Parent Guide to Kiki’s Delivery Service from Studio Ghibli

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Navigating the world of anime movies can be difficult for parents when they aren’t familiar with the genre. It is my desire that this post will serve as a guide so you can enjoy Kiki’s Delivery Service from Studio Ghibli with your children.

As always, use your own discretion when selecting movies for your family.

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Kiki’s Delivery Service Movie Summary

A sweet and charming coming of age story about a young witch, Kiki, and her black cat sidekick, Jiji, who move to a new town by the sea where she starts her own flying broomstick delivery service. But Kiki experiences a crisis when her powers suddenly disappear. When her friend Tombo’s life is in danger, can Kiki find her magic again? 

Kiki’s Delivery Service Information

Kiki’s Delivery Service is pure delight! In fact, I daresay that if you were to only watch one Studio Ghibli film, this should be the one. It’s also a fantastic one to start with. The plot has just the right mix of action and introspection so that it never feels boring and yet it also gives us time to get to know Kiki and feel invested in her journey to adulthood. Kiki and the people she meets are kind, generous, cheerful, and helpful, which feels like a breath of fresh air when the trend these days is to be dark, gritty, and cynical. Even wise-cracking Jiji, her talking cat, has more of a wry, world-weary wit than jaded snark. And how wonderful to see that Kiki and Tombo are truly just friends, without any hint of sexual tension sullying it. These wholesome qualities call to mind Anne of Green Gables, Heidi, and other classics – fitting as it was adapted from a children’s book. 

As wholesome as it is, though, there are a few things discerning parents ought to know up front. While none of them are seriously questionable, nonetheless in the interest of full disclosure, let’s talk about witches, bloomers, and peril. 

Kiki is a witch. But what kind of witch is she? Well, in some ways a very stereotypical one: she wears a black dress, has a black cat companion, and rides a broomstick. Her mother makes potions, and an acquaintance states her specialty is fortune telling. However, Kiki’s magic is not accessed through wands, spells, incantations, divination, or conjuring. It’s an innate quality that lets her levitate astride a broom and talk to cats. That’s all the magic we ever see her use on screen. Furthermore, Miyazaki seems to be using her magic as a metaphor for creativity or talent–she was “born with it” but now, on the cusp of adulthood, she needs to overcome doubt and find her purpose for using it. 

When she flies, it’s common enough to see a bit of her bloomers–wide, baggy shorts–and though this is never remarked upon and is a far cry from a “panty shot” common in anime, it is nonetheless present.

Kiki does find herself in some perilous situations, which could be too frightening for sensitive viewers. She is nearly blown off her broomstick by several storms, she is attacked by birds, a bike careens out of control, and there is an intense dirigible accident towards the end with a lot of chaos, screaming, and Tombo’s life at stake. Additionally, some parents may find it troublesome that Kiki disobeys a police officer when she first arrives and hitchhikes with her friend Ursula. 

Despite these moments, Kiki is an all-around commendable heroine whose adventures are sure to bewitch viewers 5 and up

Kiki’s Delivery Service: Where to Watch

You can purchase the Blu-Ray Disc.

Watch the movie trailer.

Kiki’s Delivery Service Discussion

  • How would you feel if you had to leave your family for a year to live somewhere totally new? What would you bring with you?

  • Why does Kiki feel isolated from the town even though most people are kind to her?

  • Kiki uses her powers to help others in her new town. How does this inspire you to do the same in your community?
  • Why do you think Kiki lost her powers?  Why do you think they came back?

  • What does Miyazaki say about creativity, inspiration, purpose, and self-doubt in the conversation between Kiki and Ursula in the cabin?

This post is one of several in our series, “A Parent’s Guide to Studio Ghibli.

Check out all of the Studio Ghibli Guides:

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