Kiki's Delivery Service (UK - BD RB)
Marcus takes to the sky with Kiki and Jiji in this Ghibli classic now on Blu-ray...
Kiki (Kirsten Dunst) is a 13 year old witch and as is witch tradition she must now venture out and live alone for a year away from her mother. Settling on Koriko, a port city Kiki struggles to find anything she’s good at and settles on providing a delivery service for the local bakery. With her ever growing broom flying skills Kiki’s cat Jiji (Phil Hatman) is her only friend until local aviation fanatic Tombo (Matthew Lawrence) takes a liking to the young witch but when Kiki loses her ability to fly and do witchy things Kiki begins to feel like she’ll never be a great witch and questions her future. Maybe with some belief in herself, maybe she can regain her powers and take to the skies once again.
Kiki’s Delivery Service is a Doidge household family favourite. Sitting just behind My Neighbour Totoro on the Ghibli scale for two of my three daughters (the third is only just one, and not compiled her list of favorites together just yet) I guess the draw to the kids is that Kiki is full of enjoyable girly visuals and a whole host of characters that are easy to love however it has more going for it than just that.
Kiki herself, with the big red bow on her head is a delight to be around and Kirsten Dunst brings all of her most likable qualities to the character. The simple imagery of this young witch bored behind a counter or flying through the blue skies is one of Ghibli’s most loved in terms of affection (and merchandise) and when you add the black cat Jiji to the mix you have a memorable duo that’s easy for anyone to fall in love with.
Kiki’s Delivery Service is brimming in feel good charms, has a real world quality to it, despite its broom flying hijinks and once again offers up a female led story that caters for little girls and grown ups alike. Kiki’s coming of age tale is full of heart, is almost unbearably cute in places and offers up a genuinely moving tale about a little witch struggling to find her path in life. This one is Studio Ghibli at its finest, balancing quaint, with spectacular and funny with real emotion but how does Kiki fair in the world of 1080p?
The colours are a little muted in this Miyazki movie especially when compared to modern Ghibli standards but the upgrade here is still immediately felt. The largely blue coloured palette covers all the variations well from sky blue to the Kiki's navy witch dress and everything in between and the wave of boosted colour is a nice overhaul for little Kiki.
Backgrounds and shading are just stunning here in HD with all of the Ghibli goodness rich in detail and all presented with a real depth to the image. Some of the flying scenes are dazzling to look at and some of the lines of the hand drawn animation have never looked better. Grain is minimal but still there in larger areas of colour but all in all Kiki has never looked better on home release and it's a joy to have her in the collection finally.
The stereo track here is solid throughout in regards to crisp clear stereo sound. The fun loving score is well placed and the dialogue is nice and central but there's a slight anomaly. Well at least to my ears.
I don't know whether it's something to do with Dunst's young voice needing tweaking but sometimes her recording here sounds a little digital. Sadly I no longer have my original DVD copy to compare this against but despite tweaks to my sound systems and even checking to make sure it wasn't faulty there's a distinct albeit slight issue here. It's not just Kiki's voice either, there's also a sonicness to some of the atmospheric sound effects such as rain and raised voices. This is really only ever slight and thankfully not a killer to the overall presentation but its the higher pitched sounds that seem to suffer the most. I'm on the fence about whether or not this an actual fault, it's really only there once you tune into it and I got used to it after a while but it still bugged me and felt it needed mentioning.
As always the great entire movie length of storyboards lives in the bottom corner of the screen if you so choose and beyond that its all mini featurettes. I'll try to get through them quickly to emphasis just how short they actually are. Ready, here goes...
'Ursula's Painting' (02:32 SD) gives a closer look to the charter's artwork glimpsed at in the film, 'Creating Kiki's Delivery Service' (02:26 HD) is a tiny making of, 'Kiki and Jiji' (03:26 HD) focuses in on the lead characters and 'Flying With Kiki and Beyond' 02:49 HD) looks closer at the mini sequel within the film's credits.
The 'Producers Perspective' (01:47 HD) is too short for its own good
The Locations of Kiki (29:13 HD), 'Behind the Microphone' (04:59 SD) is an original featuette from the Disney DVD release and then we wrap up with the 'Original Japanese Trailers' and a batch of Studio Ghibli Collection Trailers including a dialogue-less From Up On Poppy Hill. Oh and of course there's a DVD copy that magics its way into the release too.
Kiki’s Delivery Service is a delight and it never fails to hit all of the right notes even on the umpteenth rewatch. This release looks great in HD but I had issues with the higher pitches in the sound mix, that I'm still not 100% is a fault and just something I never picked up on my multiple watches of the film over the years. The extras are good but so frustratingly short, so while this is a solid release, its not without its issues.
* Note: The above images are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable for all
Release Date: 1st July 2013
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: LPCM 2.0 English. LPCM 2.0 Japanese
Extras: Featurettes, Storyboards, trailers
Easter Egg: No
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Cast: Kirsten Dunst, Phil Hartman, Matthew Lawrence
Genre: Adventure, Animation, Drama and Family
Length: 103 minutes
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