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Kiki's Delivery Service (Majo no takkyubin) (1989)

  Directed by: Hayao Miyazaki
Written by: Eiko Kadono, Hayao Miyazaki
Starring: Rei Sakuma, Minami Takayama, Kappei Yamaguchi
Links: Kiki's Delivery Service on the IMDb, Buy on Video, Buy on DVD, Buy the Book
Genre: Cartoon/Animation

This movie gets: 8.00 (1 rating)
nofreelist.com Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

"Before Harry, there was Kiki" - a review by pearly

I have become quite the connoisseur of Hayao Miyazaki films. Since loving Spirited Away (2001) to pieces, I next grabbed myself a heaping helping of Princess Mononoke (1997), and, being completely obsessed by the both of them, I snapped up copies of every other Miyazaki film that I could afford on my recent holiday to Japan. And so, on my return, I have been devouring them all.

Normally, when faced with a pile of DVDs belonging to a set of some kind, I'll fastidiously order them chronologically and set about to watching them in release date order. But not this time! I just grabbed one from the pile, and chucked it in the player. Kiki's Delivery Service was the lucky winner.

It's the gorgeous tale of Kiki (Minami Takayama), a thirteen year old witch who, along with her black cat Jiji (Rei Sakuma), leaves her family to develop her special witching skill in a new home. At first, she feels a bit lonely, but eventually Kiki comes into her own, finding friends, and discovering her true talent. It's a story with a moral, perfect for kids, and beautiful also for adults who are kids at heart.

Kiki's Delivery Service is a little more straight down the line than the other Miyazaki films that I've seen. Aside from the fact that Kiki is a witch, there's not really any of the supernatural or spirit world that is present in his more recent stuff. Also, having been originally released in 1989, it's clear that the animation style of Miyazaki's more recent work is only in the beginnings of its development.

The character of Kiki's cat Jiji is used in the film as the comic relief sidekick, in a move which I have seen in so many cartoons since. In fact, all of the main characters are great, from the lady who takes Kiki into her home, to the gobsmacked Tombo (Kappei Yamaguchi) who is obsessed with Kiki, and the young artist who Kiki befriends on one of her deliveries.

Kiki's Delivery Service, whilst being a bit more like other English language cartoons than some of Miyazaki's other films, can probably be differentiated from them because of its subtlety. It has something to say, but it's not pushed right into your face; it has to be hunted for a bit more. The characters don't break out into song every five seconds, although there are songs in the background that are written specifically for the film (though, being in Japanese, I'm not totally sure what they were about). Because of this subtlety, Kiki's Delivery Service is more enjoyable to watch. It has layers of detail which make you want to watch it more than once, and watching it feels more like slurping into a nice hot soup than it does shoving a brick down your throat. Kiki's life is not perfect, she goes through ups and downs on her journey, and this is portrayed very realistically, and it all just fits.

Plus, it has the big advantage of being too gorgeous for words, and I couldn't help but grinning the whole way through it.

pearly gives this movie 8 out of 10.
Review created on Wed 2 Jun 2004

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Reader comments

  1. This Movie is da bomb. some people can relate to it (not being a witch though) but going away from home off on your own. and having to strive to feel like u belong there. good job Hayao Miyazaki.

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from Andrew Godfrey on Fri 22 Apr 2005 07:35 #

  2. Great movie, not my favorite of Miyazaki's, but still a must see.

    Rating given: 8

    A comment from Anderson on Sun 01 May 2005 07:11 #

  3. good movie but u must c!!

    Rating given: 8

    A comment from paul on Mon 08 May 2006 12:09 #

Those who have commented give this movie: 8.67 (3 ratings)

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