Kiki’s Delivery Service || A Weekend Flick

Kiki's Delivery Service (1989) Japan_1

Kiki’s Delivery Service is one of Studio Ghibli’s most well-loved films–I think that’s pretty safe for me to say. 😀 I came to appreciate Kiki in a roundabout way, as it wasn’t love at first sight. I thought it was a decent film at first, but I didn’t connect with it–I was sick in bed at the time. When I gave it a second chance a week or so later, we clicked. It was fun, it was adventurous, it was emotionally valid, it was and is fantastic!

So now I get why so many people love Kiki’s Delivery Service. It perfectly captures what a family film should feel like: It’s not too silly and not to serious and purely endearing. Deliciously delightful and quaint, Kiki’s Delivery Service is thoroughly soaked in a nostalgia for a simpler time. And the best part is our title character Kiki herself!

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Kiki’s Delivery Service

Drama | Fantasy | Adventure | Comedy | Magic

1989 | 105 minutes | G 

Having turned 13, Kiki follows the witches’ tradition for passage of age by establishing herself in a new town to develop her skills. And so she hits the sky on her broom, accompanied by her talking black cat Jiji. Kiki settles into a bustling European city, driven with an optimistic determination to make her year away from home a success, opening up a business as a delivery girl with her broom flying. Thus begins her adventures of making brand new friends, surviving escapades in the sky, and discovering her own real potential.

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While the film as a whole is absolutely charming, Kiki herself is the best part. While most of Studio Ghibli’s female characters are dimensional and hard-working, Kiki is one of their best and most determined. She is optimistic without being annoying, and driven to work very hard for herself and others. She doesn’t feel unrealistic for a 13 year old girl because not everything goes her way. Kiki’s hard work and effort do pay off, but not without hard reality knocking her down a few times.

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The unique element to Kiki’s story is that, while she does have and use magic, it does not make her life easy, and even her hard work seems to go unrewarded for a time. This is very true to life, in that even when we work hard, the results are not often immediate or magical. In fact, sometimes things get tougher, and we end up questioning our very core.

While some children’s films might whisk these elements of reality away with magic, Kiki’s Delivery Service faces the hard parts of independence and responsibility head on. This makes its lead character all the more relatable!

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Thankfully, the maturity doesn’t cost the film it’s fun and charm, of course! Kiki’s Delivery Service, while being a drama with slice-of-life elements, is also an adventure story. The film is almost never boring and ends on an incredibly suspenseful rescue attempt. Memorable characters weave in and out of the story, adding to the quieter moments, like the baker and her husband, the boy who wants to fly, and Ursula, the artist in the woods.

The talking cat Jiji is probably the most memorable character after Kiki. The character hits the perfect balance of being a funny sidekick without weighing the film down with excessive silly dialog or being a goofball. I wish more children’s films had sidekick’s like Jiji which add rather than detract.

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Technically, Kiki’s Delivery Service still manages to stand up on its own despite its age. The animation is fluid and clean, per Studio Ghibli standard. The film manages to capture the spirit of an older European city, and the attention to detail helps loose us into the setting!

I love the sound for this film too. I watched this with the Disney dub and everyone’s voice acting is enthusiastic and lively. I love hearing the young Kirsten Dunst as Kiki; she gives her a wonderful spunk and warmth that aids her already endearing character. The soundtrack is also full of beautiful themes that help the film with its atmosphere and adventure.

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The film gets better with each rewatch in my opinion. I now find it easy to understand why it is so strongly loved by so many people! It’s staple in family entertainment and I highly recommend it for the sweet atmosphere, fun adventure, and the freshingly mature look at young adulthood and responsibility.

Star Rating: 4.5/5 | Rewatchability: High | Definition: We Can Fly With Our Spirit

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10 Comments Add yours

  1. Love this film so much as you might know 🙂 I can see why it might not be an instant love for some fans but I am glad it has grown on you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jamie says:

      XD Yes, I’m glad I gave it a second chance! ❤ Such a beautiful movie! 😀

      Like

  2. This is by far my favorite Ghibli film evahhh! Kiki was my childhood film, as we have pictures of my siblings and I as lil teensy kids sitting mesmerized in front of our huge box TV. The memories I have with this show are timeless, and this show is too. I’m so glad you could watch one of my favorite films and review it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jamie says:

      Oh my gosh that’s the best story ever, Kiki would be the best movie to grow up with ever! ❤ I'm so glad I reviewed this one! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I need to rewatch this film. I didn’t totally fall in love with it at first, but this makes me want to see it again. I did really enjoy Jiji. He was a sidekick that didn’t detract from the story like I thought Olaf and Sven did in Frozen. Those two were too goofy for me. but Jiji had a key role in Kiki’s Delivery Service which I liked.

    storitorigrace.blogspot.com

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jamie says:

      Yes, I would highly recommend a rewatch, that was how I grew to love the film.

      YES! YES ABOUT JIJI. He’s what sidekicks should be in films. Uhg, I didn’t like anything from Frozen, but Olaf was definitely a negative element of the film. I didn’t care for him at all. Most of Disney’s modern sidekick/secondary characters are too silly for my taste. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I believe I’ll do so then. ^ ^

      Yay someone else who sees the numerous flaws. XD I tried to be on that bandwagon but I’m not a Frozen fan. I agree. There are a few I like, but Olaf hurt me deep inside. XD

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Jamie says:

      Finally someone else who’s not on the band wagon. I couldn’t like the film at all. It is NOT Disney’s best by a LONG CRY, for so many obvious reasons, so I don’t really understand why everyone just fawned over it. XD But never mind me and my bitter spouting. 😛

      Liked by 1 person

    4. Thank you! I don’t mind the bitter spouting. XD I just think movies like Tangled or the Lion King or Pocahontas or Mulan were far better written and deserved way more accolades than Frozen. Those four were excellently written and incredibly powerful. Frozen was mediocre at best in the power department and the writing was awful. XD

      Like

    5. Jamie says:

      XD I actually don’t like Tangled either, although I give it less grief since its characters are actually fun (Frozen is basically Tangled retold in snow but awful.) The Lion King, however, is AMAZING. That is my second favorite movie of all time. Beauty and the Beast is also stellar–most of DIsney’s older stuff is excellent, but they’ve really dropped the ball in recent years. Frozen and Big Hero 6 were both pretty terrible. 😦

      Like

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