Kiki's Delivery Service (Majo no Takkyūbin) | rel. 1989/Disney re-rel. 1998 | dir. Hayao Miyazaki
I think I may be in love. After seeing Kiki's Delivery Service, it left a goofy smile on my face and that smile just won't go away.
Hayao Miyazaki's gorgeously animated masterpiece, Kiki's Delivery Service is about a young witch-in-training, Kiki, who must leave her tiny village at thirteen to pursue an independent life as a witch. Kiki, along with her broomstick and wise-cracking black cat, Jiji, finds a lovely seaside city to reside in. With the help of Osono, a local and very pregnant baker, she discovers a cozy place to settle. Kiki cooks up an idea to run a local delivery service and befriends several eccentric characters in the city. In her various adventures, Kiki catches the eye of a teenage aviation nerd who takes an interest in Kiki's flying abilities (and later Kiki herself) and Ursula, a young artist.
I love pretty much everything about this film. From beginning to end, it is a lighthearted feel-good fest with a bunch of enchantingly lovable characters. Without being too blatantly preachy, the film is about fitting in, growing up, finding yourself, and utilizing your abilities for the greater good. Many of the things Kiki experiences what most people (like myself) go through in their lives, especially during their teenage years. Miyazaki's creation of the seaside city is full of vivid details and crackling energy. Kiki's Delivery Service is often touching and completely hilarious on a very human level. Kiki may be a witch, but the fact that she doesn't have a ridiculous amount of magical powers make the coming-of-age journey all the more magical.
The Disney re-release (which my entire review is based on) has some terrific voice work by Kirsten Dunst, Matthew Lawrence, Phil Hartman, Janeane Garofalo, Tress MacNeille, and Debbie Reynolds.