Kiki's Delivery Service Review

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Kiki is a 13 year-old witch. This is the age that all witches must live for a year on their own. She finds the seaside town of Korico, and starts up a delivery service, but must think on her feet when she mysteriously loses the ability to fly on her broomstick.

★★★★

Hard on the heels of the cinema release of Spirited Away came this 1989 animated delight from the same director - the legendary Hayao Miyazaki - in which a teen witch strives to make a living in a bustling European city.

As ever, Miyazaki effortlessly creates an alternate world - here it's a '50s Europe where neither World War ever occurred - and fills them with wonderous energy, colour and life. In the U.S. dubbed version, you'll get Kirsten Dunst reading Kiki, and the late Phil Hartman - he of The Simpsons' Troy McLure, among many, many others - lending voice to her cat.

Visually close to Spirited Away's level - the seaside town looks radiant - the film is actually more accessible to Western viewers, with Kiki's journey to find herself told with effortless charm and humour. Disney-style warmth without the songs and schmaltz.

A terrific alternative to the diabetic's nightmare that is most of Disney's output, Kiki's Delivery Service takes pride of place in Miyazaki's exceptional body of work.