Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)
★★★ / ★★★★
Hayao Miyazaki’s “Kiki’s Delivery Service” tells the story of a young girl who moves away from her parents’ house to another city in order to be more independent and find out and explore her unique talents. Just when I thought it would focus more on the magic and what it means to be a witch, this animated feature is actually more of human story more than anything. By that I don’t mean that the city has a rule against witches or people are mean to her because she’s a witch. In fact, witches are pretty welcome in this picture’s universe so it had the opportunity to focus on more on the circumstances that forces Kiki to be more of an adult instead of a kid. I also liked the fact that the people she meets on her journey are not mere quirky characters that we see once and never see again. They’re actually people that impact Kiki in many ways and they manage to come back when she needs them most. One could come to the conclusion that those people she meets are role models that help Kiki afloat when everything feels hopeless. All of that said, I can’t say that this is one of my favorite Miyazaki films. It lacks a certain innate edge and darkness of “Spirited Away,” “Princess Mononoke” and “Howl’s Moving Castle.” I say “Kiki’s Delivery Service” is more geared toward children because the story and dialogue are a bit too sweet and sugary. For me, the best part of the film was the talking cat and the old dog. I ended up laughing out loud a lot during those scenes because creatures that one would normally think of as mortal enemies ended up to be something quite the opposite. For the fans of Miyazaki’s movies, this is nonetheless a must-see because it has a certain universal appeal and wit that are very surprising from time to time.