a review by Nalini Haynes
Kiki’s Delivery Service is a gorgeous anime produced by Studio Ghibli, directed by Hayao Miyazaki.
‘Kiki’s Delivery Service [is] a fantastic coming-of-age tale full of magic, adventure, and self-discovery from the sensational imagination of Academy Award–winning director Hayao Miyazaki (2002, Best Animated Feature, Spirited Away). Kiki is an enterprising young girl who must follow tradition to become a full-fledged witch. Venturing out with only her chatty black cat, Jiji, Kiki flies off for the adventure of a lifetime. Landing in a far-off city, she sets up a high-flying delivery service and begins a wonderful experience of independence and responsibility as she finds her place in the world.’
Leaving home at the age of 13, Kiki is barely able to fly and hasn’t learnt any other witching skills. Settling in a new town, Kiki needs the support of the people and, luckily, finds a lovely couple who take on the parental role while allowing Kiki to be very independent for her age.
Kiki’s Delivery Service seems to be set in the 1950s with classic cars, old-fashioned dress and manners, yet Kiki herself is even more old-fashioned. This bygone era is sweet and reassuring even while Kiki faces conflict and problems that she must overcome.
According to Miyazaki, the movie touches on the gulf that exists between independence and reliance in Japanese teenage girls.‘
The detailed artwork, from painterly garden scenes to landscapes, absorbs the viewer. The presence of birds in the story, both as backdrop and as characters, adds flavour and a degree of uncertainty.
Kiki’s Delivery Service is one of those rare movies that really can appeal to all ages because it’s not too scary for little children while being engaging with a gentle pace for an older audience. I highly recommend Kiki’s Delivery Service, but then I’ve never met a Hayao Miyazaki movie I didn’t like.