Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)

8.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 9/10

Great looking

Very little story and hard to get into

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Kiki’s Delivery Service

Studio:  Studio Ghibli

Genre(s):  Animated/Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Family

Release Date(s):  July 22, 1989

MPAA Rating:  G


Rain or shine, Kiki delivers!

Kiki is a young witch just turning thirteen and at the age where young witches set out to prove themselves in the world.  With her cat Jiji, Kiki heads to the city of Koriko where she finds being a thirteen year old trying to find work is harder than it seems.  When she happens upon the idea that deliveries would be a good job for a witch, Kiki thinks she’s got it made, but even steady work isn’t all that it seems.

Directed by Hayao Miyazaki, Kiki’s Delivery Service (or 魔女の宅急便 written out as Majo no Takkyūbin which translated Witch’s Delivery Service) was a massive critical and financial success upon its release.  A follow-up to My Neighbor Totoro in 1988, Kiki’s Delivery Service was heralded as a positive role model for female girls by creating an independent and intelligent star in Kiki.  The movie was released in the U.S. in 1998 with an American voice performances by Kirsten Dunst, Phil Hartman, Janeane Garofalo, Tress MacNeille, Brad Garrett, Matthew Lawrence, Debbie Reynolds, and Edie McClurg.


Delivery isn’t as easy as it seems

I love Hayao Miyazaki’s work but I have to say that Kiki’s Delivery Service isn’t my favorite.  I know this is a bit of heresy in the anime world, but I find it rather dull and boring.  What I will say about the movie is that it is a good kid’s movie and looks fantastic…it just isn’t for me.

I admire that Miyazaki made a true children’s picture.  The movie doesn’t dumb itself down for kids, but it also doesn’t really elevate it for adults.  The plot is nonexistent.  I keep thinking something shocking or surprising is going to happen…it doesn’t.  Meetings with other young witches, battles with magpies, and botched deliveries Even the rescue of Tombo at the end of the movie just feels meh.  Yet, a child would be thrilled and excited and I like that Miyazaki isn’t kowtowing to the idea that adults must be entertained by children films (he used a similar style in My Neighbor Totoro which I do find more entertaining).


Seriously kid, what you’ll do for a date

Once again, the visuals win out in this movie and if nothing else, an adult can walk away with that.  Miyazaki is a real visionary and his movies always reflect this.  Not only is the design on Kiki great, but the entire rich setting of Koriko is picturesque and makes you wish you could go there…and escapism is a big part of movies (especially for kids).

Kiki’s Delivery Service isn’t my favorite movie, but I can see why a kid would really enjoy it.  I think it is a kid’s movie for kids and that is rare today so revisiting the 1989 movie might be a good thing for a family viewing.  Miyazaki followed Kiki’s Delivery Service with Porco Rosso in 1992.

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Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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