CHECK : Kiki Delivery Service (1989)
Another adventure was released in 1989, directed by Hayao Miyazaki: Kiki’s delivery service. I vividly remember American Home Video’s advertisement for this movie when I was a kid; I can almost still hear the upbeat, inspiring song they played. The only Studio Ghibli movie I saw as a kid was Spirit Captures, which I once got for my birthday. The first and only time I saw Kiki’s Delivery Service was in high school, when a friend lent it to me. I remember liking those the most, but only passively. All I remember from that first viewing, almost a decade earlier, is the cat Jiji and the iconic scene where Kiki saves Tombo. Kiki’s delivery service is generally reputable and gets good reviews on the major movie review sites, but I don’t hear much about it. It’s never like Spirited Away, for example, and I think that’s because of the simplicity of the story. Kiki’s delivery service is not as simple as My Neighbor Totoro, but it has the same vibe. Let’s see.
Kiki’s Delivery Service follows a young girl who turns 13, the age when aspiring wizards leave home to fend for themselves and train for a year. Kiki has settled in the beautiful coastal town of Corico, which has become his new home and workplace. At first the encounters are unpleasant, but soon she befriends a baker who employs her and gives her a room. As Kiki improves her skills and becomes more comfortable in the city, she makes more and more friends, such as Ursula, an artist who lives in a cabin in the woods, and Tombaugh, a boy who is fascinated by flying. Kiki is in a difficult period of self-doubt and magical powerlessness. She stays with Ursula for a few days, and Ursula’s wisdom and persistence in the art encourage Kiki to take some time and regain her strength. When Tombaugh is put in danger, Kiki’s confidence and abilities are put to the test.
As usual with Studio Ghibli, Kiki’s delivery service is absolutely amazing. The town of Koriko is located on the Swedish island of Visby, and the colors sparkle on the screen. Ghibli always goes the extra mile with things like scenery, plants and even food. This movie has a special atmosphere that is unlike anything I’ve seen. Kiki undergoes trials and tribulations, but Corico is always a welcoming place, full of life and love.
Kiki is a likeable and sympathetic character who faces challenges that we can all understand. I doubt many of us struggle with being witches (if so, please contact me; I just want to talk), but we have all struggled with who and what we are. She’s at the age when most people are most vulnerable, and it’s cathartic to see her get a happy ending. I’ve praised a few films for their bittersweet endings, but Kiki’s Delivery Service is not one of them. And that’s good. Each protagonist eventually gets what she wants; the film even takes the trouble to show us a happy Osono with her husband and new baby. It’s not entirely clear if Kiki and Tombaugh will become a couple, and Kiki will never be able to talk to her cat, Jeju, again. But I think both kids are young enough to keep it ambiguous. Kiki’s inability to understand Jiji has to do with her newfound maturity, not her lost ability. I think it’s bittersweet. Talking to cats and understanding them would be great. But you lose something when you grow up, and this is certainly a unique way to show that.
The score, written by Joe Hisaishi, a Ghibli regular, is excellent. She floats on Kiki’s broom, but it’s in the more intimate dialogue scenes that she shines the most. The voice cast here is very good, with familiar actors like Kirsten Dunst and Janeane Garofalo. The dubbing profession is also well represented with names like Corey Burton, Jim Cummings and Wendy Lee. Lee is known for her English dubbing of female anime characters, such as Faye in Cowboy Bebop. Dunst is particularly good as Kiki, playing her vulnerability and inexperience. Tress Macneille is as warm and welcoming as Osono, Kiki’s first boyfriend. I love the relationship between the two and how Osono is Kiki’s boss, business partner, friend and surrogate during his time in Corico. Osono’s husband, Fukuo (Brad Garrett), doesn’t talk much and serves mostly as entertainment, but he’s fun too. He makes Kiki the logo of his bread delivery company, and it’s admirable how much he lets up when Osono is giving birth. Jane Garofalo is delightful as Ursula, who acts as a kind of big sister and role model for Kiki. She is very understanding and compassionate when Kiki accidentally drops the stuffed cat she has in the apartment and has to ask to have it back. The scene I like most about Ursula is the sleepover. I’ve never been into art (although I’m still interested in witchcraft), but what she says is true for almost everything in life. This is one of my favorite scenes in general. My only real problem with the characters is Kiki’s precocious behavior towards Tombaugh. They eventually became good friends (and maybe more), but I found his rudeness to someone who was just trying to be friendly annoying to say the least. Like My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service is a film that relies on elements like moods, emotions, and relationships between characters. The story is pretty standard, and that’s okay because everything else is so good.
Kiki’s delivery service is an absolute pleasure from start to finish. It’s not my favorite Studio Ghibli film, but it’s very watchable. This would be the perfect movie to watch on a sick day or even a mental health day. I don’t often call things inspiring (at least, I try not to), but I found a few scenes in the movie Kiki’s Delivery Service really inspiring. I recommend this movie to anyone who hasn’t seen it yet, especially young children.
Location – 8
Action – 8
Control/Assembly – 8
Music/Sound – 8
Animation – 9
Kiki’s delivery service is an absolute pleasure from start to finish. It’s not my favorite Studio Ghibli film, but it’s very watchable. This would be the perfect movie to watch on a sick day or even a mental health day. I don’t often call things inspiring (at least, I try not to), but I found a few scenes from the movie Kiki’s Delivery Service really inspiring. I recommend this movie to anyone who hasn’t seen it yet, especially young children.
frequently asked questions
Is it worth watching Kiki’s delivery service?
Poppy Hill is rarely climbed from the top, but it’s definitely worth a look. Probably my favorite of the Ghibli films I’ve seen. I agree with your recommendations, but I don’t know if Kiki is a movie about everyday life. … I liked Hole Castle, but I couldn’t get into Kiki’s delivery service.
Is the Kikis delivery service intimidating?
Parents should know that Hayao Miyazaki’s classic anime, Kiki Delivery Service, is the perfect movie for the whole family. Unlike some of his other films, which feature potentially scary characters or disturbing scenes, this is a gentle coming-of-age adventure.
What is the morale of Kiki’s delivery service?
Kiki teaches us that failure is an inevitable part of the creative process, and more importantly, that it is always temporary. It shows us that when we stop having fun, the magic disappears. And when we feel like we’ve lost the magic, we need to rely on ourselves, recharge our batteries and find our own inspiration.
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