Kiki's Delivery Service (Majo no Takkyubin) (Studio Ghibli Collection) (1989)

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Released 21-Oct-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Animation Main Menu Audio & Animation
Additional Footage-Ursula's Painting
Theatrical Trailer
Storyboards-Alternative Angle Storyboards
Trailer-Princess Mononoke, Laputa Castle In The Sky,
Trailer-Spirited Away, Grave Of The Fireflies
Reversible Cover
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1989
Running Time 104:19 (Case: 103)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (46:51) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Hayao Miyazaki
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Minami Takayama
Kirsten Dunst
Rei Sakuma
Phil Hartman
Kappei Yamaguchi
Matthew Lawrence
Keiko Toda
Tress MacNeille
Janeane Garoafalo
Hiroko Seki
Edie McClure
Haruko Kato
Debbie Reynolds
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music Jô Hisaishi


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
English
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, denouement scenes

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

Plot Synopsis

    Kiki's Delivery Service is a sweet little tale. It's the story of a young girl (13 years old) who, by the traditions she has grown up with, must leave home and go to another town for a year as the start of her training. Training as a witch, that is.

    In Kiki's world, witches are nice people who provide a variety of services for hire. Kiki's mother, also a witch, makes potions — when first we see her she is making a potion to help an old lady with her rheumatism.

    This is an interesting rite of passage. At midnight, on a night of a full moon, a 13 year old witch must leave home, fly to another town (one without a resident witch), and must make herself a place there — establish a home, earn herself a living providing some service, basically look after herself for a year. Oh, she isn't abandoned: she can write to her parents, she can even go home — but if she goes home she has failed (and, one assumes, must give up her ambition to be a witch).

    Kiki hasn't learned much in the way of witch skills — she hasn't learned potion-making from her mother, for example — about all she can do is fly on her broom (and she needs work on steering!). So she decides to capitalise on the only skill she has. She starts Kiki's Delivery Service. We get to see her adventures in delivery, and her meeting all sorts of new people, including a boy...

    This is an entertaining film, and one that can be enjoyed by the whole family.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, 16x9 enhanced. That is the original aspect ratio.

    The picture is clear and sharp. Film grain is never a problem, and there is no sign of low-level noise.

    Colour is well-rendered, and there's plenty of rich colour to be rendered. Oddly, Kiki's dress is supposed to be black (according to the subtitles of the Japanese dialogue), but it looks more indigo to me (still, the R1 looks the same). There are no colour-related artefacts.

    There are no film artefacts of any significance.

    There is some mild aliasing every so often, but it's barely visible. There is no visible moiré. There is a bit of interleaving, but it's not really visible at normal playing speed. There are no MPEG artefacts.

    There are the two subtitle tracks, both in English. The first set are English for the Hearing Impaired, and they subtitle the English dialogue. They are quite accurate, and well-timed to the dialogue. The second set are literal English subtitles for the Japanese dialogue. Both sets of subtitles are easy to read.

    The disc is single-sided, dual layer, formatted RSDL. The layer change comes at 46:51 — it's well placed in black between scenes.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The soundtrack is provided in English and Japanese, the standard offering for anime. I listened to both soundtracks in full. Both soundtracks are Dolby Digital 2.0, at 224kbps.

    The English dialogue is clear and understandable. The voice acting is done by regular actors, rather than specialist voice actors, but they have done quite a good job. Kirsten Dunst, as Kiki, bears the brunt of the load, and does a good job — this is not her only voice-acting job (she has featured in Small Soldiers and Anastasia, for example), but this was her first voice-action performance. Phil Hartman makes a marvellous Jiji. I did find it amusing that the English dialogue and subtitles give the name Barsa to the old lady's companion, while the Japanese dialogue makes it clear that her name is Bertha (which sounds like Barsa when pronounced in a Japanese accent).

    The Japanese dialogue sounds clear enough. The Japanese voice actor for Jiji sounds a bit odd — I actually prefer Phil Hartman's interpretation.

    The score is provided by Joe Hisaishi — it's a pleasant mix of styles that goes with the setting of the film in a roughly 1950s era.

    The 2.0 soundtracks are pure stereo — they make no use of the surrounds or subwoofer.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    The menu is animated with music. It's easy enough to use.

Reversible Cover Slick

    The inside cover shows a quieter Kiki in the bread shop.

Insert

    A single page listing the chapter titles.

Featurette: Ursula's Painting  (2:27)

    I don't understand the point of this - it's just zooming around looking at different bits of the painting.

Original Japanese Trailers (7:35)

    This is a series of promotional spots, some of them trailers, some of them TV spots.

Alternate Angle Storyboards

    This is a full-length set of storyboards, complete with either soundtrack and either set of subtitles. I like the fact that you can use the Angle button on the remote to switch between storyboards and movie.

Studio Ghibli Trailers

    Four trailers that can be played selectively:

DVD Credits

    The Madman people responsible for this disc.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 1 version of this disc was released some time back, and I bought it then. It's a Walt Disney Home Entertainment release. It's a two disc edition, so you'd think it would be much richer than this Region 4 single disc. Strangely, it isn't.

    The second disc of the Region 1 version has nothing on it but the full-length storyboards. They have included both the English and Japanese soundtracks with the storyboards, but there are no subtitles (which makes the Japanese soundtrack less attractive unless you understand Japanese). And you can't flick between the movie and the storyboards, because they are on different discs. So I consider the storyboards on the second disc of the R1 release as considerably less value than the ones on the R4.

    The Region 4 disc is missing:

    The Region 1 disc is missing:

    The R1 English soundtrack may be formatted as 5.1, but I didn't notice any particular activity from the subwoofer or surrounds — I wouldn't choose the R1 on that basis.

    The featurette is mildly interesting, but it's not a decision-maker. And John Lasseter's introduction says next to nothing.

    As described above, the storyboards on the R4 are better value.

    The R1 transfer is quite good, but I think the R4 is very slightly better — have a look at 47:21, for example, where the R1 is a bit soft. All in all, I recommend the Region 4 version over the R1.

Summary

    A delightful anime movie, presented rather well on DVD.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is very good.

    The extras are somewhat meagre, but if you like storyboards, you're set!

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Friday, November 12, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

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Comments (Add)
reversible covers - orangecat (my kingdom for a decent bio)
Different intros/outros for different languages - Anonymous
ONLY features English-language credits... - Darth Lavender
Soundtrack differs - Anonymous