For my personal tastes, an afternoon of anime viewing doesn’t get much better than Kiki’s Delivery Service. I mean, seriously, a charming little witch wearing her purple-black dress and flying around a quaint seaside town making deliveries with her snarky and hilariously adorable black cat, Jiji — throw in an awkwardly geeky kid on a bicycle in hipster glasses and a red-striped tee reminiscent of Where’s Waldo, and combine it all with a hearty helping of lovable and kindly side characters in a don’t-you-wish-it-really-existed safe and innocent world — I think it all makes for one of the most charmingly wholesome little movies I know of.
This is the only Ghibli film I can remember seeing commercials for as a child, so for me it has a special nostalgia apart from its inherent charms. I wish I’d seen the film as a child, even though being an “adult” hasn’t ever inhibited my enjoyment of childlike things. Kiki is also one of the best-known Ghilbli films among Americans, probably both because it did receive so much advertisement with its Disney release, and because Jiji the cat is such an iconic character.
Joe Hisaishi is at it again with the delightful and simple and quaintly beautiful score. The Disney voice acting — from a young Kirsten Dunst as Kiki, to Debbie Reynolds’ portrayal of an elderly friend, to Phil Hartman’s particularly memorable and abundantly delightful vocal for Jiji — is engaging and wonderful. Altogether, yet another Ghibli film I could rave about for quite a lot longer than anyone would want to listen. So,
Pros: Lovely score, Perfectly innocent and oh-so-happy story, Great voice acting, Beautiful animation, Fun-filled antics, Jiji the Cat, All-around awesomeness
Cons: Probably a little too girly for some, and a little too childish for others, A bit of a fluffy film without much depth of meaning (though none of those things bother me about it!) 😀
A great film, and certainly one of my favorite Ghilbi movies, even if not among the studio’s masterpieces: **** out of *****