A Studio Ghibli producer shared information about “Kiki’s Delivery Service” that could help Japanese fans solve a decades-long mystery surrounding the beloved film.
“Kiki’s Delivery Service” tells the story of Kiki, a 13-year-old witch who lives with Jiji, her talking cat, in a seaside town for a year. In the film’s final act, Kiki loses her magic abilities, making her unable to fly or talk to Jiji. She eventually regains her ability to fly, but she can no longer communicate with her cat, as suggested by his “meow” in the final scene of the film’s original Japanese version.
Since the film’s release in 1989, fans have wondered what exactly happened between Kiki and her cat. The official Twitter account of Nippon TV’s “Kinyo Roadshow” helped solve the mystery last week after posting a series of behind-the-scenes information to coincide with the film’s recent rebroadcast on Japanese television.
According to one of the tweets, as translated by SoraNews24, Kiki appears to be “able to fly again but Jiji remains silent. Actually, it’s not because Kiki’s magical powers have weakened, but because Kiki has progressed to a new stage that Jiji has returned to being a ‘just a cat.’” Director Hayao Miyazaki has hinted at something similar in the past. In previous interviews, he claimed that by the end of the film, Kiki has already grown and no longer needs to communicate with Jiji.
A follow-up tweet provided new information from one of the film’s producers: “Regarding this topic, this is what producer Toshio Suzuki has to say: ‘Jiji is not just a pet, he’s another self [for Kiki]. So when she’s conversing with Jiji, she’s really just talking to herself.’”
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This is further explained in the next tweet: “Her being unable to speak with Jiji at the end means that she no longer needs her alter ego, and that she can now do well in the town of Koriko. Kiki will grow into a fine witch who can do things by herself without having to rely on the existence of Jiji.”
For the English-dubbed version of the film, Disney changed the Japanese version’s ending to show Jiji speaking to Kiki again in the final act.
“Kinyo Roadshow” shared other interesting trivia, such as details about the inspiration behind Ursula’s painting, which was based on “Niji no Ue wo Tobu Fune” (“The Ship That Flies Over the Rainbow“), a piece of artwork created by special needs students from Hachinoheshi Ritsuminato Junior High School.
According to another tweet, the girl riding a horse in Ursula’s painting does not appear in the original artwork.
Hayao Miyazaki’s cameo in the film was also mentioned: “Pay attention to the person behind the old man bragging, ‘I lent her that scrubbing brush!’ The man wearing glasses in the upper right corner of the screen… Do you think he looks like someone?”