If you're looking to watch ghibli films that aren't Spirited Away, Kiki's Delivery Service is a wonderful coming-of-age story, although the latter part might make cat lovers sad, as they wonder why Jiji stopped talking.
In Kiki's Delivery Service, Kiki is a young witch. When she enters puberty, she's required to go away from her family and support herself for a specific amount of time, as per the family tradition.
Kiki starts her new independent life in an idyllic small town where she soon starts a delivery service, transferring goods on her flying broom.
In all her endeavors, Kiki is accompanied by her talking cat, Jiji, but, at some point, his company is no longer enough.
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Having a talking pet sidekick seems like a cat lover's dream, so why was that taken away from Kiki, and was it permanent? Here's what we think:
Why Did Jiji Stop Speaking in Kiki's Delivery Service?
While this is not explicitly stated in the anime, it's heavily implied that Jiji stopped speaking because he and Kiki grew up and, belonging to different species, they could no longer understand each other the same way.
Kiki's delivery service is a primarily coming-of-age tale, and part of growing is no longer finding complete comfort in things that used to feel absolute.
Kiki's Delivery Service is based on a book by Eiko Kadono. There, it's explained that in witch families like Kiki's a girl and her black cat familiar would be raised together.
Kiki is the only person to ever hold conversations with Jiji while other characters never have this type of communication with him.
While Kiki was able to fly on her broom with her talking cat by her side, she was sure of herself and her identity.
But part of her growth was to become her own person and learn to interact with other humans rather than with Jiji alone.
Meanwhile, Jiji also had to form significant relationships with his own species, without this meaning that his friendship with Kiki no longer matters.
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Did Jiji Ever Speak Again?
Jiji is not seen speaking again in Kiki's Delivery Service, at least not in the original version.
We aren't explicitly told that he doesn't but the implication seems to be that, while their inter-species friendship continued, they both learned to interact with members of their own species without hindering each other's chances at companionship.
In the Japanese version, it's much clearer that Jiji never speaks again on screen, even after Kiki becomes able to fly again.
Jiji has kittens but doesn't stop spending time with Kiki. It does seem, however, that they also have separate lives now.
In the Disney version, however, it's heavily implied that Jiji does talk again, thus creating a more unambiguously happy ending, that, perhaps, misses the chance to consider the more bittersweet aspects of growth.
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