Kiki's Delivery Service -

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Mania Grade: A-

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: N/A
  • Menus Rating: B-
  • Extras Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 3 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Buena Vista Home Entertainment
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 105
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Kiki's Delivery Service

Kiki's Delivery Service

By Andrew Tei     October 14, 2003
Release Date: April 15, 2003

Kiki's Delivery Service
© Buena Vista Home Entertainment

What They Say
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.

The Review!
Disney finally releases Kiki?s Delivery Service on DVD four and a half years after its VHS release. This film is timeless though, and with this, its beauty shines.


Disney has provided three different soundtracks: English, Japanese, and Spanish. For my primary listening session, I chose to listen to the unoriginal Japanese soundtrack. By unoriginal, I mean the Japanese soundtrack provided is a remixed 5.1 soundtrack instead of the original stereo soundtrack that the R2 DVD has. As a firm believer in original soundtracks, I was a little disappointed at this. The front sound stage is used for the majority of the sound, but the music of the series is beautifully mixed to the left and right speakers for a truly triumphant concert hall feel. The rear speakers are used in crowd scenes and especially during a scene when Kiki is flying with some birds. Joe Hisaishi soundtrack enraptures the viewer with Miyazaki?s world.

I listened to the other sound tracks while I was writing the review. The English soundtrack has been rescored, and the Japanese songs replaced by English ones. Unfortunately, the Spanish soundtrack seems to suffer from a hollow sounding effect, and the songs are also replaced.


Kiki?s Delivery Service is presented in its original 1:85 aspect ratio and is enhanced for widescreen. Miyazaki?s art shines in this release, with a beautiful balanced video release in terms of color. The print used to make the digital master was flawless. I did spot several instances of line shimmering in several panning shots during the movie, and very minute macro artifacting in scenes that took place at night.

I?ll make a few comments about the subtitles here. Disney chose a very nice yellow one, so it?s a lot nicer than the region 2 subtitles, plus it?s literal for the most part. The literal subtitles still translate ?koohii? as hot chocolate, instead of coffee, plus there were three instances of voices on screen that weren?t translated. The opening and closings songs also aren?t translated.


None provided for the review.


After front-loaded trailers for Spirted Away, and Laputa we?re presented with main menu. It?s completely static, and the colors seem washed out. A small bit of music plays in a continuous loop. During all menu transitions, we get the same scene of Kiki flying through town that proceeds to a flying into the sky shot. The menu transition?s colors are also washed out, and the icon for menu selection is a nice little red bow. Language selection is a tad longer since audio and subtitles are in separate sub-submenus, but overall this is pretty standard for a Disney film.


On the first DVD, there?s a small fifty second introduction with fanboy John Lasseter introducing his good friend Miyazaki and how you will just love this film. For some reason, I found that very annoying. There?s a behind the scenes featurette with the English voice actors featuring Kirsten Dunst, Janeane Garafolo, Matthew Lawrence and the late Phil Hartman. The segment is only 5 minutes long, so it mainly contains comments on how the actors like dealing with animation. Toshi Suzuki, a producer at Studio Ghibli, is shown giving his approval of the dubbing process. The original trailers for Kiki?s Delivery Service are also included. With the trailers is a segment that focuses on the painting by Ursula. This segment runs for about ten minutes.

On the second DVD, you can view the entire film again using storyboard with either Japanese or English audio accompanying it. There are no subtitles. Included here, is the original Japanese 2.0 soundtrack. Sigh. I really wish they could have included it with the main feature. Unlike the Japanese region 2, there is no multi angle ability in order to switch to the movie. Sadly, there is no Spanish here unlike the main feature.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)

The part I love the most about Miyazaki?s films is how they awaken that part of me that still believes absolutely in the beauty of the world and everything in it. This was the first time I?d ever watched Kiki?s Delivery Service, and I found myself laughing like a child.

A thirteen-year-old girl, Kiki, has been dreaming of the day when she will leave her small rustic town as part of her coming of age as a witch. By tradition, each young witch must leave under the light of a full moon to train for a year in a new town in order to become a practicing witch. Kiki?s mother went through the same process, but is worried about her own daughter?s leaving.

Due to unexpected good weather, Kiki changes her plans and leaves a month early, throwing her parent?s plans awry, but they understand her eagerness. That night, with her friends around her, Kiki?s leaves her childhood home with just a broom, a witch?s black smock, and her black cat Jiji.

After their peaceful night of flying turns into a torrential downpour, Kiki eventually reaches the seaside city of Korioka. Korioka is very different place than her old home. People aren?t as outgoing, and are in a hurry. In fact, the people of the town seem to be very indifferent to her ability to fly on a broom, especially after Kiki causes several near traffic accidents due to her trying to show off while flying.

After wandering a bit, she encounters Osono, a pregnant woman who owns a bakery with her husband. After Kiki helps Osono return an item to a customer who left something at the bakery, Osono offers Kiki a spare bedroom in return for assisting at the bakery. Kiki jumps at this opportunity, and also finally comes up with what service she can provide for the people of this town. Since the only witch ability she seems to be able to do is fly, Kiki opens up a delivery service.

The rest of the movie deals with Kiki?s coming of age as she has different experiences in the town as a result of her delivery services. One person she meets is Tombo, a boy who has dreams of flying. While her delivery service provides good business for the most part, there are also a few hardships she must face with not so nice customers, losing a package, and bad weather. Kiki is a young teenage girl, and she has to go through all the growing pains all teenagers go through. Loneliness and shyness are only a few of the problems Kiki must face in order to grow.

Kiki is absolutely adorable on screen, and there was a smile on my face for the majority of the time I was watching this film. I was simply captivated by the amount of expression Miyazaki can portray through his characters. Jiji is a very stuck up cat, as most cats are, and provides a dry humor to balance Kiki?s cheerfulness. Plus, it?s also fun to relate the characters to previous Miyazaki films to trace their progression.

Out of the six Miyazaki films that I?ve seen, I?ve been disappointed by one release, and it wasn?t Kiki. The town, the music, the characters, the flying sequences, and everything else come together for an experience everyone should be able to enjoy.

Japanese Language,English 5.1 Language,Spanish Language,French Language,English Subtitles,Introduction by John Lasseter,Behind the Microphone,Original Japanese Trailers,Original Japanese Storyboards

Review Equipment
Toshiba 3109 to a Toshiba 36? Cinema Series via component, Pioneer VSX-810S receiver via optical, Cerwin Vega front speakers, Pinnacle center and rears


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