More Hayao Miyazaki stills: These are from Kiki's Delivery Service, a film that could turn the most hardened cynic into a blubbering puddle of goo (at least at did this one). Honestly, the movie's so lovely it almost has no place in our world. Miyazaki based the settings on an imagined "perfect Europe" where no wars had ever been fought--one critic described the urban setting as "Stockholm located on the Mediterranean." It's not Disney treacle, though; in fact it's kind of subversive in that it depicts a girl leaving home at age 13 and overcoming obstacles to start a successful flying-broomstick delivery business (she's a "good-witch-in-training"). The perils of the small biz capitalist making her way in a strange town provide some surprisingly gripping moments. Oh, yeah--the drawing of the crow is by an artist Kiki meets on the job--another of Miyazake's many independent female characters.
A frequent flamer says the birds are magpies (I erased his comment--he's since gotten really hostile). The translation on the DVD is "crows"; I thought maybe they were a Japanese variety. Anime dialogue is all over the place; half the time the Americans just make stuff up. The late Phil Hartman, doing the voice of Kiki's cat, improvised a lot of his lines. The Japanese language version is the best--the cat is better less verbose.