13 year old Kiki (Dunst) leaves her loving home to start her first year as an apprentice witch. Flying on her broomstick with her trusty black cat Jiji (Hartman), she settles in a coastal town where she finds lodging in the attic of a kindly baker (MacNeille). She earns her keep by running a flying delivery service around town, and soon meets young artist Ursula (Garofalo) and Tombo (Lawrence), an aviation-obsessed boy. With each new order, Kiki faces new challenges and adventures, but with her plucky spirit, we sense she’ll come through in the end.
Why we love it
Miyazaki’s canvas favors a simple, artistic style that doesn’t need 3D bells and whistles to communicate sincerity of emotion and intensity of action. His landscapes are detailed and artistic, and his characters based in straightforward honesty. Even when dealing with a witch, Miyazaki grounds Kiki in reality so that she is accessible and relatable. The flying scenes are wonderful, and Kiki’s relationships bubble with forthright innocence. Especially touching is her friendship with the nerdy Tombo, who longs to fly like Kiki. If you are new to anime and the cinema of Miyazaki, this beautiful adventure makes the perfect introduction.