Sunday, October 05, 2008

The Heart-Melters #10 - Kiki

Ah yes...time for another peek into my terribly complicated private life. Today I shall reveal to you something that is somewhat dear to my heart: The Heart-Melters. I can't explain why, but ever since I entered high school I've been attracted to females from fictional media: cartoons, anime, video games etc. There are hundreds of ones I found attractive, but overall, ten of those characters stand out for number of reasons: looks, personality etc. They are: The Heart-Melters.

I'm going to be posting the things I originally wrote back on February 26-28, 2005, August 21, 2006, and December 2, 2006. Originally the entries were posted in chronological order, but this time I'm going to take a different route: in overall strength of the Heart-Melter. This is measured in three different ways: by intensity of the heart-melting, length of the heart-melting, and how the number of recurring heart-melting (ie, how many times the character melts my heart after the conclusion of a previous period of heart-melting). I didn't really have a formula to measure all this, rather I ranked everybody and summed the ranking to come up with a score, and the final ranking comes from this score. And so we'll be working our way from #10 to #1.


Who is She?
In an alternate Europe spared from the devastating effects of World War II and where being a witch was a rare but dominant allele, a young witch was required to leave home at the age of 13 and make a living for a year in another town, preferably in a place without other witches. Kiki is one of those witches. She had just celebrated her thirteenth birthday, and is waiting for a good day to do her required year outside of home, hopefully in a city next to the sea. When the weather forecast promised a night of clear weather, Kiki knew it was time to go. And lo, her adventure into the unknown world outside of her village had began. Yet things went awry even from the beginning. The wonderful weather that the weatherman promised turned out to be a lie. (Or perhaps hapless Kiki had left the area of beautiful weather and entered a storm front). The ideal city that she had desired greeted her with animosity. And don't even talk about the freaky nerdy stalker. But armed with an optimistic outlook and a broom, Kiki is ready to tackle these problems head-on. She finds shelter, friendship, and a job with a gentle baker's wife, and begins a delivery service. Things were going well, until her positive outlook became shattered.

Kiki's Influence (Sometime in Winter 2003-Early 2004)
Of all eight Heart-Melters, Kiki may be the one that I had felt the least actual "attraction" towards. I mean, she was cute and all, and she melted my heart, but she did not tug on my heartstrings at all. If you hadn't guessed already, Kiki is the heroine of Miyazaki's legendary 1989 film, Majo no Takkyubin...known in America as Kiki's Delivery Service...with music by Joe Hisaishi. (Joe Hisaishi is a brilliant genius!) Back in 1995, it was the first Miyazaki movie I had seen, but believe it or not, I saw only once in the 1990s. I was not really much of a Miyazaki fan back then, although virtually every anime that I've seen before I became a Pokemon fan were Miyazaki movies. I did not become a major Miyazaki fan until I saw Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi (Spirited Away) in 2002. After that, I became hooked on Ghibli. In 2002, seven years after I saw Majo no Takkyubin for the first time...I saw it for the second time. It was compelling to see how much my memory had distorted the plot. Strangely enough, even though I went seven years without watch her movie, I had always considered Kiki the cutest of the Ghibli heroines.

Ever since my mom purchased the R3 copy of the Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi DVD during my family's 2002 Taiwan trip, I became more and more engaged in Ghibli works. In late 2002, I found myself heading to KaZaA (...) to download other Ghibli movies, and my main Christmas present for 2002 was a set of bootlegged Ghibli films. In April 2003, I purchased 2 of the three R1 Miyazaki movies that came out, and the trio was completed when my sister (MwrulesC) received a R1 copy of Majo no Takkyubin. In the summer of 2003, I borrowed R3 DVDs from a family friend, which I used to complete the "Screenshot Project," which consists of taking a screenshot for every single shot in a Ghibli movie. I had completed Majo no Takkyubin in the 12 days between July 13 and July 25, 2003, so I had 1,302 pics (97MB) from the movie, of which at least 800 were of Kiki. Yet unlike with Shiori Fujisaki, I did not use these pictures to satisfy my desire to see Kiki, probably because I never really have that desire.

The Age of Kiki...

So I never felt attracted to Kiki. Does that mean she did not have an age of her own? Not necessarily. There was a period of time when Kiki was relatively dominant in my life. This time period came probably during my Taiwan trip from December 17, 2003 to January 10, 2004. On December 22, 2003, I went on a shopping spree with my uncle, who bought several Ghibli DVDs, including Majo no Takkyubin. With several R3 Ghibli DVDs to use with my R3 laptop DVD player, I had access to Kiki that I never had before. During this time, I felt attracted to the movie in a way that I had not felt before. I watched the movie several times and flipped through the 1,302 pictures that were in my laptop's hard drive. The crowning moment came when I spent several hours going over my pictures from the movie to create a Kiki collage/desktop wallpaper with over 100 Kiki pics. It was a brilliant thing, but it was demolished when my hard drive was erased. I had a JPG of it on Geocities, but I don't know where it is, and I can't even get to it because PageBuilder is being a Richard!

On January 10, 2004, I left Taiwan. With that, I returned to the stresses of college and the allure of NSider chat. I eventually found myself thinking less and less of Kiki. She is still cute and her movie is still awesome, but she just was not the Heart-Melter that she once was. However, her presence remains on the record.

Strength: 10 - As I said, I never really felt attracted to her, but she melted my heart with the combination of her sweet nature and the self-doubt that gives her some complexity.

Duration: 9 - While I've thought Kiki was cute for years, since I first saw the movie in 1995, the actual time where Kiki melted my heart was rather short. It came in the middle of the Taiwan trip, in the last few days of 2003, and was over by the time I went back to college, so about half a month. It's not the shortest, but not very long either.

Recurrence: 9- After January 2004, I slowly drifted away from my Studio Ghibli fanaticism, and the possibilities of a recurring heart-melting campaign died along with it. It's really a pity. She's not at the very bottom because I still like Kiki as a character. I can't really say that about #10 in this category.

Overall: 28 - Kiki never really had much of a chance. Sure, she had a great personality and is very cute, she essentially survives only in the middle of a 105-minute movie, and didn't quite capture my attention like some of the other characters. That's not to say Kiki's a failure in any means. Just being in this list is more than many others can claim, but there are nine others that ranks higher. Who will they be?

Next up: Wildcat high school student gone crazy