English: Kiki's Delivery Service
Synonyms: Witch's Express Delivery
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Jul 29, 1989
1 hr. 45 min.
G - All Ages
L represents licensing company
Score: 8.251 (scored by 67320 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
adventure comedy fantasy ghibli magic slice of life
SynopsisKiki is an enterprising young girl who must follow tradition to become a full-fledged witch. Venturing out with only her chatty black cat, Jiji, Kiki flies off for the adventure of a lifetime. Landing in a far-off city, she sets up a high-flying delivery service and begins a wonderful experience of independence and responsibility as she finds her place in the world.
Characters & Voice Actors
Having seen a great number of anime movies, many people are surprised when I tell them that out of them all, Majo no Takkyuubin (or 'Kiki's Delivery Service', as it is also commonly known by) is my favorite. There are multiple reasons why, but I won't let this become a monologue of favoritism being preached at you. Instead, I'm going to give it an objective, in-depth, review. But, keep in mind that, as this movie is actually rather simple and uncomplicated, "in-depth" (for this particular movie) is not very complicated at all.
First, a tiny bit of background...
Majo no Takkyuubin is loosely based off of a children's novel written by Eiko Kadono and was ultimately directed by the world-famous Hayao Miyazaki. Miyazaki had previously put Sunao Katabuchi (now well known as the screenwriter for 'Black Lagoon' - a great anime that couldn't be more different in vibe from this lighthearted movie) in charge as director, but he eventually backed out. As such, Miyazaki took up the reins.
And now on to the review (number ratings for the individual segments, such as "Sound" and "Enjoyment", will be given at the end)...
It's an extremely simple story, and therein lies a major part of the film's strength. I won't reiterate anything that was in the synopsis that has already been so kindly provided. All you need to know aside from that - to go along with it - is that it takes place in an alternate, war-free Europe (in which witches exist) during what appears to be the 1940/50s.
The movie is well-paced, neither slow nor fast. It goes at a nice medium pace and gives you plenty of room to relax, soak up the world presented, and to enjoy the adventure Kiki goes on.
There are a few "coincidences" that happen in the story. They're necessary for the story to move forward since its only an hour and forty five minutes long. The nice thing is that they don't come across as sudden or completely unexpected, but rather as natural. Other than that, I can find no real flaws to nit-pick at concerning plot progression.
For a movie made almost right before the beginning of the 90's, the level of quality is very high. But, as this movie was made by Studio Ghibli (famous in part, for extremely high production values) that isn't entirely surprising. Since Kiki is a witch and is in flight for a good portion of the movie, there is a lot of birds-eye view scenery. This is the part of the animation that stuck out the most to me (others may feel differently). Studio Ghibli never skimped on delivering absolutely gorgeous backgrounds that were original every time she took flight. No recycled animation here.
The in-town scenes were well-done too. People on the sidewalks, great, realistic looking buildings, lighting, etc. The scenes with lots of motion show no drops in quality either. Inspiration for the locations of the film (especially the buildings) came from Stockholm, the Swedish island of Gotland and Adelaide, South Australia. I've only ever seen Takkyubin in DVD quality, but can imagine how fantastic it must look in blue-ray. I'm going to need to look into obtaining an all-region Japanese blue-ray sometime soon.
The characters, of course, have the typical Ghibli art style. Not that this is a bad thing at all, as I personally am a fan of their style. If you've seen any other Ghibli film, then you know what to expect. If not, then just know that odds are you'll like it - it's very clean, high quality, and pleasing to the eye.
The greatest thing about the score in this movie is that, rather than the music influencing the scene, it almost seems to let the scene influence the music. Every track is fitting for the time in the film in which it plays and compliments, but does not overwhelm, the current happenings. This is a blessing if you're (like me) one who tacks importance on the music in a movie. And who could forget the songs that play once Kiki leaves home and at the end of the movie - both fitting, sweet, and very enjoyable.
The voice acting in the original Japanese is well done. Each voice fits each character very well, and all the voice actors did a great job at emoting. The English dub (namely the 1998 dub by Disney) is still good, but lacks some of the warmth and humor of the Japanese. Though, I have to give the best performance of that English version to Phil Hartman as Jiji (Kiki's talking black cat). Beware though, if you watch it in Japanese and then in the 1998 English version, you may or may not like Hartman's take on Jiji, as it's very different from the original.
There was a new English dub created for the 2010 American re-release, but I can't comment on it as I have not seen that version. From my experience, I suggest Japanese with English Subs for your first viewing of Takkyuubin - not because I'm some Japanese dub purist, but because it seems to be the most natural and unforced listening experience amongst the two I've seen. But, who knows, the 2010 English dub might be really good...
Part of the experience of this movie is meeting the supporting characters and being introduced to their various personalities and quirks, so I won't talk in detail about anyone other than our main two: Kiki and Jiji - just know that all the supporting characters are great.
First we have Kiki, our main character. Kiki is a fun-loving, polite, responsible, though still immature (in a cute way) thirteen year old girl/witch. She tries hard and is lots of fun to watch. She goes through a decent amount of character development over the course of the movie as she works hard and meets new people.
And we also have Jiji, the wisecracking, timid, talking black cat that is the pet of Kiki. He comes with her on her journey and has a little character development of his own.
As you can tell, I enjoyed Takkyuubin immensely. It's a movie that the entire family can watch: it's cute, charming, funny, adventurous and full of this feeling that can only be described as "wholesome". It's a lot like that feeling you get by living in a great, loving, small town where almost everyone knows everyone and there's barely any tension (if you've ever lived in a small town like that). It's hard to describe.
Overall, it's a fantastic achievement in film, though there's no guarantee that you'll like it, because tastes differ. But if you're the kind of person that likes calm shows and movies, slice-of-life, adventure, cute stories or any combination of those four, chances are that this is something you'll really enjoy and be able to immerse yourself in. Or, if your looking for something as a pleasant, fun-filled, breather from more intense anime movies or series, 'Majo no Takkyuubin' will do you fine.
*This review may contain some very slight spoilers*
Kiki's Delivery Service resonates with me more than any other movie I've seen. Filled with inspiration, warmth and tenderness, it's perhaps the best example of a coming-of-age story I've seen in anime to date. While most Ghibli fans prefer the likes of Spirited Away or Mononoke Hime, and while I love and adore those films passionately, I personally feel that Kiki's Delivery Service is their best work, and Miyazaki's best directed film.
Everything about this movie just brings me a smile and always brings me up when I feel down. What makes this movie great is that it doesn't have huge ambition; it's not here to tell you about the consequences of relying too much on technology, or destroying the natural earth, confronting the spirits of the forest. Of life. But it's simply the story of a young girl coming to terms with growing up and living in an entirely new town with total strangers. Transitioning from the comfort of her quiet country side hometown, to the hustle and bustle of an urban area.
Being independent for the first time is a terrifying experience for anyone, but it's also enlightening, as you can learn more about yourself and others than you thought. Kiki's Delivery Service showcases those ups and downs brilliantly. From an awkward introduction to baffled strangers on the streets, to starting her own business and befriending her clients, to meeting the owner of a Bakery who immediately shows a keen interest in the young girl, taking the role of a sort of mother figure to her. You meet all sorts of characters in this movie, all of them with an interesting or realistic characteristic. From a gruff looking, but gentle husband of the Bakery owner, to a boy who is extremely passionate about flight and aircrafts(even attempting to lodge a propeller onto his bike to try to get some air) who develops an immediate infatuation with Kiki, to a painter who takes comfort living in the middle of the woods, befriending the hordes of crows that live in it.
And then there is Kiki herself; at first glance she is cheerful, if a little naive. Honest, yet surprisingly old fashioned("It's not polite to ask a persons name without introducing yourself first!"). The thing I love about her character is that she's so many things, so many qualities that show how much of a varied, complex, but very realistic character she really is. She isn't a spoiled brat, she isn't selfish, she isn't annoying. She's simply a little girl with her own quirks and principals.
The film showcases the joys and pains of growing up finding your place in the world. At one point, she wearily laments the fact that she doesn't have pretty dresses, and she cannot afford that sparkling pair of red shoes that she gazes at through the window of a clothes shop. She sees her friend Tombo chatting and laughing with girls, sparking an immediate sense of jealousy from Kiki due to her insecurities.
She wants nice things, she wants to wear a nice dress, she wants to talk to boys and make friends. But cannot afford it, nor does she have the time. She simply desires a lot of what girls probably want at that age or slightly older. It's what makes her human and convincing as a character.
Even if you're not the same age group, or even gender, I feel that a lot of us have lived through moments where we feel so unsure of ourselves, feeling a sense of loneliness and isolation in the process.
And even though she goes through times of insecurity, depression and feeling like she's in a rut. She also befriends and meets many people that find her remarkably charming, sweet and sincere. She experiences friendships, success in her business and feeling accomplished.
The music, composed by the master himself, Joe Hisaishi. Is nothing short of perfect, the soundtrack has a very distinct European sound to it, also induces a large sense of nostalgia. From the early 60s pop sound of the opening, to the tender folk ballad of the ending. The soundtrack compliments nearly every scene in the movie to considerable effect. As expected!
The animation and designs are also incredibly top notch. It's crisp, it's clear(I just recently purchased the bluray version), it brilliantly showcases the varied areas and backgrounds. Everything is just straight up gorgeous. The town itself, Koriko, an ideal version of a pre-WWII Northern European city is one of my favorite designed places in fiction. To the hectic main-roads, the quiet alleyways and side areas you could casually stroll through, to the gorgeous beaches and scenery. It's very romantic and exhilarating. I would personally love to live in a city like this.
Despite what it does right, does it do anything wrong? Well, I wouldn't have minded if the movie went a bit more into the witch culture. In the story, when 12-13, a witch must leave her town and spend a year elsewhere, growing and learning, broadening their horizons essentially. But it's not really explained too much, but this is simply a nitpick as the film is more about Kiki and her experiences than all that.
There's a certain warmth to this film that makes it feel like you're revisiting an old friend. I find it difficult to find any major faults in this movie. I've grown up watching it on tv dozens of times, and later in life revisiting it, only to truly then realize how special this film is to me. I never said that I would be objective or impartial in this review, that would be pointless and a disservice to the film. Kiki's Delivery Service makes you passionate, or just really happy and relaxed, whichever works for you.
It's anime like this that proves to me yet again that animation can be a wonderful expression of art. If you've never seen this film, do yourself a favor and do so soon. Set up some free time during a quiet weekend afternoon and let yourself be enveloped in tenderness.
Any constructive feedback is appreciated on this review!
Both of these movies have magical themes. Kiki's Delivery Service is slower progressing and dragged a bit in the middle of the movie and Spirited Away is more fast-paced. Kiki's Delivery Service is more basic but they are by the same director and are both very fun to watch.
Both Anime take supernatural elements and tell delightful and charming story. One bases the supernatural elements off the Western culture found in Europe and the other is based off Japan. They also have a historical element of something that has been lost.
Both have the same director.
Both of the characters(which are female) are moving away from home. They both struggle with different situations on their own. And somewhere along they are helped by friends/neighbors.
Basically, young female characters wandering around a fantasy land. In the end they both become strong and independant :]
If you liked the overall feel of Whisper of The Heart, then you will defiantly like Kiki's Delivery Service. Both are Ghibli movies(although Whisper of the Heart isn't directed by Miyazaki), about a girl on a journey to find her place in the world, be who she wants to be, and find love(more so in Whisper of the Heart). Both are in a relaxing setting, where nothing moves too fast or too slow, and both have great themes of life(growing up, being yourself, love,dreams,etc).Shizuku and Kiki are both similar in personality. Both are movies that will leave an impact on you of some sort, and will leave you with a good feeling inside.
Whisper of The Heart has a spin-off story called The Cat Returns.
Kiki's Delivery Service feels a little more finished(Whisper of The Heart feels like it should have had 5-10 more minutes of movie before the ending)
Whisper of The Heart is more realistic, while Kiki's Delivery Service has magic.
Both have surprising facts(Whisper of The Hearts OP is a Japanese version of an American folk song, and the ED for Kiki's Delivery Service is later covered by Maaya Sakamoto for the OVA(soon to be TV adapted) Tamayura).
Tales of young women finding their passions.
While Kiki is a more fantastical story, the two stories both have slice of life elements, gorgeous Ghibli scenery, realistic and charming female protagonists, and of course, adorable cat characters!
Both films are great for kids, especially girls.
Opening Theme"Rouge no Dengon (ルージュの伝言; Message of Rouge)" by Yumi Arai
"Soaring" by Sydney Forest
Ending Theme"I'm Gonna Fly" by Sydney Forest
"Yasashisa ni Tsutsumareta nara (やさしさに包まれたなら)" by Yumi Arai
Which fansubbers do you like the best? Click + to approve of their subs for this show. Click - if you don't think they did such a great job.
Oga [Oga] (Brazilian Portuguese)
HayaiSUB [Hayaisubs] (Brazilian Portuguese)
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