Jaewoo’s review published on Letterboxd:
Watched with my Letterboxd buddy Arnav (Go follow them if you haven’t already!)
Brilliantly melding a coming of age story with Studio Ghibli’s more prominent traits into one entertaining, emotionally satisfying, and at all times charming animated delight, Kiki’s Delivery Service takes fun characters and a lively setting and turns them into more than your average animated film and the result is a truly magical experience for audiences of all ages.
What works so well about Kiki’s Delivery Service is that it takes the story of a witch and makes it grounded in human emotions, and ultimately relatable. Yeah, Kiki can fly, but that’s doesn’t mean she doesn’t have to deal with obstacles and problems in her life. This isn’t so much a story about a witch and her delivery service as it is a story about finding your place in this world. It’s an enlightening experience where you can learn as much about yourself as you do the world.
However, the film remains creative and enjoyable throughout its runtime. It’s a very comforting time. The visuals are stunning the whole way through, leading to every single scene feeling so warm and lived in. The story as a whole is thoughtful and very well constructed. Plot points are well placed and thought out, leading to a film where pay offs are satisfying and the storytelling is easy to follow. The whole time, it’s supported by incredible music from the immeasurably talented Joe Hisaishi, and despite having done great work for many other Ghibli films, this is one of his best.
The first time I watched this, my big problem with it was that I thought the ending was a bit anti-climactic. Although I wouldn’t call it one of my favorite endings, I actually really liked it this time, and thought that it flowed with the story better than I previously thought. This time, my big problem is that I thought the pacing kind of slowed down near the middle, which, thankfully, is nowhere near as great of a flaw as the one I had last viewing. I still wouldn’t call this one of my favorite Ghibli films, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, seeing as how great most of the input from the studio is. Adorable from beginning to end.