Having just turned thirteen years of age, Kiki is bound by tradition to leave her home in search of a new city to train to be a full-fledged witch. Her mother worries for her; times have changed, and the world isn’t as receptive to witches, particularly those so young. With her trusty black cat Jiji by her side, the young Kiki sets out to claim her stake in adulthood. Never was she prepared, however, for how difficult it is to be independent.
summary by Kain
Highs: Beautiful art; likable characters; Miyazaki magic
Lows: Feels unfinished; some moments don’t segue well
Kiki’s Delivery Service has endless appeal, even outside of Japan. Miyazaki hits it right on the mark, as usual, though his method of storytelling differs from his other works this time around.
The artwork and animation? Wow. Colors are vibrant and lush, the movements of the people authentic and convincing, and the city which the movie takes place in is portrayed in endless detail. And when I mean endless, I mean every person is painstakingly animated to make it seem you are right in the center of a bustling metropolis. Fantastic.
The ending comes so abruptly that the anime feels unfinished. I was so craving a better way of tying up all the loose ends I nearly cried aloud for a sequel. No deal, says industry insiders, as of this writing. Ah well. Also, the movie seems to lack a consistent flow; each scene has an episodic feel which doesn’t suit a movie format well, in my opinion.
Then again, it’s hard to fault an anime that manages to make a story work that has absolutely no antagonist to speak of. No bad guys, no good versus evil. The plot revolves around a girl trying to gain her independence. Only Ghibli can make something so prosaic so entertaining.
I have never turned away a Studio Ghibli anime before, nor do I intend to start now. Buy it and enjoy!
Highs: Spellbinding story that doesn’t act as one; sincere personalities; meticulous artwork
Lows: Fleeting finish; the packaging could have been lemon scented
The anti-cliché movie par excellence. The storyline includes no evil forces at work, no perfect hero on a quest to save the world… just a girl and her cat trying to get by. Take that, Hollywood! How refreshing it is to witness such a meek masterpiece that subtly and unassumingly displays many of life’s universal themes.
A most simple tale engendering so many emotions… this can only be accomplished once every blue moon. Some may feel Kiki‘s simplicity makes it incomparable to classic stories of epic proportion such as Laputa or Nausicaä. However, there is so much focus on character development and the way Kiki struggles over everyday problems that you really get inside her skin. This gives a completely new meaning to mundane plights and makes the smallest little hill look like a mountain to the viewer. Not many people can aim at perfection in portraying characters, but I think Miyazaki takes us as close as possible with this work of art.
But what allows us to connect with Kiki’s Delivery Service as much? Ghibli’s usual and fastidious attention to detail is the answer. From cityscapes and scenery to the most commonplace object or facial expression, all the anodyne little imperfections of the world which some take for granted are intentionally added everywhere to create an entire universe of beauty and realism. Characters are also imbued with minutiae. Their personalities just jump right at you regardless of if they even pronounce a single word.
Children, shmildren: this anime has something for anyone and everyone. Never to me has a movie felt so good and so right. A longer cool down period would have been appreciated much like a nice dessert after a hearty meal but it is no use being fussy, Kiki’s Delivery Service is worth the money tenfold and will assuredly bring out the 13-year-old witch inside of all of you.
Kiki’s Delivery Service can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.