Arts Movies

Kiki’s Delivery Service

kikis powers return

Kiki’s Delivery Service  (Majo no Takkyūbin / 魔女の宅急便) is a Japanese animation that was released by Studio Ghibli in the summer of 1989.  It was adapted from Eiko Kadono’s 1985 novel (Kiki’s Delivery Service).  The movie was produced, directed and written by Hayao Miyazaki.  It was the first Studio Ghibli film to be released by The Walt Disney Company in 1997.  Kiki’s Delivery Service won three awards at the 12th Animage Anime Grand Prix for Best Female Character, Best Anime and Best Anime Theme Song.  The total box office gross was ¥4.3 billion.

Kiki is thirteen years old and a witch in training.  One morning she is resting in the landscape and looks into the sky.  Wind blows around as she listens to the radio.  The evening forecast reveals that a full moon and clear skies are incoming.  She pops up and runs home to meet her mother Kokiri.  Mama smiles and Kiki tells her that she intends to depart at nightfall.  It is witch tradition to leave home during a full moon to begin training.  Papa Okino shows up and gives her a purple cloak.

The brilliant skies darken and her friends and family send her off.  Kiki scoops up Jiji, her talking black cat and heads out.  She meets a witch and she explains the challenges of traveling to a foreign town and tells Kiki her fortune.  The pair split apart and Kik boards her broomstick and soars to the city of Koriko.  The ride is uneventful and she runs into a boy that is obsessed with flying.  His name is Tombo and he cannot get enough of her broomstick.  Time passes and she wanders into a bakery.

kiki relaxing on a hill
Kiki relaxing on a hill – Photo Credit: JCT(Loves)Streisand*

The owner of the bakery is a pregnant lady named Osono and business is booming.  The number of orders is overwhelming her and Kiki offers to help in exchange for a place to stay.  Kiki’s Delivery Service is born in an instant.  The new friends name it “Witch Delivery Business” after careful calculation and marketing consideration.  Kiki receives her first order and prepares to deliver a birthday gift for one of the bakery’s regulars.  Tombo watches the preparation and wishes he could fly.

Kiki takes off and the complications begin.  The wind disturbs her flight path and she drops the gift into a nearby crow’s nest.  The gift is a black cat toy and Jiji berates her for her clumsiness.  She tries to secure the package, but the birds attack her in order to protect their eggs.  Kiki arrives at her destination and Jiji pretends to be the toy to buy her time.  Kiki begins her search for the delivery and finds it at the cabin of an artist named Ursula.  The painter is a kind soul and repairs the toy for her.  Kiki thanks Ursula and is able to make the swap and save Jiji.  The cat and the witch head home.

Depression sets in when Kiki’s Delivery Service goes stagnant.  She accepts a party invitation from Tombo and his boys from the Aviation Club.  Before the event, she makes a quick delivery to an older woman called Madame.  Madame feeds her and she is late for the party.  Kiki makes one last drop off and the elements consume her.  A rainstorm causes her to fall ill with exhaustion.

kikis delivery service artwork
Kiki’s Delivery Service artwork – Photo Credit: carolynappleby2011

The heroine recovers and Osono secretly has her make a delivery to Tombo to rekindle their friendship.  Tombo is overjoyed and Kiki apologizes for her truancy.  Big T is unconcerned and shows her around town.  He introduces her to his friends and a bicycle that he has repurposed into a flying machine.  Tombo’s friends are intimidating and Kiki leaves in embarrassment.

The recent events place Kiki in a slump and she loses her ability to fly and speak with Jiji.  Her cat ignores her and starts hanging out with a white cat instead.  The setbacks place the delivery service in jeopardy and Ursula pays her a visit.  The painter decides that Kiki is suffering from an artist’s block and shows the witch her latest canvas.  They talk and Kiki begins to relax.  Ursula suggests that if she can discover a new purpose, her powers will return.  The painter leaves and Kiki goes to sleep.

The sun rises and the witch watches the news.  The report is commentating on a recent airship accident and Tombo is shown hanging from the vessel’s mooring lines.  Kiki doesn’t panic after discovering her friend in danger.  She grabs a street sweeper’s broom and regains her ability to fly.  Kiki zooms off to the accident site and rescues Tombo right as he slips and plumets towards the concrete.

kikis powers return
Kiki showing Jiji her new purpose – Photo Credit: Danny Choo

The friends rejoice and all of Kiki’s powers return.  She writes home now that she has found her purpose and notifies her parents that Jiji and her are happy. The future looks bright. The orders resume and business continues. Kiki’s Delivery Service ends.

Kiki’s Delivery Service Cast

BarsaHiroko SekiEdie McClurg
JijiRei SakumaPhil Hartman
KetYuriko FuchizakiPamela Adlon
KikiMinami TakayamaKirsten Dunst
Kokiri (mother)Mieko NobusawaKath Soucie
MadameHaruko KatōDebbie Reynolds
Madame’s GranddaughterKeiko KagimotoSherry Lynn
Okino (father)Kōichi MiuraJeff Bennett
OsonoKeiko TodaTress MacNeille
Senior WitchYūko KobayashiDebi Derryberry
TomboKappei YamaguchiMatthew Lawrence
UrsulaMinami TakayamaJaneane Garofalo
kiki's delivery service
Kiki navigating – Photo Credit: JCT(Loves)Streisand*

13 comments on “Kiki’s Delivery Service

  1. Absolutely Adore Miyazaki films!

  2. I absolutely loved this movie!

  3. What a coincidence! I watched this movie last night. I thought it was adorable. I always feel transported to another universe when watching Miyazaki’s movies!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: