Kiki’s Delivery Service Blu-ray

Monday, 01 July 2013 00:00
Posted in Blu-Ray
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Kiki's Delivery Service on dual format Blu-ray and DVDStudio Ghibli’s first real hit features a 13-year-old girl called Kiki who leaves home on a broomstick with only a small bag of belongings and Jiji, her opinionated pet cat. She is a trainee witch, and tradition dictates that all witches must spend a year learning the ropes in the big, wide world. The courageous, carefree teenager arrives in a beautiful coastal city and soon finds a niche running a flying delivery service.

Kiki is given shelter by Osono, a kindly woman who slaves away in her bakery shop with her husband. Whilst fending off the advances of a curious boy, our heroine dispatches packages of all kinds from one edge of the city to the other. The English dub’s voice cast includes Kirsten Dunst (“Spider-Man”) as Kiki, the late Phil Hartman (The Simpsons) as Jiji, Tress MacNeille (Futurama) as Osono and Janeane Garofalo (“Ratatouille”) as Ursula, a painter who lives in the country nearby.

As one expects from Studio Ghibli, this delightfully animated movie has universal appeal, aided in no small part by its stunning artwork and animation, but also its interesting story telling and appealing characters. It is a gentle adventure, at the same time fantastic and yet broadly set in the real world, roughly in the 1950s. There is a strong European flavour to the city Kiki settles in, and the evocative accordion music helps to set the scene.

The voice cast is superb, with Dunst hitting all the right notes as the vulnerable, enthusiastic but definitely not saccharin Kiki. Hartman does take a short while to get used to as a very sarcastic pussy cat who tries his best to persuade Kiki to get his own way all the time, but I warmed to him very swiftly.

Whilst this Ghibli release, directed by Hayao Miyazaki (“Spirited Away”), might not quite have the magic and unbridled inventiveness of their best films such as “My Neighbour Totoro”, it is very entertaining and effortlessly sweeps the audience along as Kiki comes of age.

The Blu-ray format is another marvellous presentation of Ghibli’s incredible artwork at its best. The backdrops are detailed, vibrant and evocative, and the animation is sharp and fluid.

The special features included in this release are as follows:

  • Complete Feature Length Storyboards
  • Ursula’s Painting
  • Creating Kiki’s Delivery Service (new)
  • Kiki & Jiji (new)
  • Flying with Kiki & Beyond (new)
  • Producer’s Perspective: Collaborating with Miyazaki (new)
  • The Locations of Kiki (new)
  • Beyond the Microphone (new)
  • Original Japanese Theatrical Trailers
  • Studio Ghibli Trailer Reel

 

As with other Ghibli releases, the featurettes are short and sweet, saying just enough to inform without bloating with clips from the film. The feature-length storyboards (delivered via picture-in-picture) are an excellent demonstration of how close the makers stuck to their original vision.

“Kiki’s Delivery Service” (1989) is out now on dual-format Blu-ray and DVD (both discs in one box), courtesy of studiocanal. The running time is 103 minutes approx, carries a ‘U’ certificate ‘U’, and has a RRP of £24.99, or get it for less at www.culttvstore.com

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