After much speculation about whether horror-genre director Shimizu Takashi (The Grudge, Ju-on) would be the one to helm a live-action adaptation of Eiko Kadono’s children’s fantasy novel Kiki’s Delivery Service, Japanese newspapers Sports Nippon and Sports Hochi shed some light on the rumors. The publications announced today that Takashi is indeed taking the reigns of the project and a live action version of Kiki’s Delivery Service is in the works. Sixteen-year-old Japanese figure skater Fuka Koshiba is reportedly set for the starring role of Kiki. The novel follows a young witch, who must use her flying abilities to make a living, while she spends a year on her own in a town without any other witches. Hit the jump for more.
The confirmed news of Takashi’s plans to direct Kiki’s Delivery Service comes courtesy of Twitch. The novel was popularized by Hayao Miyazaki’s 1989 Studio Ghibli animated version based on the series’ first novel of the same name. While Takashi’s live action take will follow in the same footsteps it is also said to include elements from the second novel in the series and tell a more thorough account of the story. Knowing Takashi’s inclination towards horror, I think it’s possible we’ll see a darker version of Kiki this time around, which makes the prospect of a live action take much more appealing.
Here’s the synopsis for Eiko Kadono’s Kiki’s Delivery Service (via Amazon):
Kiki is a resourceful, spunky girl who follows her maternal tradition to be a witch. She possesses only one gift of witchcraft — the power to fly. Like all young witches, she sets out at age 12 to find a town of her own. With her ever-present companion Jiji — a cynical and faithful black cat — Kiki departs on her broomstick and arrives at a big town near the ocean. Though nervous at first, she soon sets up a business delivering packages.
Kiki meets all kinds of people and has many adventures. She befriends the thief who stole her broomstick and saves the town’s traditional New Year’s marathon with some courageous and timely flying.
Throughout, Kiki’s confidence and self-awareness grows as she learns to value her unique talents. And with Kiki’s help, the townspeople realize that everyone has some magic that gives them their own special character and vitality.
This is a charming and delightful tale that is reminiscent of children’s favorites The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy and Astrid Lindgren’s Adventures of Pippi Longstocking. Black and white line drawings sprinkled throughout reveal the humor and warmth in everything Kiki does.