Kiki's Delivery Service
A mystical, positive take on girl's coming of age.
Based on 60 reviews
Based on 67 reviews
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Kiki's Delivery Service
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Hayao Miyazaki's classic anime adventure Kiki's Delivery Service is an ideal film for the entire family. Unlike some of his other movies, which feature some potentially frightening characters or disturbing scenes, this one is a sweet coming-of-age adventure. Kiki (voiced by Minami Takayama in the original version and Kirsten Dunst in the English dub), the 13-year-old protagonist, is a lovely role model. Yes, she's a witch, but she's a good one who doesn't manifest her magical powers in any way but flying. There's some mild flirting and a couple of close calls while Kiki's in the air, but otherwise this is a positive pick with themes that include courage, empathy, and humility.
Not much of a story but still good
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Miyazaki for the Win!
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What's the Story?
In KIKI'S DELIVERY SERVICE, Kiki (voiced by Minami Takayama in the original version and Kirsten Dunst in the English dub) follows family tradition and settles down for a year in a foreign city to serve as the resident witch. She makes friends, finds room and board, and uses her broom-flying ability to launch a delivery service. A boy her age, the aviation buff Tombo (Kappei Yamaguchi/Matthew Lawrence), develops a crush on her. As she approaches puberty, Kiki begins to lose her powers. She strikes up a chance friendship with an older girl, the artist Ursula (Minami Takayama/Janeane Garofalo), who helps Kiki weather her loss of confidence. When a dirigible accident puts Tombo in danger, Kiki must summon up all of her powers to save her friend.
Is It Any Good?
A huge box office hit in Japan, this mystical, positive coming-of-age tale was the first film by celebrated animator Hayao Miyazaki to become available in the United States. Kiki's Delivery Service is set in a large European metropolis (an amalgam of Stockholm and other cities) in a time period suggesting the 1950s. The attention to detail, particularly in the scenes of Kiki flying over the city streets, rivals that of many a bigger-budgeted Disney feature. Such detail provides important background as small-town girl Kiki gradually acclimates herself to this new, bewildering environment. The film also realistically treats Kiki's growing pains as she copes with the twin problems of independence and peer group relations. This accounts, in part, for the film's enthusiastic reception by so many young viewers.
The English-dubbed version, released straight to video, benefits from well-cast celebrity voices, including Phil Hartman as Kiki's wisecracking black cat Jiji (voiced by Rei Sakuma in the original version) and Debbie Reynolds as Madame (Haruko Kato). The Disney-fied version's only serious flaw is the replacement of the Japanese original's delightful opening and closing songs with new, less catchy English-language ones.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about Kiki. How does she compare to other characters in animated movies? Is she a role model? How does she demonstrate courage, empathy, and humility?
How does Kiki stay true to her passions of flying and helping people? What are you passionate about? How can you use your strengths and hobbies to help others?
What are the movie's messages about growing up? Can kids relate to Kiki's loss of confidence? What helps her gain back her strength?
What makes a good family movie? What kinds of movies do kids and parents enjoy watching together?
Why do you think this movie is considered an anime classic? How is it different from the majority of Hollywood animated movies?
- In theaters: December 20, 1990
- On DVD or streaming: April 15, 2003
- Cast: Debbie Reynolds, Kirsten Dunst, Phil Hartman
- Director: Hayao Miyazaki
- Studio: Buena Vista
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Friendship
- Character Strengths: Courage, Empathy, Humility
- Run time: 105 minutes
- MPAA rating: G
- Last updated: February 19, 2023
Our Editors Recommend
My Neighbor Totoro
Beautifully animated fantasy about friendship fit for all.
Magnificent movie with scary creatures and a strong heroine.
My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic
Sweet tales of friendship have great messages for kids.
Howl's Moving Castle
Charming Miyazaki fairy tale with surreal villains.
For kids who love animation
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