But it’s not Hayao Miyazaki’s studio providing the magic for this look at Kiki’s life four years after her movie ends.
By the end of the classic Studio Ghibli anime Kiki’s Deliver Service, the titular witch protagonist has had quite an adventure. She’s moved to a new town, struggled with the temporary loss of her magical powers and ensuing identity crises, helped avert tragedy by flying to the rescue during a potential air travel tragedy, and formed some significant personal relationships.
But while that might seem like the perfect spot to roll credits on the film, Kiki herself is only 13 years old at the conclusion of the Hayao Miyazaki-directed film. She’s got a lot of important, emotional moments left in her teens, let alone her life, which brings us to a gorgeous animated short that takes a look at what Kiki is up to at the age of 17.
In contrast to the early 20th century European vibe of the Kiki anime, the video shifts the setting to present-day Japan, and while Kiki still sports her signature ribbon, she’s swapped her jet black witch’s dress for a schoolgirl uniform and other more contemporary fashions.
Also appearing in the video is Kiki’s inventor pal Tombo, who’s looking a bit more stylish and handsome than when we last saw him.
▼ Whereas the Ghibli Tombo was trying to create his own old-timey bicycle-powered flying machine, this one is into drones, in keeping with the modern setting.
While it’s a little startling to see Kiki and Tombo drawn by someone other than frequent Studio Ghibli character designer Katsuya Kondo, Kiki’s Delivery Service didn’t start out as a Ghibli property. The original novels, from author Eiko Kadano, have their own non-Kondo artwork, and the 17-year-old designs, from manga illustrator Eisaku Kubonouchi, look fantastic.
Their sharper angles impart a dramatic maturity and emotional weight to the fast-paced look at a year in the life of the teens, as Kiki and Tombo study, snack, and even attend a Halloween celebration together.
If the name Eisaku Kubonouchi sounds familiar, we recently took a look at some other artwork from him as part of a collaborative effort with vice actress Megumi Hayashibara and rock band Bump of Chicken for Cup Noodles maker Nissin’s Hungry Days ad campaign, which has “youth” as its theme. The new Kiki video is also part of the series, and once again features Bump of Chicken’s new song “Kinen Satsuei” (“Commemorative Photo”). While Hayashibara isn’t involved this time, Kiki is voiced by actress Minami Hamabe, who’s appeared in live-action adaptations of the Anohana and Saki. Tombo, meanwhile, is played by Yuki Kaji, best known as the voice of main character Eren in Attack on Titan.
As for the video’s story, things get kicked into high gear after Kiki notices another girl at school has a crush on Tombo. The complete narration/dialogue translates as:
Kiki: “I’m going on ahead!”
Tombo: “Kiki, watch out!”
Narration: “I’m Kiki, 17 years old. Will I be able to deliver my feelings to him? Now, there’s magic in youth.”
Kiki: “Tombo, there’s something I have to give you.”
Kiki: “I love you!”
The video doesn’t show what happens next, but learning to be brave in the face of uncertainty really is what being young is all about.
Follow Casey on Twitter, where Kiki’s Delivery Service remains his favorite Ghibli movie.