A (very brief) teaser trailer was released for the upcoming Japanese fantasy film Kiki’s Delivery Service, based on a 1985 children’s book by Eiko Kadono. Takashi Shimizu – best known for the horror series Ju-on, which he remade in America as the Grudge series with producer Sam Raimi – is directing, and a 2014 release is planned. Fans of Japanese animation (or animation in general) will probably recognize the name Kiki’s Delivery Service as the novel was previously adapted as an animated feature in 1989 by Hayao Miyazaki, “the Walt Disney of Japan.”
Some may know Miyazaki as the only Japanese animation director who gets recognized by the Academy Awards (Spirited Away won the Award for Best Animated feature in 2002, and Howl’s Moving Castle was nominated in 2005); others may know of him due to the fact that Disney has been responsible for releasing most of his films, and the films of his production company, Studio Ghibli, in the U.S. and many foreign territories. Miyazaki’s latest film, The Wind Rises received its first American release at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, and Ghibli’s latest – Isao Takahata’s The Tale of Princess Kaguya will come to Japanese theaters this November.
Kiki’s Delivery Service is the story of Kiki, a broom-riding witch who moves to a new town with her talking cat Jiji. Don’t expect the film to be full of Harry Potter-esque magic duels and battles against the dark forest; Kiki is a much simpler and quieter tale about a young girl experiencing the world on her own, falling in love for the first time, and coming of age. We’ve yet to see whether the new film will stick closely to the plot and themes of the novel, and how closely it will resemble the animated film.