K-ON's Kotobuki Plays Jiji in Live-Action Kiki's Delivery Service
posted on by Egan Loo
Minako Kotobuki, the voice actress known for playing Tsumugi Kotobuki in K-On!, will play the witch Kiki's black cat Jiji in the live-action film of Eiko Kadono's fantasy novel series Kiki's Delivery Service (Majo no Takkyūbin). The first photographs of Kiki with Jiji also debuted on Thursday.
Jiji is a black cat who is sarcastic but whom Kiki relies on as a companion. They were raised together since birth, and Jiji can only talk with Kiki.
Kotobuki expressed her surprise at her casting, saying that she never imagined that she would be in the film. Kotobuki said she assumed the male mindset when she played Jiji, since the cat assumed various symbolic roles — for example, Kiki's father figure or a grandfatherly figure — from scene to scene. Kiki actress Fūka Koshiba (Iki mo Dekinai Natsu) said that Kotobuki's Jiji voice is cute and exactly how she imagined Jiji would talk when she was on set.
Rei Sakuma played Jiji in the Japanese dub of Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli's anime film version, while the late Phil Hartman played the cat in Disney's English dub.
16-year-old actor Ryōhei Hirota plays the critical role of Kiki's friend Tombo in the new film. Co-starring with Koshiba and Hirota is Machiko Ono (Suzaku, Like Father, Like Son) as Osono, the owner of the bakery where Kiki works. Hiroshi Yamamoto plays Osono's baker husband Fukuo, and Miho Kanazawa plays a woman named Saki who visits the bakery. Rie Miyazawa (Oceans, Hana, Peony Pavilion) plays Kiki's mother Kokiri, and Michitaka Tsutsui (Reunion, Ballad: Namonaki Koi no Uta, Shikoku) plays Kiki's father Okino. Additionally, Tadanobu Asano (Ichi the Killer, Lupin III) will play veterinarian Dr. Ishi.
Takashi Shimizu (The Grudge/Juon, Tomie: Rebirth) is directing the film, and Satoko Okudera (Summer Wars, Wolf Children, The Princess and the Pilot) wrote the screenplay.
Filming began on May 23, 2013 in a Tokyo studio, and it wrapped up in July. The film will open in Japan on March 1.
The six novel volumes of Majo no Takkyūbin follow the coming of age of Kiki with her black cat Jiji. They have sold 1.8 million copies and have been translated into eight languages, including English, Italian, Chinese, Swedish, and Korean. Hayao Miyazaki directed Studio Ghibli's famous anime film version, which adapted the first novel volume.
Source: Mainichi Shimbun's Mantan Web
Images © 2014 Kiki's Delivery Service Production Committee