Kiki's Delivery Service (of 1) (Mania.com)

Review Date: -



What They Say
One of Maestro Hayao Miyazaki's most internationally beloved films comes out at last on DVD! Kiki turns thriteen, and it's time for her to fly away from home to find a city to settle in and to learn what to do with her witches abilities, and to find her niche in life. In other words, the city and the world will be her school, instead of Hogwarts like in Harry Potter's world. Animation or not, it's one of the best movies ever made that can be enjoyed by both kids and adults alike. It's amazing that a film totally devoid of violence and villains can be so exciting and heartpounding, but that's exactly what Miyazaki creates in films like this and Totoro, which by itself is simply... magical! *Carries both English subtitles and audio track.

The Review!
Charming.

There really is no other word for this movie. Whether in English or Japanese, this film just exudes a sweetness, without being cloying or saccharine. I think Chris?s review of this DVD pretty much covers the basics of the movie, so this review will focus instead on some of the other goodies included with this release.

First, however a couple of notes. With regard to the video, I felt it was very good, but not perfect. Early on, during Kiki?s flight from home, there is some minor artifacting in the deep blue of the night sky. Also noticeable was some slight rainbowing, particularly around finely drawn vertical lines. However, these instances are infrequent and relatively minor.

The English subtitles on this release are also a bit odd. Once more, they are white with black borders, but given the vibrant color palette of the movie, they are clear and easy to read. The oddity comes from the fact they are dubtitles for the original JAL/Streamline dub. The translation is still fairly accurate and conveys the exact same story. Most the differences in meaning between the subs and the original Japanese dialog can be attributed to differences in phrasing. There is only one case where there are subtitles but no Japanese dialog (subtitling of a TV where the Japanese soundtrack is too low to hear clearly) and a few instances slight chances in dialog. For example, when Kiki first meets Osano, a difficult to translate exchange where Kiki calls Osano ?okusan? (wife), and then she introduces herself was simplified to just Kiki thanking Osano for letting her stay for the night. Most of the dialog changes are on that order; noticeable to people with some understanding of Japanese, but not critical.

The extras on the second disc are a real mixed bag. Perhaps the oddest is a short 2 minute 30 second piece called ?Ursala?s Picture.? There is no date on the piece, but it looks like it dates from around 1989. Essentially, using now primitive looking video toaster tricks, it takes a close look at the painting featured in the movie with some music in the background. There are also a TV spot, a promotional film and a couple of trailers for the film. I should note that while the primary feature has excellent sound for both the English and Japanese tracks, there is few instances of distortion on the trailers. The video quality is not as good, but that is probably due to source issues- trailers and promotional material are notorious for being poorly handled. The real treat is a 5 minute promotional film for Spirited Away, which saw a July 2001 release and has shattered Japanese attendance records. The film looks very spooky and eerie and I hope we will see a DVD release of it soon. In addition, there are DVD trailers for Castle of Caligistro, Sherlock Hound and My Neighbor Totoro.

The main bulk of the extras disc is occupied by the storyboard reel. Presented anamorphically, the original story boards are timed to the soundtrack and in alternate angles of the original film. For people interested in how a film is put together, this is a fascinating extra. Most enjoyable is seeing the subtle differences between the original concept and the finished product. For example, you can see that the bus marked ?Studio Ghibli? was marked simply as ?Bus? in the original story board. Do note, however, that the storyboard reel is in Japanese only, with no subtitles.

Overall, while it is a shame that Disney in the US hasn?t released this movie onto DVD, the R2 is more than adequate for Miyazaki fans. Highly recommended.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Japanese Subtitles,2nd Disc of Extras

Review Equipment
Oritron DVD200, Samsung 19"TV, Sharp CD-PC3500 shelf Dolby Pro-Logic system, composite cables



Mania Grade: A
Audio Rating: A+
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: A
Menus Rating: A+
Extras Rating: A-
Age Rating: All
Region: 2 - Japan
Released By: Buena Vista Home Entertainment Japan
MSRP: 4800
Running time: 102
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Kiki's Delivery Service