Kiki's Delivery Service

Movie review by
Brian Camp, Common Sense Media
Kiki's Delivery Service Movie Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
A mystical, positive take on girl's coming of age.
  • G
  • 1990
  • 105 minutes

Parents say

age 5+
Based on 58 reviews

Kids say

age 5+
Based on 67 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Kiki teaches kids that they should appreciate their friendships and not treat people like outsiders. She also makes it clear that it's important to love what you do.

Positive Messages

Some of the positive messages include keeping a positive outlook, being generous and helpful even when you don't have to be, valuing your family and friends, and staying true to your passions, whether it's art or baking or, in Kiki's case, flying. The movie also emphasizes that it's OK to occasionally feel out of sorts or second guess your talent, because everyone feels that way once in a while. Additional themes include empathy, courage, and humility.

Positive Role Models

The young protagonist is a wonderful role model. Kiki's selfless and always so generous with her time, willing to help her friends and customers, and often refusing to be paid when she goes above the call of duty. She's also very sensitive and doesn't understand the petty and rude way some kids her age act. Toward the end of the movie, Kiki rises above her insecurities to help save her friend.

Violence & Scariness

Kiki comes close to falling off her broom during a wind gust and ends up falling through trees in one scene. She later incurs the wrath of angry crows who think she's trying to steal their eggs. Kids afraid of storms will be worried for her and Jiji as they fly through a rainstorm. Tombo nearly plummets from a great height, but is saved before he's seriously injured.

Sexy Stuff

Tombo continuously flirts with and expresses his interest in Kiki. He asks her on a date, calls her, and visits her several times. They ride a bicycle together, blush in each other's presence, and share one hug after a near-death experience. Jiji falls in love with a female cat who at first doesn't give him the time of day. By the end of the movie, Jiji and the cat have had kittens together.


Name calling like "stupid" and "snooty."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

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 that feature some potentially frightening characters or disturbing scenes, this film is a sweet coming-of-age adventure. Kiki, 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 that could be a family classic.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byGingercat May 10, 2020
This movie is very long, and in a very gentle way, is about Kiki's coming-of-age (she's 13). My very sensitive 6 year old adored My Neighbor Totoro, b... Continue reading
Adult Written bywolfdreamer250 June 25, 2009

Overall a great movie, with some small concerns.

Very good movie and enjoy it immensly. However, let me start with the negative. The parents allow their 13 year old to live alone without any parental supervi... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byCanDAmeChibi May 4, 2021

A great movie for teens and tweens who need to see the light in getting older

Kiki's Delivery Service is a movie about a young witch going out into the world to live alone for a year. Though she is allowed to go off by herself, once... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byBlueDragonMaster98 May 31, 2010

Better than Spirited Away

I have nothing to complain about. It's perfect. Kids will love it just as much as adults. It teaches the hardships in life and friendship as well as indivi... Continue reading

What's the story?

In KIKI'S DELIVERY SERVICE, Kiki (voiced by Kirsten Dunst) follows family tradition and settles for a year in a foreign city to serve as 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 (Matthew Laurence), 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 (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 is the first film by celebrated animator Hayao Miyazaki to become available in the U.S.; it's part of a deal struck between Disney and Miyazaki's studio. 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.

This English-dubbed version, released straight-to-video, benefits from well-cast celebrity voices, including Phil Hartman (as Kiki's wisecracking black cat Jiji) and Debbie Reynolds. The Disney 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 courageempathy, 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?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love animation

Character Strengths

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