Studio Ghibli Challenge #5: Kiki's Delivery Service (1989) Anime Movie Review
Updated: Oct 24, 2022
As a child growing up, we encounter several adversities and insecurities that we have to move on from in order for us to be better as a person. Or just to be mature as an individual.
Kiki's Delivery Service is a story about growing up, facing your fears, and overcoming insecurities. It is a story about a 13-year-old witch trainee named Kiki. In order for her to become a full-fledged witch, she needs to venture out, learn and explore the world. Together with her talking black cat, Jiji, and her flying broomstick she leaves home and stumbles upon a port city where she would stay and learn. While looking for accommodation she met Osono, a pregnant female baker who is kind enough to let her stay. Looking for something either to repay Osono or to use her flying abilities, she decides to open up a small business named "Kiki's Delivery Service". However, things don't go as planned as some of her deliveries don't go as planned and sooner her self-esteem gets affected. Not only does it affect her day-to-day activities but also her powers as well.
This is once again one of Hayao Miyazaki's legendary works. Easy-to-understand and truly magnificent storyline. This is easily Hall-of-Fame quality.
I think out of all Studio Ghibli heroines, the character of Kiki is the most relatable. I mean at least at some point in our lives, we are like her, and just like her character we also overcame our adversities. How easily we get swayed by certain things like how we dress up, what society thinks of us, etc. And by overcoming it we become better people.
The characters in this movie are all very relatable. Jiji is like a cool little friend who supports us along the way, and Osono and her wife are like those that guide us to the right path. This film is very well done and all of these important characters are introduced very well. I don't think there is a cast in this film that is unlikeable and that's what makes it amazing.
The animation again is a step above his previous works. Worldbuilding is definitely the one that differentiates it from his other works. Although not as profound as Castle in the Sky, this is still something you don't want to miss. When the main character just flies around and navigates throughout the port town, you feel like you want to be a part of it. You know just fly around.
Story-wise it is quite simple. But more often times than not, simplicity is the key. The story itself doesn't need to be complex or have huge twists for it to stand out from others. It starts off with an introduction to our main character and what kind of person she is, as well as the supporting characters. In the middle, you present a conflict, that she needs to overcome. And the climax is a chef's kiss at least from my perspective.
Another standout in this movie is character development. I don't see anyone will argue that Kiki as a character developed throughout the course of the story. To me, it is something to be appreciated.
The music used in this film is also quite good, It perfectly suits the movie and it's composed by the legendary Joe Hisashi once again. His chemistry with Hayao Miyazaki allows them to create wonderful works together.
Maybe, one thing that disappoints me in this movie is that it is just 103 minutes long. I hope it was longer. I want more scenes of her delivery service. But it's not something major that would put me off or won't recommend the film. Still, those minutes are like a breath of fresh air.
A fun fact, the original Japanese voice actress of Kiki, Minami Takayama, is the same as the VA of Hao Asakura in both versions of Shaman King anime. Now isn't that amazing, that she voiced a high-spirited character like Kiki and at the same is also a menacing villain like Hao.
Oh and this movie is definitely for everyone, not just kids, or teenagers. Anyone can definitely enjoy this masterpiece. I recommend it... oh, I used the wrong term. I highly recommend this film. Give it a watch or maybe a few times because it is a legend.
This film deserves a perfect 5 out of 5 stars.