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Kiki's Delivery Service- Hayao Miyazaki

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Kiki's Delivery Service- Hayao Miyazaki

I recently watched this movie because I had not seen any of the Miyazaki films, and was inspired to watch a Japanese animated film after the Japanese cinema session. I really enjoyed watching this movie, and had an interesting discussion about how it can be used in the classroom with my friend after the film was over.

The movie is a light-hearted animated film about a young Japanese witch who has turned 13, and must now move away from her family and live on her own in a new city. The movie follows her as she struggles to find a place to live, needs to figure out how to make money, and learns how to have confidence in her abilities. It is a coming of age story, and despite it's use of a witch as it's main character, would be very relatable for many adolescents.

My initial thought was to use the movie as a study of the struggles that immigrants face. When Kiki moves to the new city, she faces many barriers. Finding a place to live, finding a job, and making new friends. These are all realistic obstacles that people face when they relocate.

However, my friend had a different idea, and one that I think I like better. As a coming of age story, this animated film is so different than so many American movies that have similar themes. These differences can go a long way to show how the different cultures perceive adolescence and what they emphasize in their societies. For example, I think it would be interesting to compare this film with the Toy Story series. Woody is struggling to figure out who he is and find confidence in himself, just like Kiki. However, Woody has a villain to fight, an army of friends to help him, and falls in love along the way. Kiki is independent from almost the very start of the film. She makes acquaintances along the way, but she has to work on these relationships and make an effort with them. Kiki faces no enemies, other than her internal struggles to find confidence and be successful. Perhaps one of the most glaring (at least to me) differences is that Kiki does not fall in love and have a fairy tale ending.