Kiki's Delivery Service is a film following Kiki, a young witch-in-training, who is continuing her family tradition to leave home and learn her craft. I personally enjoy the story a lot! Without trying to spoil much, it's a nice story about maturity and independance. It handles those themes quite well, there's a lot of films that either make young teens act way younger or older than they actually are but this film doesn't seem to do either. Even with the modern fantasy themes, I still found myself relating to the struggles Kiki faces. As much as I praised the storytelling, you'll see one of the plotlines that was knocked down to four stars in our critiques.
Our main character is a kind-hearted thirteen year old, Kiki, and her sarcastic cat familiar, Jiji, who soon meet their employer, Osono, a sweet soon-to-be mother and baker who lets them stay in her baker under the payment of help around the bakery. There's a few other reoccuring characters but to limit spoilers I'll leave them out. The characters throughout are very lovable and memorable; Character writing is not my strong suit, but overall I really enjoy the main cast and I honestly don't have much to add! There's some writing for characters that bugs me, but again that is under our critiques
Of course, the visuals are amazing! It's a Studio Ghibli movie, that should be a given. If you enjoy animation and the Studio Ghibli style, I would reccomend it regardless of whether you enjoy the themes of it! The scenes are beautiful, the beginning scene with Kiki laying in the field and listening to the radio still sticks with me. I could go on and on about how the colors contrast and blend in all the right places, but I think you get my point.
As for critiques, I have a couple. Despite how much I loved it, there's still some things I need to note.
There were a couple jokes in the film that personally made me uncomfortable as a plus-sized person, specifically the part where Kiki complains to Jiji about getting fat from eating pancakes...I've seen too many films and shows that make being fat or plus-size out to be a bad thing, it honestly was a little saddening to hear that from a film I really enjoyed.
The whole plot around Tombo chasing after Kiki after she's repeatedly shown disinterest in him also made me greatly uncomfortable. I know someone personally who has had men chase after them after showing disinterest and still having people around them try to "hook them up", it's really gross. The part that makes me really upset is that it works for Tombo, they end up as good friends by the end of the movie. I get they're kids and the director has even stated they don't have to be romantically involved, but it still give me weird "boys will be boys" vibes and feels like the writing was rooted in the "playing hard to get" culture.
Would I recommend watching this? Absolutely. If you're sensitive to the things i've listed in the critiques, you might still enjoy it but I would reccomend sitting it out. Overall I think it's a beautiful movie with characters I'm deeply fond of, definitely one of my favorites.