Blu-ray Review: KIKI'S DELIVERY SERVICE (1989)

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Review: Kiki’s Delivery Service / Cert: U / Director: Hayao Miyazaki / Screenplay: Hayao Miyazaki / Starring: Kirsten Dunst, Phil Hartman / Release Date: July 1st

One of Studio Ghibli’s most popular films, Kiki’s Delivery Service is a light-hearted story about an excitable teenage witch called Kiki, based on Eiko Kadano’s 1985 children’s novel. After her thirteenth birthday, Kiki enthusiastically sets off into the world for something of a gap year, a witch tradition supported by her parents. She is joined by her best friend, a talking black cat called Jiji, as she tries to master her broom flying skills and find somewhere to settle down and practice magic.

Kiki settles on the coastal city of Koriko, where she is greeted with curiosity and a mixture of admiration and contempt (witches are relative celebrities in this world). Despite her initial enthusiasm, Kiki experiences a few setbacks, mostly due to her naivety and lack of confidence.

She soon realises her only real skill is flying and decides to make the most of it by starting a delivery service with the aid of a kind bakery owner called Osono. Through this service she befriends an artist and a pair of old ladies and attracts the attentions of Tombo, a local aviation-obsessed boy. When the ‘real’ world begins to depress Kiki, she loses her ability to fly and must find a renewed purpose.

Kiki’s Delivery Service is a highly imaginative tale, full of ambitious animation. Scenes of Kiki flying over a beautifully detailed Koriko, escaping a forest of angry crows and admiring a friend’s painting are just some of the highlights. An unusual but original take on the coming-of-age genre, the film is warm and positive and still holds its own against more modern kid’s films.

Extras: Complete feature length storyboards / Ursula’s Painting / Creating Kiki’s Delivery Service / Kiki and Jiji / Flying with Kiki and beyond / Producer’s perspective: Collaborating with Hiyao Miyazaki / The Locations of Kiki / Beyond the Microphone / Original Japanese theatrical trailers / Studio Ghibli Trailer Reel

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