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4.7 out of 5 stars181
4.7 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 24 March 2005
Everyone has a soft-spot, and I figure mine is in my DVD collection. Films are supposed to cater for our needs, and when I need to curl up in front of something uplifting, I need to have a copy Kiki's Delivery Service to hand. The first time I watched it, I had to have cosmetic surgery to remove the huge grin the film had forced my mouth to adopt. Despite doctor's warnings I popped the DVD into a player this afternoon and spent my time grinning, gasping, cheering and everything else all-over again. Few movies really illicit an emotional response from me, but I would be even harder pressed to name movies that make me emotional out of sheer happiness.
Kiki's Delivery Service in a nutshell: a 13 year old witch leaves home and sets up a delivery service in a seaside town, and umm... delivers stuff. It's not an action-packed, high octane thriller, but it IS well paced and the delivery challenges Kiki faces - which were I to name them, may seem rather dull - are exciting. The whole "coming of age" scenario is easy to relate to (even retrospectively), and the whole wonder of discovery and independence that this film oozes is helped by the beautiful artwork of the film.
Negatives? Well it's a single DVD release with minimal special features - just the full-length storyboards which are of debateable appeal, though worth ducking into for a look sometime. The subtitles are a bone of contention here - only "English for the hearing impaired" is available, despite the box claiming there to be both plain and hard of hearing english subtitles. In fact, this is actually true - plain English subtitles exist on the DVD, but you can only have them if you're watching the storyboards! The subtitles are of debateable quality in translation terms. I personally get the sense that they relate more to the English dub than the Japanese voices, yet certain bits of dialogue added (as Disney feel they must) into the English Dub are not subtitled.
Yet, I couldn't possibly give this film less than the full 5 stars. KDS is a film for just about everyone. The relative lack of action will inevitably put some off, but it is still well paced and I defy anyone to claim that they didn't still enjoy it after watching it. Most importantly (even speaking as an Anime fan) I can guarantee that the fact that this is anime will not get in the way of your enjoyment of the film. Regardless of the fact that anime is needlessly shunned by the UK mainstream, KDS isn't overtly Japanese in its style or presentation. I don't doubt that only a Japanese studio could come up with something as sublime as this film, but the setting, characters, artwork and messages are far more appealing to a Western audience than the vast majority of anime.
If you're looking at this film off the back of another Ghibli production - Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke or even Grave of the Fireflies or Castle in the Sky, you'll find more of the magic and artistic integrity that you found in those films. If you're young, old, male or female, you will inevitably enjoy this film, though an audience of serial killers or male teenagers would probably not be so interested... But then, I personally like to imagine that every stereotypical monosyllabic pubescent guy has a pink-sleeved, U-Rated and sugary sweet Kiki DVD stashed away where their peer-group can't see.
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on 11 February 2004
Family entertainment usually sends shivers down my spine. It means movies my kids will enjoy and I'll sit with a horrific grin waiting for it all to be over. Kiki is different, it's warm, beautifully animated and has a heart of gold. There are enough jokes to keep my young son laughing and a few moments of genuine depth that will moisten the eyes of even the most cynical adult viewer. If you have a young family, buy this DVD, I promise it will become a firm favourite and makes a delightful and most welcome break from shallow western animated offerings.
Thank you Kiki!
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on 2 July 2013
This is just to inform everyone who purchased KIKI'S DELIVERY SERVICE on UK Blu-Ray, that the sleeve is incorrectly printed - sort of.

At the moment, it has the number "5" printed at the top of the Blu-Ray spine. This is correct, but so does WHISPER OF THE HEART. WHISPER... sleeves should have the number "11" printed on it instead, NOT "5".

Anyone wanting a free, replacement WHISPER OF THE HEART Blu-Ray Sleeve, with the correct number on it, needs to go to Facebook, and send a message to StudioGhibliUK. Include your name and address, and then when new sleeves for WHISPER OF THE HEART get printed, they will be sent out to you, free of charge!

Message correct as of July 2013.
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HALL OF FAMEon 19 May 2006
This is one of the earliest from Miyazaki's famous Studio Ghibli, the greatest makers of Japanese hand-drawn anime films. Kiki is a thirteen-year-old witch, and daughter of a witch, who is eager to leave home and spend a year working away from home. Her only talent is flying on her broomstick, but she sets off with her black cat and finds a big city by the sea.

Cheerful, polite and innocent, Kiki needs her cat's sarcasm to make her way in the busy streets. She gets a job delivering presents for customers who visit the kind bakers who give her a home, but is shocked by the rudeness and spoilt behaviour of some, especially a girl her own age. A bespectacled boy on a bike becomes her friend, but Kiki undergoes a crisis of confidence in her own powers which results in her suddenly being unable to fly. Only when she looks within herself can she rescue her new friend after a zeppelin flight goes disastrously wrong....

All the Studio Ghibli trademarks which eventually featured in the masterpiece Spirited Away are here - rippling grasses, trains, weird buildings and pubescent heroines - but the story and psychology are much slighter. Characters have an irritating habit of suddenly breaking into wide cartoony laughter at odds with the charming gravity that is their habitual expression. My children preferred the sardonic cat to Kiki, and we all loathed her boyfriend. However, the beauty of the drawing and the attentiveness to small details such as a crumbling wall in a city alley make this worth having. Children of 5-8 will find it especailly enjoyable, as it is interesting but never frightening.
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One of the fortuitous results of "Spirited Away" ("Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi") winning the Oscar for Best Animated Film for the great anime director Hayao Miyazaki is that his other works are becoming readily available on DVD in the United States as well. A case in point is "Kiki's Delivery Service" ("Majo no takkyubin," literarlly "The Witch's Express Mail"), which tells the story of Kiki O'Connell (voice by Kirsten Dunst), a young witch who has turned 13 and has to go off on her own for a year of training, accompanied only by her black cat Gigi (voiced by Phil Hartman). "Training" is actually a misnomer, because what Kiki does is get on her broomstick, fly off towards the ocean and finds a beautiful European styled city that does not have a witch. Instead of serving some sort of formal apprenticeship to an older witch, Kiki has to survive on her own, and when she helps Osono (Tress MacNeille) return a pacifier to a customer who left I behind at the bakery, she stumbles upon a job that will help her earn her way.
What makes "Kiki's Delivery Service" work is that fact that everybody in the city accepts Kiki's presence. It has been years since the city had a witch, and the police think she has to obey the rules just like everybody else and not cause accidents flying around on her broomstick, but everybody accepts Kiki at face value and offers her encouragement and support. Included in this group would be Ursula (Janeane Garofalo), an artist living in the forest, Madame (Debbie Reynolds) and her housekeeper Bertha (Edie McClurg), a couple of old ladies who take a liking to the young witch, and especially Tombo (Matthew Lawrence), a young boy who would like to fly just like Kiki. Ultimately "Kiki's Delivery Service" is not about what others think about Kiki but rather what she thinks about herself, especially when she starts confronting the doubts of adolescence that could ground a young witch who starts doubting herself.
True, this film suffers in comparison to "Spirited Away," but then that is going to be true of most animated films. The important thing is that "Kiki's Delivery Serivces" represents Miyazaki's vivid imagination and his painstaking attention to detail and insistence on putting in as much into each frame of animation as possible. The result is not great, but utterly charming, which is high praise given what most animation is like even today where computers are doing too much of the heavy lifting. Note: I am not sure if this was Phil Hartman's last work before his death, but it should be noted that his Gigi has a lot more lines than in the original Japanese version (you will notice this and other changes when you watch the film with subtitles instead of the dubbed track, which, of course, is something you always want to do with anime at some point while watching the film again).
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on 16 September 2003
Kiki's Delivery Service isn't the first Miyazaki film i've seen but it's stuck as one of my favourites. It follows a young witch called Kiki who has a family tradition where she has to go away for a year (when she turns 13) and start her witches training and develop her skills.
But although Kiki finds the city she'd always imagined she'd live in the world has moved forwards and this new place is bigger and less friendly than her old hometown. Feeling out of place she eventually comes across Osono a woman kind enough to give her a chance and Kiki sets up a delivery service to earn her way.
It's a good lighthearted film that could have a few meanings if you looked at it in that way, it's about growing up basically and it's a message that you must persevere and always have belief in yourself.
The artwork is fabulous, the usual Studio Ghibli standard and the soundtrack can get catchy after you've watched this a few times. The bonus's aren't much but the second disk (if it's included in this package) has complete storyboards from the film playing as the film goes on (as in we have all the talking and background music but the images we see are the storyboard sketches).
It's a good harmless film for everyone, and everyone should see it!
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on 12 May 2006
Kiki's Delivery Service is a beautiful gentle film, about love and friendship. I love it and so do my children (aged 6 and 3) who watch it again and again. It doesn't have the saccharine cliches of a disney film, or the surreal qualities of Howl's Moving Castle or Spirited Away, but it is a simple story of triumph over adversity that anyone of any age can relate to. Anyone who doesn't enjoy it has missed it's point completely. Like Chihiro, Kiki is a REAL hero for all ages.
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on 21 March 2004
I totally enjoyed this film and I recommend it to anyone who has an interest in Studio Ghibli films, or simply wish to try something new. The beginning of the film shows Kiki in a countryside village and then she sets off to the city to seek her fortune, meeting difficulties and new friends along the way. In my opinion, Kiki is just a typical 13-year old girl (apart from the fact that she is a witch, of course), but because she is a witch, she gets laughed at by other children. However, she always does her best and brings a smile to the audience.
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VINE VOICEon 5 January 2009
A real charmer this, another great Ghibli film.

In terms of pacing and story this is closer to My Neighbour Totoro than to the more action-packed Princess Mononoke or Spirited Away but this is certainly not a criticism.

The plot, as much as it has one, centres on Kiki - a 13 year old witch - trying to make a business for herself in a big city away from her parents. Being young and a learner she finds this harder to accomplish than she expected but ends up living with a kindly baker and starting a broomstick delivery service. Along the way she meets and inspires an artist, helps an old lady with some household chores and finds an admirer in a local boy. With the exception of a bit of action towards the end, that is all that really happens.

This may make it sound boring but it truthfully is not. It may well be gentle and undemanding but it is absorbing and makes you grin like a fool throughout. As one would expect from Ghibli, the animation is glorious and detailed to an astonishing degree. The soundtrack is beautiful and enchanting and the acting (both the Japanese and American casts) is neatly done. The voice of Kiki's cat is one of the last roles the great Phil Hartman completed before his death.

Kiki's Delivery Service will enchant children and adults alike - just don't expect an action packed adventure and let the experience wash over you.
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on 16 April 2006
This is a lovely film about a young witch who has to go to a new town to make a name for herself. The depiction of the seaside town she ends up in is as fascinating as it is beautiful - it's in a Europe as seen through Japanese eyes. The animation is wonderful, with so many lovely little touches (in particular Jiji, Kiki's cat) and, unlike much of Miyazaki's work, the story focuses very much on the personal, rather than the epic and the mythical. It is also less dark than many Ghibli films, and is more clearly aimed at the younger end of the market. This is a sweet, tender and beautifully executed piece of anime which will appeal to all ages.
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