Kiki's Delivery Service (Blu-ray) (1989)

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Released 22-May-2013

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Animation Storyboards-Picture-in-Picture
Featurette-Ursula's Painting
Featurette-Creating Kiki's Delivery Service
Featurette-Kiki & Jiji
Featurette-Flying with Kiki & Beyond
Featurette-Producers Perspective
Featurette-The Locations of Kiki
Featurette-Behind the Microphone
Theatrical Trailer-Original Japanese Theatrical Trailers
Trailer-Studio Ghibli Trailers
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1989
Running Time 103:00
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Hayao Miyazaki

Madman Entertainment
Starring Minami Takayama
Rei Sakuma
Kappei Yamaguchi
Keiko Toda
Mieko Nobusawa
Kôichi Miura
Haruko Kato
Hiroko Seki
Yuriko Fuchizaki
Kôichi Yamadera
Kikuko Inoue
Yűko Kobayashi
Mika Doi
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Joe Hisaishi

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Japanese Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 (1536Kb/s)
English Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 (1536Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Kiki's Delivery Service, the 1989 animated film from Studio Ghibli, was the first film by master Hayao Miyazaki to be a success at the box office. A sweet and gentle film it is the story of an adolescent girl learning how to make it in the big city.

     Kiki is a witch from a small town, coming from a long line of witches. Tradition requires that when a witch turns 13 she must leave her home for a year and travel to another town to develop her craft. Actually, 13 sounds a little young to me but who can argue with tradition! On a clear moonlit night Kiki says farewell to her parents and takes off on her broomstick, albeit somewhat haltingly, into the night with a mixture of elation and trepidation accompanied by her faithful familiar, a talking black cat called Jiji. After some adventures along the way she finds herself in a seaside town somewhat surprised that everybody isn't happy to see a witch arriving. She accidentally gets into trouble with the police, only escaping through the intervention of a young boy named Tombo. Finding him too forward Kiki brushes him off and sets about trying to find herself a place to stay.

     As it turns out that isn't so easy. She is unable to find accommodation until by chance she helps the owner of a local bakery return a dummy to her baby. The owner allows Kiki to stay and suggest that she might be able to make a business out of doing flying deliveries. After all, who can get a package to where it's going faster than a young girl riding a broomstick! Kiki finds challenges along the way, including being attacked by birds over a forest who mistake her for an egg thief. When returning to the forest at night to find a delivery she dropped Kiki meets a young painter named Ursula and the two become friends.

     Although there is some genuine danger presented at the end this is not a film with high stakes. Normally the greatest trouble facing Kiki is whether she will get her delivery to where it's going on time. This is a gentle and lovely film from Studio Ghibli bearing the unmistakable hand of writer/producer/director Hayao Miyazaki.

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Transfer Quality


     Kiki's Delivery Service comes to Blu-ray in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio consistent with the original cinematic presentation.

     The presentation of the film represents a significant upgrade from the last version to be released in these parts, in 2004. People still continue to argue whether traditional cel animation benefits as greatly from a high-definition upgrade as CGI however there is no doubt that this is the best that the film has ever looked and that it presents very well on Blu-ray.

     The delicate backgrounds and pastel colours are well rendered and the other colours, from the brightness of Kiki's bow to the black of Jiji, look excellent.

    There are no technical problems with the presentation.

    There are subtitles in English.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


     Kiki's Delivery Service comes with two LPCM soundtracks. There are no surprises. Both are 2.0 soundtracks reflecting the earlier DVD release.

     The Blu-ray contains, as with the previous DVD, the Japanese original dub and the English dub from 1997. Both are excellent renditions with the English featuring a young Kirsten Dunst as well as the last performance by Phil Hartman prior to his untimely death.

     Whilst a surround track could have been created for the film the presentation provided here is excellent with good stereo separation including clear dialogue and punchy sound effects.

     The music is by legend Joe Hisaishi which well suits the subject matter.

    There are no technical problems with the sound.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


     The Blu-ray contains numerous extras. Some were already included on the previous Region 4 release:

     Others were on the Region 1 Special Edition which came out in 2010. These include the following:

Creating Kiki's Delivery Service(2.26)

     A short feature about the creation of the script from the original novel and Miyazaki's decision to take over as director. Miyazaki wanted a world which was vaguely European and existed in a space of time approximating the 50s but as if the war had never happened.

Kiki and Jiji (3.26)

     The creation of a genuine adolescent girl is the focus here. Miyazaki also talks about the work that went into animating the lovable Jiji.

Flying with Kiki And Beyond (2.49)

     The concept of witch flight presented an animation problem - how could you show someone sitting on a broom without looking like they were uncomfortable?

Producer’s Perspective: Collaborating with Miyazaki (1.47)

     Producer Toshiro Suzuki talks about the problem facing Miyazaki, who came from a family of boys and has only male children, to create a story about adolescent girls.

The Locations of Kiki (29.13)

     Part of a long documentary on Ghibli locations this looks at the deliberately confusing European locations copied for the film.

Behind the Microphone (4.59)

     A featurette featuring a cute-as-a-button Kirsten Dunst, Phil Hartman, Janeane Garofalo and others talking about the process of making the dub.

Original Japanese theatrical trailers (7.44)

     Lots of trailers.

Studio Ghibli Collection Trailers (4.35)

     Lots more trailers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.


     The only available version to date is the Japanese Region A which does not have the English dub. Buy local.


     Kiki's Delivery Service may not be the most powerful or moving Studio Ghibli film but it is much loved for its gentle themes and adorable characters.

    The Blu-ray release is very good in sound and vision terms and there are a decent number of extras included.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Trevor Darge (read my bio)
Friday, June 14, 2013
Review Equipment
DVDCambridge 650BD (All Regions), using HDMI output
DisplaySony VPL-VW80 Projector on 110" Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer SC-LX 81 7.1
SpeakersAaron ATS-5 7.1

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