KT 14

Last month, we saw a brief teaser trailer for the upcoming live-action theatrical version of Kiki’s Delivery Service. Happy as we are for another chance to see our favorite magical parcel carrier on the big screen, our first look at the film’s flying effects didn’t do much to excite us, especially when compared against the lovingly crafted visuals of the story’s 1989 animated adaptation by Studio Ghibli.

Now, the producers of the live-action Kiki are back with a full-length trailer. Being the open-minded cinemaphiles/Kiki fanboys that we are, we decided to give the plucky witch one more chance to impress us, while also getting an earful of the film’s new theme song.

While the teaser showed little more than the titular witch sliding to a stop in a dirt lot in front of a rather pedestrian-looking schoolhouse, the new trailer showcases a bit more of the movie’s sets and supporting cast. Much like her animated predecessor, live-action Kiki chooses to make her home in a port town.

KT 2

kt 5

Unlike Ghibli’s version, it appears that the new movie may be set on an island, with far more of Kiki’s flying happening over stretches of open water than in anime director Hayao Miyazaki’s 1989 film.

KT 12

So let’s get some bad news out of the way first. We were underwhelmed by the quality of the special effects in last month’s teaser, and while the full-length trailer does better in that department, it’s still not exactly jaw-dropping.

KT 8

▼ Aside from flight, little witch Kiki seems to have the magical ability to create lens flares.

KT 3

▼ Her bewitching smile doesn’t need any CG help, though.

KT 13

We also get our first peek at the bakery that Kiki operates out of, with nice atmospheric lighting and delicious-looking bread.

KT 10

A few scenes also feature a bespectacled boy, who we’re guessing is Tombo, the young man who Kiki meets soon after she moves to his hometown, and subsequently steals his heart.

KT 11

When the teaser first made the rounds on the Internet, there were grumbles from fans upset about the all-Japanese cast, given that the original story has a distinctly European flair to it. Given that the movie’s production center (and primary target) is Japan, however, this looks like a linguistic and marketing-based inevitability. Every character shown in the trailer is clearly Japanese, and even signs and letters are written using Japanese text.

KT 6

KT 7

We also get our first chance to hear the film’s theme song. The animated version’s opening and ending themes, sung by Yumi Matsutoya (who also supplied the closer for Miyazaki’s directing finale The Wind Rises), have gone on to become classics in Japan. In contrast to Matsutoya’s nostalgic, somewhat bittersweet vocals, the new film has decided to go with an original song from popular singer Mai Kuraki. The versatile Kuraki has had hits featuring elements of R&B, pop, and rock.

The live-action Kiki theme, “Wake me up,” which kicks in at the 40-second mark, is an uplifting anthem that the upcoming film’s director, Takashi Shimizu, said he immediately recognized as a perfect fit for the project–we can’t get enough of it!

Sill unaccounted for is Kiki’s talking cat companion Jiji, but we haven’t completely given up hope that he’ll make at least a cameo when Kiki’s Delivery Service opens in theaters on March 1.

Source: Jin
Images, video: YouTube