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Customer Review

59 of 63 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars lovely gentle film, 19 May 2006
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This review is from: Kiki's Delivery Service [DVD] (DVD)
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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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 7 Dec 2009, 09:41:08 GMT
Just a comment on the innapropriate laughter - I'd guess this is a feature of the dubbed version. Despite the fact that all animated films are dubbed anyway, I always watch the Japanese ones in the original language for exactly this reason. The American dubs usually contain attempts to smooth out the plot and make it more palatable to American tastes, a process which leads inexorably to disaster. It's particularly irritating on films that are appropriate for children, as you can hardly expect a bunch of kids to sit reading subtitles for an hour and a half! If only someone would release a more faithful and sensitive dubbed version ... I can dream can't I?
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