Black Cat Jiji in “Kiki’s Delivery Service”: Why He Lost his Voice?

Black Cat Jiji in Kiki’s Delivery Service — Do you remember the black cat who talks fluently to Kiki, his human witch owner? They have been together for a long time, Jiji was always on her side. Kiki’s growth as an adult and a witch, Jiji can’t be replaced with anobody or any cat. He sometimes acts even as a mentor. But at the end of the film, he doesn’t talk to Kiki anymore, why?

Black Cat Jiji in Kiki’s Delivery Service

Black Cat Jiji with paw marks

Black Cat Jiji (google.com)

It is one of Hayao Miyazaki’s enchanting films, every Japanese kids and grown-ups (we, adult) know and love the film. Kids went to watch when it was first opened in theaters back in 1989, everyone was excited about it. The warmth we feel for the film is the same, only more so every time we see Kiki on TV once every two years. We know the story from start to the end, still we watch it again and again.

Friend and Mentor

As on the training to be a full-fledged witch, Kiki left her parent’s home at the age of 13. That is the tradition for a little witch to stand own their own feet to be an independent witch. All she had were her broom and the cat, Jiji. Finding a town to live, job to work on and to communicate with people, all of them were new to Kiki and not an esay task. Jiji was with Kiki at all moment and helped her to grow as a witch and a young woman. Sometimes Jiji’s words hurt, because he speaks the truth, that also helped Kiki to see the situation as it is.

Kiki can't fly

Kiki can’t fly (google.com)

In Hayao’s film, Jiji lost his voice at the end of it. It depicts what Kiki had been hearing was her own voice through Jiji, now she’s grown and doesn’t need it anymore. So the black cat Jiji in the film is considered to be a medium to grow for Kiki. But in original books, Jiji keeps his voice to the end. Wait, original?

Kiki flying with jiji

Kiki flying with Jiji (google.com)

Original Picture Book Kiki’s Delivery Service

Kikis delivery service by Eiko Kadono

Kiki’s Delivery Service by Eiko Kadono (Amazon)

Kiki’s Delivery Service by Eiko Kadono is the original work for the film. The first volume was published in 1985, entire story is consists of six volumes. You can see how Kiki changes herself, from age 13 to 35. New encounters, good-byes and the relationship with Tombo… Kiki grows into a woman. Basically, its story is more like fantasy.

Hayao recreated Kiki’s character as just another girl who happen to have supernatural power, which is just another skill human can possess. The film focuses on Kiki’s growth as a witch and adult which is volume 1 and 2 of original. How the new environment, and encounters make a girl into a young woman with independent mind. Every girls can relate themselves to Kiki as it can become their story.

Kikis Delivery Service, Paperback, by Eiko Kadono

Kiki’s Delivery Service (Paperback) by Eiko Kadono (google.com)

Every time Kiki faces a difficulty, she stands up on her own and tackle with it. There are moments that Kiki gets depressed, but always Jiji is there for her, which is truly encouraging for her.

Scenery of Sweden

sweden-stockholm-old-town

Sweden Stockholm Old Town (Scandic)

Visby and Stockholm in Sweden are two cities Ghibli officially announced them as inspiration for the town, colico in the film. Staff of Ghibli visited those two cities for reference. Hayao himself traveled to Ireland, Lisbon, Paris, Napoli and San Fransisco in May, 1988 and those cities became inspiration for the ladnscape in the film, too.

stockholms gamla stan by invivo

Stockholm’s Gamla Stan by INVIVO (DEVIANT ART)

No specific city or town, but roughly in Northern Europe was the order for the landscape for the film. They were largely inspired by the scenery of Gamla Stan and we can see it in the film.

Sweden, Visby

Sweden, Visby (wondertrip)

Sweden

Sweden (3.bp.blogspot.com)

Witch and Black Cat

Freyja riding with her cats

Freyja riding with her cats (Pinterest)

In europe, witch and black cat had been recieved and treated terribly beyond description. But in Japan, black cat is considered to be bringing a good luck. The combinaion of a witch and a cat, we may be able to trace back to Freyja in Norse mythology. Freyja is the goddess associated with love, sex, beauty, fertility, gold, seiðr (a type of sorcery), war, and death. She rides a chariot pulled by two cats.

Three Years Later…

kiki at the age of 16 with jiji

Kiki at the age of 16 with Jiji (777news.biz)

It’s Kiki and Jiji three years later of the film on the cover of Japanese animation magazine. Kiki is sixteen and wearing colorful outfit with cool scarf. Looks like she smiles with confident. Jiji looks… the same as most of the cat doesn’t change her appearance all her life. Well, she’s definitely grown into a attractive young woman, you think? Hmm, feels like watching the film again.

Reference

魔女の宅急便 (Wikipedia)
 魔女の宅急便の舞台になったスウェーデンの”海の見える街”が美しい (Naver)

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Originally published at Johnny Times.

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