Kiki (Kirsten Dunst) is a 13-year-old witch in training. An old tradition states that at 13, a young witch can leave home and study to become a full time witch. So, even though her parents are not overjoyed, she decides to leave. She takes her broomstick and her cat Jiji (Phil Hartman) and sets off for Koriko, a big port city. Once there, she finds she does not have any witch skills other than flying a broom. She decides to start a delivery service to support herself while she tries to find her skill.
Kiki’s Delivery Service is a film about many different things. Coming of age, talent, creativity, becoming yourself, insecurity, and confidence. And yet, it does all of this without coming across as preachy or like it’s trying to shove inspiration down your throat. It’s a story, and it’s being told. And yes, it’s a masterpiece. The mixture of the themes, the characters, and the incredible animation makes this one of the greatest experiences you can have with anime. I’m struggling to go into detail about why I love this film so much. If I had to pick one thing, I would be the cat, Jiji, in the English dub.
In the original Japanese track, Jiji appears much more of a guide. She’s cautious, she gives good advice, she’s like Kiki’s conscience. In the English dub, the cat is voiced by Phil Hartman, and has a complete character 180. Jiji is male, sarcastic, witty, and incredibly likeable. I just can’t get enough of him. He’s often more fun to watch than Kiki, which I suppose you could call a flaw, but that’s due to the English version, not to the film itself. Even so, the film is worth watching just for him.
Kiki’s Delivery Service is one of Miyazaki’s greatest films. This is anime at it’s best. It’s charming, lovely, and enjoyable from beginning to end. The beauty of everything in this film is so great, it’s sort of overwhelming. He wouldn’t make a film this good until Spirited Away, and this, in my opinion, is fully on par with Spirited Away.