A young witch, on her mandatory year of independent life, finds fitting into a new community difficult while she supports herself by running an air courier service.
|Release Date||:||July 29, 1989|
|Genres||:||Animation, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy|
|Production Company||:||Studio Ghibli, Nibariki|
|Writers||:||Eiko Kadono, Hayao Miyazaki|
|Casts||:||Minami Takayama, Rei Sakuma, Kappei Yamaguchi, Keiko Toda, Mieko Nobusawa, Kôichi Miura, Haruko Kato, Hiroko Seki, Yuriko Fuchizaki, Kouichi Yamadera, Kikuko Inoue, Yuuko Kobayashi, Mika Doi, Takaya Hashi, Chika Sakamoto, Toshiko Asai, Hiroko Maruyama, Shinpachi Tsuji, Yûko Maruyama, Masa Saitô, Yûko Tsuga, Tomomichi Nishimura, Akio Ohtsuka, Yoshiko Kamei, Adeline Chetail, Christophe Lemoine, Dolly Vanden, Laura Blanc, Olivier Martret, Françoise Cadol, Patrice Baudrier, Anne-Marie Haudebourg, Katy Vail, Carole Santini|
|Plot Keywords||:||clock tower, witch, cat, bicycle accident, broom, female friendship, bakery, dog, baking, seaside town, talking cat, courier service, delivery service, anime|
First of all, 10 points to Ghibli for Variety. Producing this and 'Grave of the Fireflies' inside a year of each other would be like Disney doing 'Mary Poppins' and 'Judgement at Nuremberg' back to back.
Words that spring to mind after watching Kiki include 'delightful', 'light', 'bouyant', and so forth. It's obvious Miyazaki has refined his craft considerably from the early movies, which somehow seemed a bit... I don't know - stuttery. Kiki, though just flows effortlessly. Combine this with the beautiful use of lighting and colour to produce that summertime, Mediterranean sort of feel, and Kiki is a movie that is just thoroughly uplifting, never getting bogged down in complexities or dark intrigues.
Unfortunately - and this is the only thing holding it back from 4 stars from me - what it does get slightly bogged down in, is its own lightness. There were just a few sections where the lack of a villain, of any real action, of anything other than people being nice to each other, took the top 10% off what was otherwise a masterful movie. I suppose there were a few other flaws, too: some characters and situations which came into it were just not developed at all. And there was one moment that teetered on real poignancy - the old dog with what he thought was a stuffed toy - but it sort of didn't happen. Also allowing the cat - sorry, forgotten his name - to drop out of proceedings for most of the latter half the film, definitely removed a spark from the film (I can't believe I just complained about the LACK of a comic sidekick)
BTW, as someone who lives in Tasmania, which is allegedly the inspiration for much of the setting of this film, please come here by all means, but don't expect it to look like that. The bakery in Ross (central Tasmania) which supposedly inspired the one in the film is in one of the few Tasmanian towns that you _can't_ see the ocean from, and the general look of the movie is distinctly southern European, though I guess some of the rural shots look a bit Tasmanian.
Whatever the case, Miyazaki's attention to detail is, as usual, stunning. The town may have been cobbled together from his favourite bits of Italy, France, Tasmania and wherever else, but its nothing less than a labour of love nonetheless.
Anyway, 8 out of 10.