As my ongoing quest to complete all the Ghibli movies that I missed as a child continues, I have finally knocked another one off the list, that being Kiki’s Delivery Service and I loved it. Even though I personally still don’t like it more than Howl’s Moving Castle, it has easily shot up to 2nd place for just it’s complete heartwarming an innocent story. The movie does not have some grand overarching plot like most conventional movies have, it is truly all about the journey that Kiki is on of self-discovery to find what kind of witch (and person) she is going to be in life. I don’t usually watch slice of life anime in my daily consumption, but I could watch hours of just Kiki doing her delivery business, just seeing how hard she is trying to really help people in a city that is so unforgiving (at least at the beginning) is heartwarming. Unlike the other post for Ghibli movies, this one isn’t going to be as long because there isn’t much to say about this movie but I’ll try:
The fact that I’m titling this section “art” instead of “animation” basically tells you my opinion on how it looked, this movie looked fantastic with almost every scene in this movie being, in its own right, a beautiful painting that could be hung in anyone’s home. Just the brilliant contrast between Kiki’s dark dress on things as simple as the vibrant ocean or the serene skyline was always breathtaking to see.
Again guys there really isn’t much to say here, just like every other Ghibli movie the music in this film fits perfectly with the atmosphere and tone they are trying to portray, as well as always almost transporting you to the scenes because of how lush and real everything fields. On top of this (fun fact) Disney does all the voice-over work for Ghibli movies outside of Japan, so it is no surprise that the English dub for the film is amazing. Disney has always been good at finding voice actors who can capture that feeling of childlike innocence, and this film is no exception. Kiki has just the right amount of bravery and confidence that comes with being an independent witch in training, as well as the innocence and naivety that comes with being only 13 years old. And yes all the other character voice actors in this film did a great job as well, but I just wanted to highlight Kiki because we spend the vast majority of our time in this film with JUST Kiki, so her performance could have made or braked this film, and fortunately all it did was enhance it.
Story (this section has spoilers):
My one issue with the film is with the last 30 minutes because it is almost a complete tonal shift from the rest of the film. The entire movie is a lighthearted fun story where we see Kiki living her life in the city, and while it may not all be fun for Kiki, the story, for the most part, is very lighthearted, that is until Kiki loses her powers. Now I understand that this movie had to at some point have some level of suspense and drama, and I see the metaphor they are trying to imply here that “Kiki is not special because of her magic, Kiki is special because of her determination and willpower to get things done for her friends.”
But like, I really didn’t need some out of nowhere drama regarding Kiki’s powers in this film. This issue was not even brought up once in the film before this point, no one ever even mentioned that Kiki ever had the possibility of losing her powers or how is she could lose her powers. If they would have just mentioned it, maybe at the beginning with her mother and she just throws that in there before Kiki leaves that this could happen, then maybe this part of the film wouldn’t bother me as much, but that does not happen. By the end everything turns out fine, it’s just that initial metaphorical hard right into suspense and drama when the entire movie up to this point was just lighthearted, is (at least for me) extremely jarring and kind of pulled me out of the experience.
Overall This film is very good and I liked almost every aspect of it, from the animation and sound design, to the character progression and overall story, this movie (for the most part) was just a bag of heartwarming goodness that clears your mind of all the bad things in the world. Which is why for me I am going to rate the film 90 / 100, with me taking a point from a perfect score for that story issue that I mentioned before. In the end, this movie is one of those films that I could recommend anyone to watch at any time in their life, because it is just such a heartwarming story that I’m pretty sure anyone could enjoy it. So yes, if you haven’t watched the film yet I would highly recommend you do so😊😊😊