The new movie has also inspired new Kiki-themed merchandise to come to the Japanese consumer market. There are even Kiki costumes in the style of that worn by Kiki’s actress, Fuka Koshiba. Various blogs have posted Kiki-related snack recipes, and iconic characters such as Hello Kitty have also jumped on the Kiki Live Action bandwagon. This leaves open the question of whether Studio Ghibli will sell the rights for other Miyazaki classics to be made into live action adaptations, and whether such adaptations are truly welcome. As of yet there is no word on an American release date or whether the movie will be dubbed.
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