My mother came home from her grocery/video rental run and handed me KiKi’s Delivery Service one day when I was home from college and told me I’d really like it. I had no reason to disbelieve her. As different as mother and I are, she knows me. “The animator is quite celebrated in Japan,” she said and left me to it. Little did I know then that Kiki’s Delivery Service was going to change my worldview completely.

The sweeping landscapes, the storytelling, the insane attention to detail made me a lifelong fan of Hayao Miyazaki and his associates. In the movie the little witch lost her inspiration and found it again when her services was needed. It was inspiring for a young artist like myself and, after I eventually got my own copy, I’d plonk it into the VCR whenever I felt a bit lost in the big wide world of illustration.

This set had been brewing in my mind for years, ever since I found out one of my good friend has named his daughter Kiki after the titular character. It was meant to be a hey-you-have-a-baby present but I felt the timing is a bit off now since the child is currently at pre-school age. Still, it’s something that needs to be done so I spent a bit of time each night working on it. I had hoped the magic had transferred from film into this set while I worked on it. It must’ve done since, weirdly enough, the main doll smelled oddly of baked bread.

As a little “Easter Egg” surprise, I made a broomstick and a radio to pop into the JiJi doll.