The incomparable Kiki

I sporadically listen to the podcast The Incomparable, and had to listen to the last one when it was about one of my favorite movies, Kiki's Delivery Service.

There's a bit of irony, there, though.  I watched the movie a bunch of times back in college; a friend had the Japanese laserdiscs (plural to refer to other non-Totoro Miyazaki movies.  He refused to watch Totoro for some reason) so we watched the repeatedly.

I got my own copy when Ghibli ga Ippai laserdisc set came out, a few years later (IIRC, it was a couple years before DVD came out; for sure before they became popular).

Many years later, I got the Disney DVD (I didn't buy it as soon as it came out, for whatever reason), and have since watched that a couple of times.  The reason I mentioned irony, earlier, was that I haven't watched it much at all in recent years; I've only watched it once, I think, with my kids.  I really need to remedy that.

But to get back to one of my points, the vast majority of times I've watched it was watching the untranslated laserdiscs.  The little bit else was watching it in japanese, with the subtitles turned on.

So the discussion about the dub entirely went over my head.

But there was a lot more to the discussion; I hadn't really thought about how much of the movie (pretty much all of it) was driven by Kiki's decisions, rather than things happening around her.  That might factor into why I like it so much, but I hadn't consciously noticed it.

The music certainly factored in; I'm a big fan of Jo Hisaishi.  About the same time as the laserdisc set above came out, they also came out with a CD set of the soundtracks (picture above; the laserdisc set had essentially the same packaging, except a bit square).  That made my second copy of several of the Miyazaki movie soundtracks (definitely including Laputa, and I think including Kiki's as well), but I was very happy to get the set.  And I listened to those discs a LOT, for quite a while after that.

A couple less substantial things to mention, about pronunciation.  They were debating between "jib-lee" or "gib-lee".  Both are sensible.  The Japanese write it (in katakana) as ジブリ(ji-bu-ri, and they usually swallow the 'u'), hence the "jib-lee" pronunciation.  But you can see, from the way that they write it in roman characters, that it is originally an Italian word, "ghibli" (a type of wind, IIRC; and that's why, in Japanese, it is written in katakana, rather than hiragana.  That's how they write borrowed words), which is pronounced (in Italian) as "geeb-lee" (and, to be super pedantic, that's not a 'j' sound at the beginning).  So either one is perfectly defensible.

John's pronunciation of Nausicaa, on the other hand, was a bit weird.  Here's a bit of a guide to the pronunciation.  As mentioned there, the katakana (again, borrowed word) is ナウシカ, which is 'nah-oo-shi-ka' (to be super pedantic again, the 'sh' sound doesn't exist in english; it's identical to the soft 'ch' in German.  An english 'sh' is a close approximation, though).  I had to look at that guide for the original Greek, though; I only know a few words of Greek.  And that only because of English cognates.  The point being that 'nah-si-kah' is a bit... odd.

Anyway, moving back to more substantive things; I'd never considered that Jiji might be an imaginary voice.  I'm definitely going to have to rewatch it with that thought in mind.  In fact, I need to rewatch it anyway, to show it to my daughter again (and show it to my son).

And I liked how John talked about how the various women in the movie were potential role models for Kiki to follow.  I've never been big on role models, and had never even considered them functioning that way (other than the artist (Ursula?)).

I also liked that he mentioned how much of a change of pace it was for an American audience to see a pregnancy in a movie that's just a pregnancy, rather than a big plot point.  I'd never really thought about how rarely we see pregnancy in movies over here.  Certainly part of that is the puritanism he mentioned; I wonder if part of it is the opposite end of the spectrum.  That is, playing up romance and sex (the latter especially happening recently).  Babies do a lot to get in the way of both of those (and generally follow both, coming after the movie ends).

Anyway, as someone who has seen the movie dozens of times, I learned new things about it (and have more things to consider, as well).  I'd recommend anyone even slightly interested in the movie, or Miyazaki generally, to take a listen.

No comments:

Post a Comment