Kiki's Delivery Service (1989) Poster

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A beautiful and introspective masterpiece
mahlersoboes21 June 2005
Having already been familiar with and a great admirer of some of Miyazaki's other Ghibli films, including Princess Mononoke, I turned to Kiki's Delivery Service on the recommendation of someone who suggested it as "light-hearted" fun. Being an eighteen-year-old male, I didn't think it would be much more than that—a guilty pleasure to indulge in once in a while, something I could watch and then say, "Aw, what a cute film!" But Kiki's Delivery Service is so much more than "light-hearted fun." For one, it is a beautifully animated work of cinematic art, with Miyazaki's usual flair for gorgeous landscapes and astonishing detail. As in his recent films Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away, Miyazaki's brush paints a beautiful world.

There is not much to be said about the plot itself: Kiki is a 13-year-old witch who has just left home to begin a year of training on her own, and she moves to a seaside European town, befriends a husband and wife baker, and sets up a flying delivery service.

What sets Kiki's Delivery Service apart from many of Miyazaki's other works is the personal, rather than epic, nature of the story. It wonderfully captures the day-to-day life of an aspiring 13-year-old girl moving into the life of a bustling town. While there is plenty to please the thrill-seeking adventurous spirit, the film's real beauty lies in its ability to portray the more introverted aspects of life. Most Western animated cinema centers around loud, pop-influenced music and a bad-guy-fighting action-oriented plot, but Kiki's Delivery Service has a charming and understated musical score, and lacks a traditional antagonist. Life isn't all excitement and fighting bad guys—something that this film seems to get across more than any Disney, Pixar, Fox, or other Western animated film I've ever seen. In fact, the doldrums of life are what form the heart of this film, as Kiki finds that she begins to lose her witch's abilities and can no longer fly.

Kiki's Delivery Service is a masterpiece, one of my all-time favorite films, and Kiki's search for the heart within herself is a tale that adults may appreciate more than their children. Indeed, Kiki is one of the most appealing characters that Miyazaki ever brought to life, which is certainly saying something. One of Miyazaki's great arts is in never talking down to his audience, and this fantastic story is no exception.
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A wonderful movie for all ages!
JeffG.5 July 1999
I kept hearing about how good this movie was, but I put off renting it for the longest time because I dismissed it as some dumb kid's film. Boy, was I wrong! This is a movie that appeals not only to kids, but to teens and adults as well. This is the kind of stuff Disney should be producing nowadays. I own my own copy now and whenever I pop it into my VCR, it always puts me in a good mood.
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The greatest movie ever made
panicwatcher13 April 2001
Kiki's Delivery Service is my favorite move. I have seen it at least 10 times and I laughed and cried each time. The animation by Hayao Miyazaki is wonderful, as always. The flying scenes and scenery of the generic European city are totally convincing. I think I really got a feeling of what it would be like to fly in on a broom over and through a European city. In each city scene, I feel like it is some place I have visited in my trips to Europe.

What I really appreciate about this movie is the simplicity of the characters and the plot. There are no robots, no psychotic megalomaniacs, no monsters, no superheros, no bratty smarty kids that are smarter than adults, no evil moron adults, and no fight scenes. No one is kidnapped or seriously injured. Even though the movie a about a witch, the only supernatural acts in the movie are Kiki flying on a broom and talking to her cat.

The movie is about a young girl witch who leaves home with her cat Jiji, moves to a new town, and starts a delivery service. In her business she has some adventures and meets mostly nice people who help her out. In the process she meets a boy named Tombo. Tombo does not have any special powers. He is just a nerdy guy who is trying to build a bicycle that can fly. Tombo gets in to some trouble and Kiki helps him out.

That sounds very dull, but by avoiding the supernatural and monsters, the story is much more easy to relate to. It is a story about leaving home and starting anew, meeting people, helping people, and have people help you when you get into trouble. It is very upbeat, even when things look bleak, they work out with a little help from friends. I liked Tombo's problems trying to be friends with Kiki because they seem like the problems people really have. One of the most beautiful scenes in the movie is Tombo silently waiting in the rain for Kiki who never shows up.

This movie is full of silent beauty. When the baker's wife invites Kiki to move in above the bakery, you get the impression that the gruff but silent husband does not care for Kiki. But in a later scene you see that he has baked a loaf of bread shaped like a girl riding a broom and mounted it in the bakery window. Nothing is ever said about it, but you see how he appreciates her.

I have both the dubbed and subtitled version of the movie. They are both great. This movie is one of the best dubbed I have seen. The dubbed version has a lighter, funnier tone because of the wise-cracking Jiji. I felt I could appreciate the animation better in the dubbed version because I did not have to focus on reading the subtitles. In general the voice acting in the dubbed version is excellent. The subtitled version is also the letterbox version, so you get to see the full beauty of the animation. In some of the flying scenes, Jiji is humorously complaining about the flying conditions in the dubbed version, where the subtitled version lets you silently appreciate the beauty of flying. Due to licensing problems the dubbed and subtitled versions have different theme songs. I think both songs are great. I recommend getting both versions.
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uplifting movie
danny66626 January 2005
Another great Miyazaki film. A young witch, with a good heart, leaves her mom and dad on her 13th birthday with her black cat, as all witches are supposed to do to complete her training and make it on her own. She looks for a city in need of a witch and finds a city near an ocean. She meets some other good hearted people who help her along the way.

There really isn't a villain in the movie and it's mainly a slice of life type of film. In the end of the film it all comes together and she performs a heroic act.

I tried to watch the dubbed version. Dunst was fine, but I just couldn't stand Garofolo and Hartman. So set the DVD audio to the original Japanese soundtrack and used English subtitles.

If you watch the dubbed version. Turn on the subtitles and you will see all the additional dialog they added. They just couldn't help padding their roles, especially Hartman.
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One of the greatest children's films ever made
zetes29 July 2000
This ranks up there with Pinocchio as the greatest movie for children ever made. One huge problem with most animated children's films are that the plots are so conventional and often contain very 1950s ideals for society that they become detrimental to society. One's childhood is the most impressionable time in their life, so movies that are directed towards them teach them what places different sorts of people play in society. There is a very humorous, but also very serious bit of dialogue in a film called The Last Days of Disco where characters discuss the effects Lady and the Tramp could have on little girls, depicting a young female dog falling for a vagabond Tramp. This, they muse, sets young women up to fall for rebellious men later in life. This may seem like a humorous idea, but it's absolutely true. Even good Disney movies give children these standards. As nice as The Little Mermaid or Beauty and the Beast or Cinderella or Snow White and the Seven Dwarves may be, they basically teach that it is the woman's place to grow up and get married, prefereably to a handsome rich man (perhaps the rich part is never said, but both the main male characters in these films do happen to own castles). The writers of these films probably had no idea that that is what they were doing, but it is.

That is why Pinocchio is the best Disney movie. It is probably the only Disney animated film that I can think of that actually concerns the predicament of its target audience: children. I can hardly think of a single (American) animated film besides it that has a child as its main character (oh, the Jungle Book, which is also excellent).

Then comes Kiki's Delivery Service. It is an absolutely perfect movie about a young girl out on her own trying to handle the responsibilities of life. It is, in my opinion, the best movie that a child can watch. And not only will it teach children, it is also marvelously animated, directed, and written. There is a plethora of great characters, exciting moments, and imaginative situations. It should also expand a child's mind, not only because of the imagination involved, which will help to break children away from conventions in their film experience, thus making them more intelligent, but because it comes from another culture. It doesn't overtly show its Japaneseness, unless you count the imagination involved (though you should count that as a credit towards Hayao Miyazaki, who is the greatest genius of animation as far as I'm concerned). But it may spark an interest in children old enough to understand that someone from another country made it. Also, for younger kids, Miyazaki's fantastic, equally good My Neighbor Totoro. 10/10

(ps: I have only seen the dubbed version of this film. I find it perfectly acceptable and great. Nothing made me cringe, anyway. I think Kirsten Dunst did a very good job characterizing Kiki, a much better job than Claire Danes did characterizing San from Princess Mononoke.)
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Beautiful film; Disney version pretty good.
StudentDriver9 September 1999
This may seem a rehash of the previous comments, but I only now got to see the Disney dubbed release.

I owned a bootleg copy of Kiki while it was still in Japanese theaters; I fell in love with the movie after first seeing the spectacle of the dirigible crash near the tail end. I learned to worship this movie because of the grandeur, because of the simplicity...

I lost my bootleg copy, and after the American release, began hunting down the laserdisc. A year of searching, I finally found it... was it worth the wait? Yes, with reservations...

I am (overly) familiar with the Japanese version, and did not want to be burdened with the "star" American voices; my wife doesn't like foreign-language film, though, so I needed the English version. With the LD, I got both benefits without having to purchase 2 VHS versions, and got to do some interesting side-by-side comparisons- switching between languages, watching the Japanese language version with the sub-titles for the English version, etc.

First off- this *is* Miyazaki, and *this* is animation. It is utterly beautiful, and the story is a wonderful one for both children and adults. There are very few people who will not be charmed by this... except maybe teenage boys, who don't want to be caught liking something so sweet. Otherwise, I can safely recommend any version to anybody.

Miyazaki films often prefer to paint a scene with pictures and music, not words. The English translation is an egregious offender here; what in the Japanese version are vignettes and scenes that are wordless become in the English version open chances for Phil Hartman and Kirsten Dunst to wisecrack, chat, or what-have-you. I feel that this is due to Disney's belief that children in America must be entertained for every second of a movie, lest their minds wander off.

Just as many people find Japanese dialogue to be grating on the ears, so do I find the English language voice actors to be grating. Actually, mainly just (the late) Phil Hartman. His nasal, loud voice just does not fit JiJi, a cute, diminutive cat. Kirsten does an okay job, although her voice sounds a wee bit older than Kiki's 13.

Already being familiar with the film, I have to admit being disappointed with the English version... it's a necessary evil, and I'm glad that my wife can enjoy the film now; but I feel that no matter how well-intentioned, Miyazaki's vision was dimmed somewhat in the Americanization. If the only version to come out had been an English version, I honestly would have rather imported a copy from Japan than support Disney.

All that being said, though, I would place the English-language Kiki far above most Disney efforts, and especially above Disney's modern efforts. I sincerely recommend that everyone watch Kiki once; if you like it, try the Japanese-language version (Buena Vista has released a VHS, widescreen, sub-titled Japanese version. Thank you, Disney!) And if you are a Disney film fan, you owe it to yourself to see what the Japanese can do.
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Ghibli is impressive as always
Lupercali24 September 2004
First of all, 10 points to Ghibli for Variety. Producing this and 'Grave of the Fireflies' inside a year of each other would be like Disney doing 'Mary Poppins' and 'Judgement at Nuremberg' back to back.

Words that spring to mind after watching Kiki include 'delightful', 'light', 'bouyant', and so forth. It's obvious Miyazaki has refined his craft considerably from the early movies, which somehow seemed a bit... I don't know - stuttery. Kiki, though just flows effortlessly. Combine this with the beautiful use of lighting and colour to produce that summertime, Mediterranean sort of feel, and Kiki is a movie that is just thoroughly uplifting, never getting bogged down in complexities or dark intrigues.

Unfortunately - and this is the only thing holding it back from 4 stars from me - what it does get slightly bogged down in, is its own lightness. There were just a few sections where the lack of a villain, of any real action, of anything other than people being nice to each other, took the top 10% off what was otherwise a masterful movie. I suppose there were a few other flaws, too: some characters and situations which came into it were just not developed at all. And there was one moment that teetered on real poignancy - the old dog with what he thought was a stuffed toy - but it sort of didn't happen. Also allowing the cat - sorry, forgotten his name - to drop out of proceedings for most of the latter half the film, definitely removed a spark from the film (I can't believe I just complained about the LACK of a comic sidekick)

BTW, as someone who lives in Tasmania, which is allegedly the inspiration for much of the setting of this film, please come here by all means, but don't expect it to look like that. The bakery in Ross (central Tasmania) which supposedly inspired the one in the film is in one of the few Tasmanian towns that you _can't_ see the ocean from, and the general look of the movie is distinctly southern European, though I guess some of the rural shots look a bit Tasmanian.

Whatever the case, Miyazaki's attention to detail is, as usual, stunning. The town may have been cobbled together from his favourite bits of Italy, France, Tasmania and wherever else, but its nothing less than a labour of love nonetheless.

Anyway, 8 out of 10.
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lakenstein8 November 2004
i've only seen the dub, but I must say this movie is superb, fantastic, wonderful and worthy of all the praise it gets. it's heartfelt, funny, and all in all a wonderful movie. the plot, characters, everything about this movie is perfect. it makes me feel oh so good when i watch it. I honestly see nothing wrong with this movie, not a thing. it's quite possibly the greatest coming of age story ever. This movie is too damn good for a review written by me out of complete bordem, so i'll end it by saying if you can a copy, dub or subtitled, rent/buy/steal it. i don't think you'll be disaponited. So go on and get a copy before I beat you. GO NOW.
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Loved the message.
manendra-lodhi5 July 2012
The film is again a treat for animation lovers. It is very nice in every sense. In the middle though I felt that everything is happening nicely and so it felt like monotonous. But I must say that the film delivers a very important message in the end, which is the essence of the whole film. The supporting characters are all very nicely inserted. What I liked the most in the film was the positive vibes all the time of viewing which makes an optimistic environment around you. And the character faces trouble also, but in such a way that you will never feel angered on any character. The antagonist type thing is not present in the film and that is an important reason why I felt nice during watching it. The film teaches you about hope and self-belief.

"A must watch for everyone."
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See the Disney version, then find the original
TPK12 April 1999
I've been a fan of the original "Majo no takkyubin" for a long time, and I've been extremely pessimistic about American dubs of Japanese animation, which have ranged from barely tolerable to scrape-it-off-your-shoe terrible. When I heard Disney had bought distribution rights, I wondered whether a big-name animation studio would do right by this film.

Well, I've now seen the Disney version and I'm a little disappointed. Like most other American studios, Disney assumes that anything animated must be aimed solely at children under five. Much of the charm and subtlety of the original film is lost in this dubbed version, and in a few places the translation just plain doesn't make sense. Phil Hartman is funny as the smart-alecky Jiji, and despite his frequent ad-libs, the part comes off reasonably well. But if you've seen and liked the Disney version of this film, do yourself a favor and dig up the original Japanese (subtitled) version. You'll see what Hayao Miyazaki really wanted you to see.
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Great film for pre-teen girls. Good dubbing for a change.
Jeremy Bristol31 May 2001
Though not as entertaining for real young children as Miyazaki's My Neighbor Totoro, pre-teens with a long attention span (nearly two hours) and who prefer pacing and atmosphere over flashing lights and singing characters will likely love this movie. Though certainly not a feminist movie, KDS provides a positive (if old-fashioned) role model for young women. Unlike most American films, the movie shows a girl realizing her own power as a person not chanting feel-good slogans ("I am not a victim" American Beauty) but through hard work and being herself.

As part of her witch training, when Kiki turns thirteen she has to live away from home for a year. After some sweet (but not saccharine) scenes with the mother and father, Kiki flies off on her broom, careening off trees and bridges. She falls asleep in a train and finds herself near a town on the sea. Since there are no witches there, Kiki chooses the town. As it turns out, though, not everyone is fond of witches. Don't worry, this isn't Salem. They only do what Japanese tend to do with unwanted guests--they ignore her. After finding a foster home, Kiki decides to set up an air delivery service.

For the most part, the movie is only thinly plotted (or heavily plotted, depending on your view). The main focus is on Kiki's emotions, although to Americans they may seem rather subdued because they are not underlined (this is a Japanese movie, after all). In one of the more overtly emotional scenes, she sheds a couple of tears because of a mixture of happy and sad emotions and then suddenly smiles. Kiki does get overly excited at times, just like most girls her age, and in the Japanese version she continually says "taihen" ("tough" or "difficult") whenever she's running late or has trouble controlling her broom. Her less overt emotions are caught on closer inspection: watch for the bathroom scene, the "oh my god I almost died" scene, and the scene when she walks by a group of giggling girls.

Also, keep an eye out for references to The Wizard of Oz.

Kirstin Dunst as Kiki does a great job pretending that she's thirteen instead of about sixteen. And the sound technicians do a fantastic job varying the voice track so that it doesn't sound flat (I never knew what an important job sound technicians had until I watched the dubbed version of Ghost in the Shell and compared it to the original version). Phil Hartman (in his last role) does a very strange take on the normally high-pitched Jiji, Kiki's black cat. Matthew Lawrence as Kiki's boy friend isn't bad, and neither is Debbie Reynolds as an elderly client. Honestly, none of the dubbing is bad (except the never-seen father of a young boy, who is just over-the-top in a scene that was subdued and thoughtful in the Japanese version).
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Beautiful Artwork Highlights This Young Girl's Story
ccthemovieman-12 August 2008
This is a nice story for small girls but even an old man like me could appreciate the fabulous colors in here. Man, this is one of the prettiest animated films I've seen. Hundreds of shots in here reminded me of beautiful paintings, from the pastel-colored roofs on the city houses to the great rural scenes.

The story is a simple one: a 13-year-old witch takes off on her broom for a year of training. We follow her as she learns the ropes and goes to several towns where people befriend her, and she learns the importance of friendships herself, particular with a young boy who has a crush on her. Like I said, it's young girl stuff, but there are no villains, no scary parts, no language problems.....just a nice story, and there's nothing wrong with that! The only major change I would have made would be to make Kiki a more likable kid. She's downright cold and nasty, for no reason, to the boy, until the end. I didn't find her to be a character you could really care about, and that shouldn't have been.

Which version to use: Japanese with English subtitles, or the dubbed American Disney version?

I went back-and-forth with this and wound up with the dubbed. The major difference was Phil Hartman was much more effective as the cat and made that character much funnier. Both little girls' voices were almost like chalk on a blackboard for me, tough to take. Also, I've never liked Jeneane Garofolo or her voice. Nonetheless, I think most North Americans will pick the dubbed version, and that's okay.
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A Charming Story Of Innocence, Kindness And Stamina
Chrysanthepop26 February 2009
I have loved all of Miyazaki's films that I've seen so far. He is one of my favourite directors and I believe one of the best out there. While the animation is amazing and the characters are colourful, the best thing about his films is that they have heart.

Miyazaki's beautiful 'Majo no takkyûbin' tells the story of a young witch who travels to a new city in order to make it on her own. The sheer beauty of this film lies in its simplicity, subtlety and detailed animation. It is truly a solid example of cinematic art. There is nothing complex about the story and the characters are very easy to relate to. They are wonderfully drawn. There is an innocence and purity about it that shines through. The vivacious European city is stunning to look at. Miyazaki's attention to detail is positively astonishing. There's always something happening in the background. The music flows beautifully with the story and setting as it adds to the mood.

Needless to say 'Majo no takkyûbin' is another gem from the Studio Ghibli factory. It's one of those movies I never tire of revisiting and one that draws a smile on the face. Those in search of something uplifting should give this one a chance otherwise you don't know what you're missing.
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A warm, charming and thoroughly enjoyable film.
MattGrif24 November 1998
"Kiki's Delivery Service", the first of the Disney releases of Hayao Miyazaki's films, is a choice well made; if there were one film that typifies Miyazaki's unique style of storytelling, then this is it. It is not the most complicated, nor the most technically impressive of his works, but it possesses a charm and warmth that can be found in all of the director's films, before and since.

In recent years, viewers of Disney's home-produced films have come to know what to expect of their films. In the eyes of anyone older than about 14, a Disney film (and indeed, the majority of western animated features) consists of a formula-driven story falling into the familiar hero-versus-villain pattern. Viewers expecting the same fare from "Kiki's Delivery Service" will be either disappointed, or pleasantly surprised.

"Kiki's Delivery Service" is the tale of a young apprentice witch, who, along with all witches when they turn 13, must leave home for 1 year to train alone. Kiki, whose best and only skill is flying, ups broomstick and leaves for a coastal town, where she befriends a bakery owner who suggests she uses her talent to set up a delivery service for the townsfolk.

In comparison to the 'blockbuster' animated films, "Kiki"'s pace is sedate, and for this reason younger viewers with a taste for frenetic action scenes and characters bursting spontaneously into song may well lose interest. Instead of the paint-by-numbers heroes and villains of usual animation stock, the characters of "Kiki's Delivery Service", like all of Miyazaki's films, have a depth and realism rarely found elsewhere - they could, by all rights, be real people with genuine thoughts and feelings, dreams and fears. What this film delivers, by way of its fresh outlook and thoughtful screenplay, is a warmth and delight that leaves you feeling uplifted by the end of the movie. For anyone looking for a light, charming and inoffensive piece of escapism, this is second to none.

Whilst "Kiki's Delivery Service" cannot match the big-budget animated features for in-your-face visual impact, the film carries its own style; every scene bears intricately-rendered backgrounds bursting with colour and detail. The character animation is, however, unremarkable, and anyone au-fait with other Miyazaki films will find the styling of the characters very familiar - something which can be attributed to the fact that Miyazaki not only writes and directs, but also designs the characters. That said, Miyazaki's films strive to avoid the shortcuts often found in eastern animation, and the city streets bustle with activity in even the simplest of scenes.

As to be expected from a Disney release, the voices of the characters are near spot-on; no easy task when considering that the English dialogue is dubbed onto an existing picture. Kirsten Dunst (of "Jumanji" and "Small Soldiers") lends Kiki a delightful innocence which befits the character perfectly, and the late Phil Hartman (who "Simpsons" fans will recognise as the voices of Troy McLure and Lionel Hutz) provides a witty and sarcastic turn as her black cat, Jiji. Likewise, the voices of the other characters feel and sound 'natural' - you would be hard pressed to tell that the film had been over-dubbed.

"Kiki's Delivery Service" is not a film that will ever be as recognised, as publicly lauded or as widely merchandised as the latest cinematic feature animation, but its quiet charm and genuine inspiration lend it a presence and credibility as a work of art as well as entertainment.
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tanis_3816 October 2001
I happened to catch this movie on The Disney Channel last night. I had heard good things about it from my friends, but it's overall theme just seemed too kiddie for me to watch. But since Princess Monoke happens to be my all time favorite Anime, I decided to give it a chance.

Wow! I was blown away. Hayao Miyazaki is a genius and a true master of his craft. The animation is beautiful. Miyazaki adds so many little details to the animation that other movies don't bother with, that really sets his movies apart and gives them an amazingly real, natural feel to them. I was amazed by the scenes of Kiki flying on her broom; you really get a sense of flight unsurpassed by any other movie I've ever seen.

I was surprised I enjoyed this movie as much as I did. If you judge it from its cover you aren't giving it a chance. A story about a 13 year old witch who leaves her home to begin her training. Alright, that sounds like a great plot for a target audience of girls in the 6-13 year range. I'm a 24 year old male and I can't recommend this movie enough.

Go out and rent this movie as soon as possible. I saw the dubbed pan&scan version on t.v. and I thought the dubbing was actually pretty good. And I'm a die-hard subtitled anime fan. So do yourself a favor, rent this movie, and enjoy the experience. You won't regret it.
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My favorite Ghibli
GeneralSurprise24 October 2005

Pay attention, because you won't hear many guys my age say this: It's adorable. Yeah, I said it. I'm not ashamed. This movie is fantastic!

While it may be a rehashed version of a popular Japanese book, our buddy Miyazaki gave it an excellent treatment. Production costs for this movie almost broke Ghibli's bank in 1989, and it shows. It looks great, it sounds great, and it feels great.

We start with a young witch named Kiki. She's closing the gap on 13, which is the time when young witches must leave home and forge a life of their own for one full year. After a bittersweet "goodbye," she finds herself in a beautiful oceanside town. At first, she's treated with bewildered looks and sneers (after all, how crazy would it be if some random little girl on a broom started buzzing around YOUR house?). But before long, she institutes a flying delivery service and becomes a local star.

Every bit of this movie is worth watching. I have nothing negative to say at all. From first frame to last, it's a classic. No, a legend.
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Another Miyazaki Masterpiece
squee-514 November 2004
Once again Miyazaki shines. The simplicity and honesty of his characters brings a humanity that most directors can't achieve with real people. This film is no exception. Its basic coming-of-age story coupled with Miyazaki's eye for detail and a hint of magic, make this movie fun for all ages.

A must see for all those who think anime is merely giant robots destroying cities or sexy young ladies being ravaged by hideous monsters. Miyazaki brings a whole new dimension to the genre that should be more accessible to western audiences.

Comparable to the great Akira Kurosawa, Miyazaki is one director who shouldn't be overlooked.
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An Enchanting Witch's Tale
Tweekums4 April 2008
Warning: Spoilers
It is hard to find any faults with this film, which isn't surprising given that it was made by Hayao Miyazaki. The film is beautiful from start to finish and suitable for all ages; there is no violence or offensive language, there isn't even a villain. The only character that isn't nice is an ungrateful child.

While it might sound excessively sweet it never feels that way. Likewise the plot might sound a bit boring it is in fact utterly enchanting.

The film starts with Kiki leaving home with her cat Jiji for a year's witch training that must be done somewhere that there are no other witches. The problem for Kiki is that she can't cast spells or make potions, her only skill is being able to fly so when she gets to a city she starts up a delivery service. The film shows her delivering various items and making friends along the way in particular a baker who lends Kiki a spare room, Ursula, an artist and Tombo a boy who admires Kiki but whom she initially isn't too keen on.

Later on she begins to lose what skills she has and starts to worry that she will never get them back but when they are needed she finds she can fly once more.

This review is based on the Japanese version with English subtitles, as I've not watched the English dub I can't say if it is as good.
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"We each need to find our own inspiration, Kiki. Sometimes it's not easy."
G_a_l_i_n_a27 September 2007
Kiki, a 13-year-old restless, spontaneous, brave, and kind girl is witch-in-training. She follows the traditions of her craft that require her to fly away using a broom as the means of transportation from her loving family and friends on a yearlong journey to complete her apprenticeship. She will need to find a place where no one knows her and to support herself while becoming a full-fledged witch - just like her mother did when she was 13. It's a charming as well as highly entertaining story of self-discovery, taking responsibilities, becoming independent and mature, and following and achieving one's dreams. The film is (I will not be original and just repeat what countless reviews have said already) breathtakingly beautiful. I've been watching movies all my life, and I've seen thousands but rarely have I wanted to stay and live in the imaginative movie's world. Hayao Miyazaki's kind and magical, lovely and sweet without being sappy or patronizing animation made me dream of the place like Korico. I did not want to leave the romantic magic seaside town that Kiki and her ironic talking black cat Jiji chose to stay, where everyone (well, almost) seems to respect, like, and to help to one another, where Kiki established reliable "Witch Express Delivery" using her flying skills and where "the things are sometimes difficult but she is fine". Yes, I wanted to stay in the dreamy sparkling world that Hayao Miyazaki created by the gentle power of his incomparable talent.

I want to join millions of grateful viewers and to thank Walt Disney Company for having introduced the films of Hayao Miyazaki to the rest of the world. They are invaluable treasure and will be enjoyed equally by the adults and the children. I also appreciate the choice Disney Company provided releasing on the same disk the dubbed version and the original Japanese one with the English subtitles.
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Simply magical
MartinHafer11 June 2007
This is an amazing movie that seems to get better with repeated viewings. Both my kids loved it so much, that we watched it many times, but oddly I didn't become tired of this cheery and unusual full-length cartoon.

When the film began, one of the first things I noticed was the strange parallel world style of the artwork. It was if it was some OTHER planet Earth, where many of our towns are somehow merged into a mythical land that looks like Earth yet isn't. While there were many Japanese references, the towns looked rather European as well--like Denmark perhaps. Plus, in this parallel world, inventions of the early 20th century like zeppelins live on and people are NOT that amazed or scared at the prospect of a witch moving into town! As for the quality of this film, the animation, voices and story are terrific and exciting. While I have heard many refer to director Miyazaki as "the Japanese Disney", this isn't very accurate, as the style of his films is so very different from American animation--not better, not worse--just different.

So overall, this is about as good as you'll get for an anime movie and it should appeal to all ages provided they are open-minded enough to give a foreign film a try.
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Beautiful, uplifting, and yes, magical.
JTurner8220 March 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I used to believe that Anime was nothing but sex and violence -- stuff for grown-ups only. However, I take it back. And I owe it to this cute little gem called KIKI'S DELIVERY SERVICE that really turned me around for the better. It introduced me to arguably one of the greatest animators of all time, Hayao Miyazaki, who happens to be dubbed as the Walt Disney of Japan. Having since seen virtually ALL of his films, from THE CASTLE OF CAGLIOSTRO to SPIRITED AWAY (and eagerly awaiting HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE), I can see why he is such a highly acclaimed artist -- his works (and I mean every one of them) are a stroke of genius.

KIKI'S DELIVERY SERVICE may have been my first real exposure to Miyazaki, but this happens to be the director's fifth film, which was the highest grossing movie of its year in Japan. Adapted from a children's book by Eiko Kadono (recently released in America), the film is not a typical good-versus-evil conflicted, dysfunctional story but a gentle, character-driven story with endearing characters, beautiful artistry, and a strong, positive message about confidence and independence that are quite encouraging for all, from the youngest of children to the oldest at heart. (On a side note, it persuaded me to get some exercise! The "fat, fat, FAT!!!" line did it for me.) The story is about 13-year old Kiki, an adorable witch-in-training, who, on one moonlit night, leaves her hometown to seek her independence and fortune. She's accompanied by her wisecracking and hilarious pet black cat, Jiji, and a little wobbly when it comes to takeoffs and landings while maneuvering her broomstick. Kiki arrives at a luxurious town with an ocean view where she eventually finds work at a bakery run by the generous Osono and her silent, gruff husband. There, she starts a high-flying delivery service which opens up many new relationships for the budding witch -- including a friendly painter, Ursula, a kind old woman, Madame, and a boy named Tombo, who dreams of flying.

The above synopsis may sound dull, but KIKI'S DELIVERY SERVICE certainly is not. It is a joy to watch from start to finish as we see Kiki slowly grow up and learn to have faith in herself, especially when her powers begin to fade away toward the end of the movie. It's engrossing enough to keep one's attention and there are a number of tear-jerking moments that make it more than just a movie. This is a characteristic you'll only be able to find in Miyazaki, and KIKI'S DELIVERY SERVICE "delivers" a wonderful movie which shows that movies don't have to be about overcoming evil or action-packed or angst-ridden to be entertaining.

The movie was originally dubbed into English by Carl Macek of Streamline Pictures. I have not seen that version, but this Disney dub features an all-star cast who do a truly excellent job with their roles. Thirteen-year-old Kirsten Dunst is perfect as Kiki, eliciting just the right touch of cuteness, spunkiness, independence, and poignancy to her role. The other actors, which include Debbie Reynolds (Madame), Tress MacNeille - of Tiny Toons and Animaniacs fame - (Osono), Jeanane Garofolo (Ursula), and Matthew Lawrence (Tombo), give similarly superb performances. Of the actors, however, it is the late Phil Hartman's witty, sarcastic take on Jiji that steals the show. I understand that some folks were offended at Hartman's performance and added-in lines, but if you have no such issues, then this is only extra icing on the cake -- especially when he does it so well. I swear, I just cannot get enough laughs every time I hear his lines. "First, don't panic! Second, don't panic! And third, did I mention not to panic?!?" The opening and ending songs were replaced by two gorgeous, rollicking numbers from Sydney Forest, but even they seem to suit the story wonderfully. In fact, I find myself bouncing to them every time they pop up over the opening and closing credits of the show. For you purists, the Japanese language track features the original songs (though there is a continuous debate about the subtitles being inaccurate, that's a very minor complaint) and credit presentation.

All in all, KIKI'S DELIVERY SERVICE is a gem that should not be missed and deserves to be well-known in America as it is in Japan. I highly -- and I do mean VERY HIGHLY -- recommend it.
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An inspiration.
gnta5310 September 2004
Again, Haiyo Miazaki and Walt Disney Animation have created a masterpiece. Kiki's Delivery Service is an inspiration to me as an artist. The movie concentrates on a young, innocent witch who leaves home for training after she has turned thirteen years old. When she finds a town near the ocean that she LOVES, she decides to stay there. When she gets there, she has trouble finding a place to live. Until she meets a nice woman who takes her in in exchange for doing some chores for the bakery the woman runs in her home. Kiki starts a delivery business inside the bakery. "Kiki's Flying Delivery Service". Above all, this is a great movie. The music is great, the animation is beautiful, the story is fantastic, the voices and the overdubbing are great, the characters are lovable. What more could you want from an anime? Overall, I rate it a 9 out of 10.
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best movie from the best anime director
attackthegasstation200018 October 2002
I fell in love with this movie when i saw it on the disney channel. The artwork is beautiful of course. A guy like me watching a little kid movie is not my thing well this is no kidde movie. It appeal to young adults and old adults. It just gave me a good feeling when i watch this movie it is so peaceful. From the first scene when kiki lookng at the sky laying on the gas when the wind blowing -its so beautiful. kiki is just a loveable character and also jiji the talking cat. I seen the dubb version and subtitled version. Well disney did a wonderfull job with the dubbing with voice talent of Kirsten Durst. But i perfer the subtitle version because it doesnt change any of the lines and the voice gave a better feeling. disney just change a few line but they did it to match the lips.

GET this movie both version now !!!
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A tribute to Japanese Animation!
Fiss17 March 1999
Many people can claim to be fans of Anime, or Japanese Animation. It's been forced into the North American public by companies like Manga, US Corps and now, even Disney.

Movies like Akira shocked the people...bringing surreal story and amazing animation to the screen. Many others followed that simply blew away the animation and realism of American cartoons.

But then they started to suck. Bad. Over-produced to feed the masses.

And so, when I rented Kiki's Delivery Service, I was kinda expecting to be let down. Knowing it would probably be some spoon-fed animation to appeal to the 3-6 year olds.

Boy, was I wrong. This movie was simply amazing. The animation was wonderful. Not too cartoony, but not too jagged and harsh. Everything flowed smoothly and looked great. The story was AMAZING. It was what really shone. Subtle lessons at life that even got me, a nineteen-year-old computer engineer, cheering for Kiki. It is intelligent, thoughtful, and sweet to the max.

Though this movie is the near exact opposite from all those mechanoid blood-baths and samurai show-downs that populate most of the Anime world...this simple little movie...with the great voice of Phil Hartman I might add...actually got me interested in Anime again.

Check it out. Even if you're just in it for the cats, you won't be disappointed. ^_^
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A movie that appeals to adults as well as children.
jdsbuck22 November 2000
Warning: Spoilers
What can I say about this movie that will accurately express how I feel about it? It works so well on so many levels, both for children and adults. Since much has been said about children already, I'll talk about its adult appeal.

During much of the movie Kiki experiences a kind of personal crisis. Trying not to reveal any spoilers, I'll just say that the crisis itself will appeal to anyone who is an artist, because all artists (including myself, a writer) have gone through what she does.

There is no villain in this movie, but there doesn't have to be. The climax is inspiring and hair-raising, and has kept me coming back to watch it again and again.

See this movie, dubbed or subtitled.
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