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:: Synopsis ::
Under the shining full moon, people gather to send Kiki off. Kiki, a witch-in-training, is now 13 years old and according to a tradition, she has to leave her home to spend a year alone in a new town to establish herself as a full witch. Kissing her mom and dad good-bye, Kiki sets herself on her mother's broom with her father's transistor radio and her closest companion, Jiji the black cat, at her side. And she flies off - to a new town, to a new adventure, and to a new life.
Finding herself a beautiful seaside city of Korico, Kiki sets up a flying delivery service, to take advantage of the only magic she knows - flying a broom.
However, her magic does not make Kiki happy or successful overnight. Miyazaki says, "In this movie, magic just means some kinds of talents that today's girls have" and Kiki is "a girl who tries to be herself by flying".
Kiki encounters several setbacks and mishaps that an upcoming young entrepreneur would typically face - slow business, misplaced merchandise, not-so-nice customers, and a rainy day (literally!). Kiki also has to deal with her feelings such as loneliness, worries, shyness, and self-doubt, as a teenage girl in a new town. Miyazaki says, "the ability to fly frees her from what is going on on the ground, but freedom also means worries and loneliness", and she has to face and overcome such problems to really become self-sufficient and independent.
Her biggest challenge comes when Kiki loses her magic. Flying, which was as natural to Kiki as breathing, no longer comes so easily to her. Miyazaki says that talent is something that you are given, and you have to go through a process to consciously make such a talent truely yours.
Kiki overcomes such obstacles with her energy and resourcefulness, and with help from nice people she meets in the course of her adventure. Osono and her baker husband, who gave Kiki a place to stay, take good care of Kiki as sort of surrogate parents. Tombo, a boy whose biggest dream is to fly, befriends Kiki and makes her laugh. Grandmotherly Madame, for whom Kiki delivers a pie, treats Kiki with kindness and care to give Kiki the energy to go on. And a young painter, Ursula, gives Kiki good advice as someone who not so long ago went through the same struggle as Kiki is going through now.
In the end, Kiki finds her independence and the meaning of self-reliance. In her letter to her parents, Kiki writes, "There are still some times when I feel a little homesick, but all in all I sure love this city!" as she flies over Korico, which she now calls home.