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Kiki's Delivery Service (魔女の宅急便 Majo no Takkyūbin, lit. "Witch's Delivery Service") is a 1989 animated fantasy film written, directed and produced by Hayao Miyazaki. It was animated by Studio Ghibli for publisher Tokuma Shoten, Yamato Transport Co. and the Nippon Television Network and distributed by the Toei Company. The film's theme song was the song by Yumi Arai.

The film is based on the children's novel of the same name by Eiko Kadono. However, the film deviated from the original novel's story and themes, which upset Kadono during its production. She has since reconciled with Miyazaki.[1] A more faithful live action film adaptation was released on March 1, 2014, featuring Kadono as the narrator.

The film began production on April 1, 1988, and was released in Japan on July 29, 1989, and won the Animage Anime Grand Prix prize. It was the first film released under a 15-year distribution partnership between The Walt Disney Company and Studio Ghibli; Buena Vista Home Video recorded an English dub in 1997, which premiered in United States theaters at the Seattle International Film Festival on May 23, 1998. The film was released on home video in the U.S. and Canada on September 15, 1998.



"Do witches have to leave home as part of their training?"
"Yes, it's an old custom. If a child wants to be a witch, she leaves home when she turns 13."
"How soon. So Kiki is at that age already?"
"But to leave home alone so young, it won't do in this day and age."
"I remember well the day you came to this town. A tiny, 13-year-old girl riding on a broom, dropping out of the sky. Eyes sparkling, a bit saucy..."
"But that child, all she's mastered is flying. And there'll be no one to carry on my medicine-making."
"It's the fault of the times. Everything's changing."
—Kokiri and Dora

Kiki laying in a field wondering what the day would bring.

One blustery day, thirteen-year-old trainee witch Kiki lay idle on a field listening to her radio, when she hears an announcement that the evening would be clear with a beautiful moon. She rushes home and informs her mother Kokiri that she plans to leave home that very evening. As Kiki rushes to her room, Kokiri informs her client Dora of the age-old tradition that 13-year-old witches had to leave home for a year on the night of a full moon to pursue their skill through training. As Kiki packs her belongings, her father Okino arrives home, as it turns out they were going to go camping that weekend. He's told of her plans and soon, Kokiri fits Kiki with her purple witch's uniform.

Citizens of Koriko aren't sure what to make of Kiki.

That evening, her family and friends gather to send Kiki off. She leaves home with her companion, a talking black cat named Jiji. While having trouble at first with her flying at first she flies away. Along the way, she encounters a fortune-telling witch who tells her of the challenges she may face when settling in a new town. They part ways and eventually, Kiki flies on her broomstick to the port city of Koriko. The citizens seem unfazed by her arrival, though. While trying to find somewhere to live, Kiki is pursued by Tombo Kopoli, a geeky boy obsessed with aviation who admires her flying ability. Kiki soon finds herself at a bakery, whose owner seems completely overwhelmed by the number of her customers.

Starting a Job

"I see...So that's why you're looking for your own town."
"The people of this town don't seem to like witches."
"It's a big town, and there are all kinds of people. But me, I like you. And have you found a place to stay? No? Well, if that's the case, why didn't you say something earlier. We have a spare room you can use."
—Osono offering Kiki a place to stay

Kiki discussing terms with Osono and her new delivery business.

In exchange for accommodation, Kiki helps Osono, the kindly and heavily pregnant owner of Gütiokipänjä, a local bakery. She confesses that her only skill happens to be flying, thus they decide to open a "Witch Delivery Business", delivering goods by broomstick. One of Osono's regular customers named Maki notices Kiki and asks her to deliver a birthday gift for her nephew Ket. Kiki gladly accepts and before leaving, she shows off her flying abilities to Tombo, who wishes he could fly like her.

Kiki struggles to make her first delivery.

Unfortunately, her first delivery goes badly; she is caught in wind and loses the black cat toy she is supposed to deliver. The toy fell on a crow's nest. As Kiki attempts to retrieve the toy, she gets attacked by crows, thinking she is trying to steal their eggs. Jiji laments how far the standing of witches have fallen and that crows used to be their retainers. Jiji then, under the watchful eye of an old dog named Jeff, is forced to pretend to be the toy until Kiki can retrieve the real item. She finds it in the cabin of a young painter, Ursula, who repairs and returns it to Kiki so she can complete the delivery and rescue Jiji.

Kiki is upset upon realizing Jiji had lost his voice.

Kiki falls into a slump, as customers for her delivery service slows to a trickle. Kiki reluctantly accepts a party invitation from Tombo and his friends from the Aviation Club. She makes a quick delivery to an elderly Madame who offers her herring and pumpkin potpie. Kiki offer the madame's assistant Barsa help with her wood-burning oven. Kiki soon realizes she's late for Tombo's party, so instead decided to make one last delivery. It begins to rain heavily as she delivers some potpie for Madame's granddaughter. Exhausted from the journey, she falls ill with a fever and hence cannot make the party.

Heartbroken Kiki

"Magic and painting are a lot alike. You know, a lot of times, I just can't paint."
"Really? When that happens, what do you do? Before, I could fly without giving it a thought. But now, I don't know how I did it."
"When that happens, all one can do is struggle through it. I draw and draw, and keep drawing."
"But then, if I can't fly..."
"Then I stop drawing. I take walks, look at the scenery, take naps, do nothing. Then after a while, all of a sudden I get the urge to draw again.."
—Ursula advising Kiki

Tombo takes Kiki on a ride on his bike. He's excited for the dirigible that arrived for repairs.

When she recovers, Osono clandestinely arranges for Kiki to see Tombo again by assigning her a delivery addressed to him. After Kiki apologizes for missing the party, Tombo shows off the new dirigible that arrived in town for repairs. He takes her for a test ride on the flying machine he is working on fashioned from a bicycle. Kiki warms to Tombo but is intimidated by his pretty friends, who seem to look down at her. She walks home in defeat.

Ursula shows Kiki her latest creation to cheer her up.

Kiki becomes depressed and discovers she can no longer understand Jiji, who has befriended a pretty white cat. She has also lost her flying ability and is forced to suspend her delivery business. Kiki has a surprise visit from Ursula at the bakery, who determines that Kiki's crisis is a form of artist's block. Ursula begins working on her latest painting, suggesting it was inspired by her encounter with Kiki. Ursula explains, "I decided to become an artist when I was about your age. I liked to draw so much, I almost hated to go to bed. And then one day, all of a sudden, I couldn't draw anything. Everything I drew, I didn't like. I realized that my art up to then was a copy of someone else, things I had seen somewhere. I decided I had to discover my own style. It's still difficult. But then, the results...They seem to be a little better than before." She suggests that if Kiki can find a new purpose, she will regain her powers.

Rendevous on a Push-Broom

"Father, Mother, how are you? Jiji and I are both very well. My work's on the right track and I'm confident. It's been hard sometimes, but I love this town."
—Kiki's letter to her parents

Kiki bravely rescues Tombo from the falling airship "Spirit of Freedom".

The following morning, Kiki is visited by the Barsa and the Madame whose over she helped. She personally came to thank Kiki for her hard work. At the same time, the television reports that the dirigible "Spirit of Freedom" is set to depart. As the "Seahorse Band" and crowd bid the airship farewell, a sudden gale dislodges the airship's moors and is blown off course. The airship manages to crash into the clock tower and is suspended above the town plaza. Kiki then witnesses the Tombo hanging from one of the drifting vessel's mooring lines.

As the radio reports that the helium within the dirigible is not likely to explode, Kiki takes a street sweeper's push-broom and regains her flying power and flies towards Tombo. The airship gets caught in the town's clock tower and the crew manage to jump to safety. Tombo however, is still in danger. Kiki flies as fast as she can and manages to rescue Tombo as he slips and falls. During the celebration, Kiki rejoins with Jiji who hops on her shoulder. She regains her confidence, resumes her delivery service, and writes a letter home saying that she and Jiji are happy and doing great with her witch skills.


Kiki (キキ , Kiki)
Minami Takayama (Japanese), Kirsten Dunst (Disney)
The main protagonist of the film. A girl born between a witch and an ordinary human being. Born on June 2nd, when she was 10 years of age, she decided to live as a witch. She is curious, innocent, affable and sweet little witch, and rather stubborn at times and proud. On her 13th birthday, she decided to leave her home on a full moon night in the spring with her familiar, Gigi, to settle in a town where no witch lived. She is confused by the cold reception she gets when she first arrives in Koriko, but decides to stay there and tough it out. She ends up working at a bakery called "Gütiokipänjä". She opens a "Witch Delivery Business". She became adept at flying with her broom at the age of 13. She also learned to make cold medicines from her mother Kokiri.
Jiji (ジジ , Gigi)
Rei Sakuma (Japanese), Phil Hartman (Disney)
Kiki's black cat companion / familiar. Born at the same time as Kiki. He can speak thanks to Kiki's magic, but can't talk to anyone other than Kiki. When Kiki's magical power weakens, he could no longer talk. He ends up finding a mate and having little kittens.
Okino (オキノ , Okino)
Kōichi Miura (Japanese), Jeff Bennett (Disney)
Kiki's father. An ordinary human being and a scholar of folklore. He studies the legends and folktales of fairies and witches.
Kokiri (コキリ , Kokiri)
Mieko Nobusawa (Japanese), Kath Soucie (Disney)
Kiki's mother. She belongs to an old bloodline witch.
Osono (おソノ , Osono)
Keiko Toda (Japanese), Tress MacNeille (Disney)
The owner of a bakery named Gütiokipänjä. She takes in Kiki after learning she just arrived at Koriko and had no place to live. She later gives birth to a baby girl named Nono-chan.
Osono's Husband (おソノさんのだんなさん , Osono-san no Dan'na-san)
Koichi Yamadera (Japanese), Brian Cummings (Disney)
Breadmaker. Quiet. His name is Fukuo, but that isn't revealed until the fourth book of the series.



According to Hayao Miyazaki, "My concept of 'magic' in this film departed from the traditional approach to magic stories. I only wanted it to be a limited talent. So at times she won't be able to fly. It would've been pointless to explain, for example, how she couldn't fly because of her fight with Tombo. I thought that girls watching this would understand the film on its own terms. We sometimes aren't able to draw something that once came so easily. We might even forget how we learned to draw it in the first place. I really don't know how this happens."[2]

Ursula's Painting

Usula's painting and its original source print.

Ursula's painting was originally based on a print from a school for the disabled, and was touched by background artist Kazuo Oga. Miyazaki described its purpose, "It doesn't matter what Ursula paints as long as its spirited. Given how her painting is thematically related to the film, the actual paintings had to be powerful. The paintings convey the life of a secluded female artist more than they do some message. I was looking forward to drawing them myself once I was done with the storyboards [laughs]. When I couldn't afford to do so, I recalled the print, "Ship Flying Over the Rainbow". The print was made by a teacher at a school for the disabled (Hachinoche City Minato Special Junior High School). We obtained permission from the instructor and added a face to the original illustration. Replacing the horse's face with Kiki's would have been inconceivable."[3]

Behind the Scenes

Initial Plans

Ta-Q-Bin or Takkyūbin, Yamato Transport Co.'s mascot. They are one of the major sponsors of the film.

In December 1985, a film production company known as Group Fudosha drew up plans to adapt Eiko Kadono's children's novel, Kiki's Delivery Service. Since Ta-Q-Bin or Takkyūbin (宅急便 , lit. shipping or fast service, also the name of Yamato's company mascot) was a registered trademark of Yamato Transport Co. , Ltd., they were first company that was approached to sponsor the film's production. Yamato Transport was initially hesitant, but realized that the use of the company's trademark black cat mascot would be a beneficial as a similar black cat appears in the film.

In the spring of 1987, Group Fudosha and Yamato Transport, Inc. formed a cooperation with Kadono's publisher Tokuma Shoten through Dentsu, Inc. (a major advertising agency) to acquire the rights to adapt Kadono's novel into a feature film directed by either Hayao Miyazaki or Isao Takahata of Studio Ghibli. However, both of the chosen directors were busy, working on My Neighbor Totoro respectively. Miyazaki accepted the role of producer while the studio continued to search for a director.[4]


Original concept sketches for Kiki. Miyazaki was unhappy with the design, and drew the final, short-haired version. He kept the large ribbon as a symbol of her youth.

Near the end of Totoros production, members of Studio Ghibli were being recruited as senior staff for Kiki's Delivery Service. The character design position was given to Katsuya Kondō, who was working with Miyazaki on the Totoro film before. Hiroshi Ohno, who would later work on projects such as Jin-Roh, was hired as art director at the request of Kazuo Oga.

Miyazaki chose Sunao Katabuchi as director. Katabuchi had worked with Miyazaki on Sherlock Hound; Kiki's Delivery Service would be his directorial debut. Studio Ghibli hired Nobuyuki Isshiki as script writer, but Miyazaki was dissatisfied by the first draft, finding it dry and too divergent from his own vision of the film.[5] Since the novel was based in a fictional country in northern Europe, Miyazaki and the senior staff went to research landscapes and other elements of the setting. Their main stops were Stockholm and Visby at the Swedish island Gotland.[6] Upon their return to Japan, Miyazaki and the creative team worked on conceptual art and character designs. Miyazaki began significantly modifying the story, creating new ideas and changing existing ones.[7]

A cafe / bakery in Porten, Gotland of Visby.

Majo no Takkyūbin, the original children's book by Kadono that the movie was based on, is very different from Miyazaki's finished film. Kadono's novel is more episodic, consisting of small stories about various people and incidents Kiki encounters while making deliveries. Kiki overcomes many challenges in the novel based on "her good heart" and consequently expands her circle of friends. She faces no particular traumas or crises. Many of the more dramatic elements, such as Kiki losing her powers or the airship incident at the film's climax, are not present in the original story. However, in order to more clearly illustrate the themes of struggling with independence and growing up in the film, Miyazaki intended to have Kiki face tougher challenges and create a more potent sense of loneliness.

The film's logo was based on the original art from Eiko Kadono's novel.

One such challenge is Kiki's sudden loss of ability to fly. This event is only loosely paralleled in the novel, in which Kiki's broom breaks and merely requires her to fix it. Miyazaki remarked, "As movies always create a more realistic feeling, Kiki will suffer stronger setbacks and loneliness than in the original". Kadono was unhappy with the changes that made between the book and film, to the point that the project was in danger of being shelved at the screenplay stage. Miyazaki and Toshio Suzuki, the producer of Studio Ghibli, went to the author's home and invited her to the film's studio. After her visit to the studio, Kadono decided to let the project continue.[8]


Miyazaki finished the rough draft of the screenplay in June 1988 and presented it in July 1988. Sunao Katabuchi was scheduled to assume the director's chair, and would've been assisted by several directors at the will of the sponsoring companies. These initial plans later fell through after Miyazaki revealed that he had decided to direct the film, because he had influenced the project so much.[7] The film was originally intended to be a 60-minute special, but expanded into a feature film running 102 minutes after Miyazaki completed storyboarding and scripting it.[9] Yoshifumi Kondo also assisted Miyazaki with storyboard work, but due to the varying circumstances, he ended up as key drawing (genga) director. Katsuya Kondo and Shinji Otsuka were also greatly involved during production.

Large crowd scenes during the latter half of the film proved challenging to animate.

The production faced numerous delays due to the large number of crowd scenes during the second half of the film, which placed a heavy burden on the staff and proved difficult to animate. Isao Takahata took charge of the music production as Miyazaki's workload proved extremely taxing. Additional music work was given to composer Joe Hisaishi, who himself was busy with his own album production and busy schedule.

When planning the film's finale, Miyazaki described the accident with the dirigible as such, "If this incident occurred in the first half of the story the film could have easily revolved around it. Given how it occurs at the end, the dirigible had to be peripheral throughout the story so that the final scene wouldn't be completely out of the blue. We also had to come up with various approaches like the television broadcast to make it seem more real."[10]

"I wanted the film to leave the viewer with the impression that no matter how dispirited she gets, in the future she'll always rise above it. I didn't want to have a 'happily ever after' ending where she achieves success in her vocation or turns into a celerity. I really didn't want to make it a jobs-success story."[11]

According to a pamphlet available during the film's release, the city where Kiki lives is called Koriko. The city depicted in the film freely interwove scenes and architecture from Stockholm and Gotland Island in Visby, Sweden, all of which were filmed by Ghibli staff during a research trip. Miyazaki personally traveled to Ireland in 1988, and additional imagery for the film were inspired by trips to San Francisco, Lisbon, the countryside of Paris and Naples. In the movie, a rescue firefighter's helmet read "Corico" instead of "Koriko". However, it is common for the letter c to be translated as k into many different languages. Miyazaki had previously visited Stockholm and Visby in 1971 while working for A-production (the studio behind Lupin the 3rd) during a research trip for the failed Pippi Longstocking project.

Miyazaki wanted to depict Europe had it not been through two major wars, thereby slowing the development of technology. Therefore, despite the film being set in the 80's, the use of black and white television, old vehicles and airships was still commonplace.

Takkyūbin (宅急便) in the Japanese film title is a trademark of Yamato Transport. The company not only approved the use of its trademark, though its permission was not required under Japanese trademark laws,[12] The name of the bakery is a pun on panya (Japanese for bakery, lit. bread shop) and Guchokipa, an alternate name for Jankenpon, or Rock, Paper, Scissors in English.[13]


Miyazaki often chose to depict Kiki in a melancholy state as he wanted to capture the challenges of young girls learning to grow up independently.

It is the fifth Studio Ghibli film. It was the fourth theatrically released film from the studio, and was also the second feature film that Miyazaki directed but did not originally write himself. The film won the Animage Anime Grand Prix prize in 1989. Kiki's Delivery Service is based on Eiko Kadono's novel of the same name, which is the first in a series originally published by Fukuinkan Shoten in 1985. The film adaptation includes only some of the episodes in the book; it ends at the end of summer while the book covers an entire calendar year. The movie depicts the gulf that exists between independence and reliance in the hopes and spirit of ordinary Japanese teenage girls.

It was the first Studio Ghibli movie released under the Disney/Studio Ghibli partnership; Disney recorded an English dub in 1997, which theatrical premiered in the United States at the Seattle International Film Festival May 23, 1998. It was released on home video in the U.S. on September 1, 1998.

The first official English dub of Kiki's Delivery Service was produced by Carl Macek of Streamline Pictures at the request of Tokuma Shoten for Japan Airlines international flights. Kiki was portrayed by voice actress Lisa Michelson, who voiced Satuski in the Streamline Dub of My Neighbor Totoro. This dub is only available in the Ghibli Laserdisc Box Set.

Kirsten Dunst voiced Kiki in Disney's 1997 English dub, released in 1998. This dub was also Canadian comedian and actor Phil Hartman's last voice-acting performance (as Jiji) before his death in 1998.[14] The dub is dedicated to his memory.

Kiki's Delivery Service 2003 DVD cover from Walt Disney Home Entertainment.

The Disney English dub of Kiki's Delivery Service premiered at the Seattle International Film Festival on May 23, 1998. It was released to VHS on September 15, 1998. A few weeks later, Disney released another VHS of the movie, this time with the original Japanese soundtrack and with both English and Japanese subtitles. A laserdisc version of the English dub also became available at this time. The DVD was released on August 16, 2005, alongside the releases of Spirited Away and Castle in the Sky. It was again reissued in March 2010 along with My Neighbor Totoro and Castle in the Sky as a tribute to the home release of Ponyo. This version of this 2010 release was slightly edited to match the original Japanese version, removing some of Hartman's ad-libbed lines and replacing Sydney Forest's opening and ending songs with the original Japanese songs.

Two years later, on July 1, 2013, StudioCanal released a Blu-ray, followed by a Grave of the Fireflies release except in that same format, only in the United Kingdom. Disney released Kiki's Delivery Service on blu-ray on November 18, 2014. GKIDS re-issued the film on Blu-ray & DVD on October 17, 2017.

Differences Between Versions

Kiki's Delivery Service DVD from 2010.

Disney's English dub of Kiki's Delivery Service contained some changes, which have been described as "pragmatic".[15] The changes were approved by Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli.

There are a number of additions and embellishments to the film's musical score, and several lavish sound effects over sections that are silent in the Japanese original. The extra pieces of music, composed by Paul Chihara, range from soft piano music to a string-plucked rendition of Edvard Griegmusical's In the Hall of the Mountain King.[16] The original Japanese opening theme is "Message of Rouge", and the ending theme is "Yasashisa ni Tsutsumareta", both performed by Yumi Matsutoya (credited as Yumi Arai). The original opening and ending theme songs were replaced by two new songs, Soaring and I'm Gonna Fly, written and performed for the English dub by Sydney Forest.

The depiction of the cat, Jiji, changed significantly in the Disney version. In the Japanese version Jiji is voiced by Rei Sakuma, while in the English version Jiji is voiced by comedian Phil Hartman. In Japanese culture, cats are usually depicted with feminine voices, whereas in American culture their voices are more gender-specific. A number of Hartman's lines exist where Jiji simply says nothing in the original. Jiji's personality is notably different between the two versions, showing a more cynical and sarcastic attitude in the Disney English version as opposed to cautious and conscientious in the original Japanese.

In the original novel, familiarities like Jiji actually loses his ability to speak when their witch falls in love. Miyazaki ditched this in favor of various other story reasons.

In the original Japanese script, Kiki loses her ability to communicate with Jiji permanently, but the American version adds a line that implies that she is once again able to understand him at the end of the film.[17] Miyazaki said that Jiji is the immature side of Kiki,[18] and this implies that Kiki, by the end of the original Japanese version, has matured beyond talking to her cat.

More minor changes to appeal to the different teenage habits of the day include Kiki drinking hot chocolate instead of coffee and referring to "cute boys" instead of to "the disco".[19]

However, as outlined in the Release notes section above, the 2010 English release is once again quite different; many elements have reverted more towards the original Japanese version. For example, Jiji once again does not talk at the very end, and many of the sound effects added to the "traditional" English version have been removed.

The English subtitled script used for the original VHS subbed release and the later DVD release more closely adheres to the Japanese script, but still contains a few alterations. Tokuma mistakenly believed the Streamline dub was an accurate translation of the film and offered it to Disney to use as subtitles. As a result, several additions from the dub appear in the subtitles regardless of whether or not they are present in the film.[20]

In Spain, Kiki was renamed "Nicky" because in Castilian language the phonetically similar "quiqui" is commonly used in the slang expression "echar un quiqui", which means "to have intercourse". The film was re-titled Nicky la aprendiz de bruja.


Kiki's Delivery Service VHS 1998 Buena Vista Home Video.

In 2010, the film saw a re-release by Disney. This version featured less music and character dialogue, such as Kiki not being able to understand Jiji like in the Japanese original version. The opening song "Message of Rouge" (ルージュの伝言 Rūju no Dengon, ), and the ending song "Wrapped in Kindness" (やさしさに包まれたなら Yasashisa ni Tsutsumareta nara), both performed by Yumi Matsutoya (credited as Yumi Arai) were also restored.


A manga book series using stills from the film was published in Japan by Tokuma Shoten. An English translation was published in 2006 by VIZ Media, in four volumes.


In 1993, a musical version of the story was produced. Yukio Ninagawa wrote the script and Kensuke Yokouchi directed the show. The role of Kiki was portrayed by Youki Kudoh and the role of Tombo was portrayed by Akira Akasaka. Akasaka was replaced by Katsuyuki Mori within the year. A cast recording was produced by the original cast, and the show was revived in 1995 and 1996.



魔女の宅急便 アフレコ 1989

Hayao Miyazaki overseeing a voice recording session featuring Minami Takayama as Kiki and Rei Sakuma as Jiji.

"Kiki's Delivery Service" premiered on July 29, 1989, in Japanese theaters. The total distribution receipts were 2,170,000,000 Yen (US$18,000,000). The film proved to be a financial success and was the highest-grossing film in Japan in 1989. The Japanese DVD was the best selling anime DVD for February 7, 2001.

Buena Vista Home Video's VHS release became the 8th-most-rented title at Blockbuster stores during its first week of availability. This video release also sold over a million copies.

On September 4, 1998, Entertainment Weekly rated it as Video of the Year, and on September 12, 1998, it was the first video release to be reviewed as a normal film on Siskel and Ebert rather than on the Video Pick of the Week section. Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune and Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave it "two thumbs up" and Ebert went on to rank it as one of the best animated films of 1989. The film ranked #12 on Wizard's Anime Magazine's list of the "Top 50 Anime released in North America". Other reviews were very positive as well. On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, Kiki's Delivery Service has a score of 97% based on 29 reviews with an average rating of 7.8/10, the website's consensus reads, "Kiki's Delivery Service is a heartwarming, gorgeously-rendered tale of a young witch discovering her place in the world." The conservative Christian group Concerned Women for America boycotted Kiki's Delivery Service screenings and released a press release on February 5, 1998, titled "Disney Reverts to Witchcraft in Japanese Animation". Calling for a boycott of The Walt Disney Company, the group said the company "is still not family friendly, but continues to have a darker agenda".

Sponsorship Results

As a result of the film's sponsorship and advertising efforts via TV commercials, the film sold roughly 2.64 million tickets, and the distribution revenue reached 21.5 billion yen, more than three times as much as Ghibli's previous work in My Neighbor Totoro and Grave of the Fireflies.


Cover art for the film's original soundtrack by Joe Hisaishi and Yumi Matsutoya.

Kiki's Delivery Service (Image Album) was released by Tokuma Japan Communications on April 10, 1989. It featured re-orchestrated songs from the main soundtrack, and contained interviews and image boards from the movie.

Kiki's Delivery Service (Original Soundtrack) (魔女の宅急便 サントラ音楽集 , Majo no Takkyuubin Santora Ongaku-shuu) was released by Animage Records and Tokuma Japan Communications on August 25, 1989. It was composed by Joe Hisaishi and featured Yumi Matsutoya, while Isao Takahata served as music producer.

The recording session lasted from June to July 1989. It began immediately after Hisaishi, who had been to the United States for his solo album work, returned to Japan. Hisaishi wanted to recreate a distinctly European atmosphere featuring ethnic and dance-style songs using dulcimas (a folk instruments that became the precursor to the piano), guitars, and accordions. He also incorporated a Fairlight synthesizer, the same instrument he used for Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984).

In an interview found in the liner notes of the Image Album, Hisaishi explained, "That's right. It's a fictional country, but it has a European atmosphere, so I thought about using so-called European ethnic groups, which are also dance-like." "I wasn't really aware of that, but for example, there was a Greek-like nuance..."

"Yes. As I said earlier, my schedule was tight this time, so Mr. Takahata helped me a lot. Normally, I also act as a music director myself. However, this time it was difficult in terms of time, so I had a meeting with Mr. Takahata and Mr. Miyazaki to make a plan for which scene to put the music in, and based on that, I was allowed to compose. Of course, Mr. Takahata is also very familiar with music, so I'm relieved."

"This time, I've reduced the number of songs that uses synthesizers. In the past, I used about half of the songs using synthesizers and other electric instruments, but in this work, the content is also realistic, so the whole thing. I tried to bring it closer to the raw sound. The other feature of this time is that there are many melody parts that are Mediterranean-like, and that are also dance-like using triple time."

Takahata added, "I was trying to create a local color suitable for the film's European atmosphere. Also, I couldn't put music in the painful and sad places, or set a main theme song separately from the song. It's that waltz, but I think it's a characteristic of music handling that it is used repeatedly where Kiki's feelings gradually spread. I was worried during the song during Kiki's first flight that I didn't have a sense of speed and I couldn't add strange sound effects, but Mr. Hisaishi's music and Yumi's song were just right for what I was aiming for, and I was in a good mood. So I'm relieved."

Theme Songs

"Rouge no Dengon" (1975) The opening title song Kiki listens to while flying on her broom, is from Yumi Matsutoya's third album "COBALT HOUR". It was arranged in the rockabilly style of Fifties.

"If Enveloped In Tenderness" (1974) is an original song by Yumi Matsutoya and written for Fujiya's Soft Eclair candy. This song was arranged so sound like a country song. These distinct musical styles help the film not tie itself to a particular time period.



Kiki's Delivery Service - Ghibli logo.jpg

Just for a short time a bus pass by with Ghibli written on it.


Man looks like Hayao.

Kiki saving Tombo is broadcasted on TV. Next to the TV stands a man who looks like director Hayao Miyazaki. This cameo was noted in the film's release pamphlet.


Totoro and Mei easter egg.

Kiki owns a Totoro plush. Another small Totoro is found next to a girl in Koriko.

In the book shelf there is Totoro and Mei sitting in a toy house.


  • The order of chapters from the original novel were altered for the film, and the reason why Kiki could not fly well with her broom is different.
  • The Disney dub contains a memorial scene for Phil Hartman as he played the role of Jiji.
  • Many of the signboards in the film are written in English. However, the text of the Kiki's letter to her parents are written in Japanese. This was a concession to allow Japanese audiences to understand what was written, but they were intended to be the relevant language to the setting.
  • Although multiple concept layout images were made by Studio Ghibli, only one piece made it as a final cut in the film - that being the close-up scene of Kiki lying on a plain while listening to her radio.
  • Legendary animator Kenji Kamiyama, then a background staff member, worked on the scenes involving a firewood kiln being used to bake herring pie, and Kiki tearing up after she receives a cake from a kindly grandmother.
  • At the time of the film's first theatrical release, it was presented in 35mm film while the audio track was shown in Dolby Stereo (4 channel surround sound).
  • Toei President Shigeru Okada, who handled distribution, said in an interview in August 1990, "Mr. Yasuyoshi Tokuma and Hayao Miyazaki, who teamed up with Mr. Tokuma, have a shared insanity. Miyazaki worked at Toei in the very beginning and went on a rampage, but geniuses like him don't fit in the company. As a result, he seems to have had a hard time independently, but Miyazaki's insanity didn't come to fruition with Kiki's Delivery Service. Filmmaking is a passion. Even director Akira Kurosawa was inundated with customers for his work, but his film "Dreams" (1990) lost that kind of madness, so it's not good to get in. What I really want now is Miyazaki to invoke the guru-sama who utters madness. If this guru-sama doesn't come out from his work, he won't be able to create a blockbuster that will change the flow of the films."

Related Movie Content

  • A portion of the song "Sora Tobu Takkyuubin" in the film's soundtrack (around 24 seconds to 54 seconds track time) is used as background music for a radio commercial for a confectionery shop called "Sweets Day High". The store is known for "Nanjakoya Daifuku" and is located in Miyazaki City, Miyazaki Prefecture.

Possible Cameo Appearances

Two possible cameo appearances occur in the movie. The first appears to be director Hayao Miyazaki in the form of a background character with similar glasses. This occurs in the scene where the person who lent the push broom to Kiki announces proudly the broom was his. The second appears to occur during the rolling of the credits in the Japanese version. A rather large character in a non-speaking role appears in the center of the screen wearing a hat and glasses. Oddly, the character appears to have no eyes, nose, mouth, or ears. It is difficult to believe facial features of this character were omitted by accident. The evidently Western male figure appears for nearly a full 3 seconds. If the omission was intentional, the clue to who this character may have represented may be the style of his hat. Walt Disney, who by this time had died, appears in photographs wearing an almost identical hat. Although it should be pointed out that the hat style was quite popular.


Year Award Category Result Recipient
1990 12th Anime Grand Prix Best Anime Won Kiki's Delivery Service
Best Female Character Won Kiki
Best Anime Theme Song Won Yasashisa ni Tsutsumaretanara
44th Mainichi Film Award Best Animated Film Won Kiki's Delivery Service
Kinema Junpo Awards Readers' Choice Award Won Kiki's Delivery Service
13th Japan Academy Prize Special Award Won Kiki's Delivery Service
Popularity Award Won Kiki's Delivery Service
7th Annual Golden Gross Award Gold, Japanese Film Won Kiki's Delivery Service
The Movie's Day Special Achievement Award Won Kiki's Delivery Service
The Erandole Award Special Award Won

Kiki's Delivery Service

Japan Cinema Association Award Best Film Won Kiki's Delivery Service
Best Director Won Hayao Miyazaki
Japanese Agency of Cultural Affairs Best Film Won Kiki's Delivery Service
Tokyo Metropolitan Cultural Honor Best Film Won Kiki's Delivery Service
7th Annual Money Making Director's Award Best Director Won Hayao Miyazaki

Voice Cast

Character Japanese voice actor Streamline Dub (1990) Disney Dub (1998)
Kiki Minami Takayama Lisa Michelson Kirsten Dunst
Ursula Edie Mirman Janeane Garofalo
Barsa Hiroko Seki Edie McClurg
Jiji Rei Sakuma Kerrigan Mahan Phil Hartman
Tombo Kappei Yamaguchi Eddie Frierson Matthew Lawrence
Osono Keiko Toda Alexandra Kenworthy Tress MacNeille
Kokiri Mieko Nobusawa Barbara Goodson Kath Soucie
Okino Kōichi Miura John Dantona Jeff Bennett
Ket's Father Takaya Hashi Steve Kramer John DeMita
Madame Haruko Katō Melanie MacQueen Debbie Reynolds
Ket Yuriko Fuchizaki Lara Cody Pamela Adlon
Maki Kikuko Inoue Julia Fletcher
Ket's Mother Mika Doi Diane Michelle
Miss Dora Masa Saitô Fay Dewitt
Fukuo Koichi Yamadera Greg Snegoff Brian Cummings
Clock Tower Caretaker Tomomichi Nishimura Lewis Arquette
Senior Witch Yuko Kobayashi Wendee Lee Debi Derryberry
Madame's Granddaughter Keiko Kagimoto Sherry Lynn

Additional Voices


Credit Staff
Production Yasuyoshi Tokuma, Mikihiko Tsuzuki, Morihisa Takagi
Director, Screenplay Hayao Miyazaki
Storyboard Hayao Miyazaki, Yoshifumi Kondo
Animation Director Shinji Otsuka, Katsuya Kondō, Yoshifumi Kondo
Planning Tatsumi Yamashita, Koji Miyauchi, Celebration Seto
Character Designer Katsuya Kondō
Key Animation Yoshinori Kanada, Makiko Niki, Yukiko Shinohara, Masaaki Endo, Toshio Kawaguchi, Atsuko Otani, Ai Kagawa, Atsuko Fukushima, Toshiyuki Inoue, Noriko Moritomo, Koji Morimoto, Yoshiharu Sato, Natsuyo Yasuda, Sugino left秩子, Hiroshi Watanabe, Yamakawa Hiroshishin, Akiyoshi Hane, Chie Uratani, Masahiro Sekino, Toshiya Shinohara, Akiko Hasegawa, Yoshifumi Kondo
Background Artists Kazuo Oga, Satoshi Kuroda, Kazuhiro Kinoshita, Kiyomi Ota, Kyoko Naganawa, Yoko Nagashima, studio tasteful, Toshiharu Mizutani, Kenji Kamiyama, Miyuki Kudo, Kumiko Ono, atelier Buca, Hidetoshi Kaneko, Mekaman, Tokushige Ken, Kazuo Ebisawa, Yutaka Ito, Kiyoko Kanno, Yuko Matsuura, Chiba Midori, Yuji Ikehata, Miyuki Oga
Color Design Michiyo Yasuda
Animation Cooperation Studio Fantasia, Toy House, Kyoto Animation
Producer Toshio Suzuki
Music Joe Hisaishi
Music Producer Isao Takahata
Editor Takeshi Seyama

Related Products

Home Video

  • Kiki's Delivery Service VHS - Tokuma Shoten / Tokuma Japan / Tokuma Communications TKVO-60022 (1 January 1990)
  • Kiki's Delivery Service Betamax—Tokuma Shoten / Tokuma Japan / Tokuma Communications TKUO-60022 (January 1, 1990)
  • Kiki's Delivery Service Laser Disc—Tokuma Shoten / Tokuma Japan / Tokuma Communications TKLO-50001 (January 25, 1990)
  • Kiki's Delivery Service VHS Buena Vista Home Entertainment (November 21, 1997)
  • Kiki's Delivery Service DVD Buena Vista Home Entertainment (June 8, 2001)
  • DVD (Director Hayao Miyazaki's Works) -Walt Disney Studios Japan (July 2, 2014)
  • Kiki's Delivery Service Blu-ray Disc—Walt Disney Studios Japan (December 5, 2012)
  • Blu-ray Disc (Director Hayao Miyazaki) --Walt Disney Studios Japan (July 2, 2014)


  • From the movie "Kiki's Delivery Service" (July 31, 1989) ISBN 4-19-363994-0
    • During the film's production, Miyazaki handed a short caption and image board to Joe Hisaishi so he could compose the soundtrack.
  • Animage Special Editing Guidebook "Kiki's Delivery Service" (August 30, 1989)
  • Kiki's Delivery Service (Tokuma Anime Picture Book) (September 30, 1989) ISBN 4-19-364057-4
  • Kiki's Delivery Service-Film Comic (1) (September 30, 1989) ISBN 4-19-779092-9
  • Kiki's Delivery Service-Film Comic (2) (September 30, 1989) ISBN 4-19-779093-7
  • Kiki's Delivery Service-Film Comic (3) (October 25, 1989) ISBN 4-19-779100-3
  • Kiki's Delivery Service-Film Comic (4) (October 25, 1989) ISBN 4-19-779101-1
  • Kiki's Delivery Service Memorial Collection (Roman Album Extra) (October 25, 1989) ISBN 4-19-729100-0
  • The Art of Kiki's Delivery Service (November 30, 1989) ISBN 4-19-819110-7
  • Kiki's Delivery Service Storyboard Collection (Roman Album Special Edition) (November 30, 1989) ISBN 4-19-729110-8
  • Studio Ghibli Works Related Materials Catalog III (October 31, 1996) ISBN 4-19-860596-3
  • Kiki's Delivery Service (Studio Ghibli Storyboard Complete Works 5) (July 26, 2001) ISBN 4-19-861395-8, all above Tokuma Shoten
  • Kiki's Delivery Service (This Is Animation) (Shogakukan, Supplementary Revised Edition, December 10, 2005) ISBN 978-4-09-103804-3
  • Ghibli Textbook 5 Kiki's Delivery Service ( Bungei Ghibli Bunko ) (Studio Ghibli Edition, Bungei Shunju, December 10, 2013) ISBN 978-4-16-812004-6
  • Cinema Comic 5 Kiki's Delivery Service (Bungei Ghibli Bunko) (Studio Ghibli Edition, Bungei Shunju, January 10, 2014) ISBN 978-4-16-812104-3


  • Kiki's Delivery Service Image Album Tokuma Japan Communications ((Reissue CD / September 29, 2004) TKCA-72741 (Original Edition / April 10, 1989))
  • Kiki's Kiki's Delivery Service Suntra Music Collection Tokuma Japan Communications ((Reissue CD / September 29, 2004) TKCA-72742 (Original Edition / August 25, 1989))
  • Kiki's Delivery Service Drama Edition Tokuma Japan Communications ((Reissue CD / November 21, 1996) TKCA-71032 (Original Edition / September 25, 1989))
  • Kiki's Delivery Service Hi-Tech Series Tokuma Japan Communications ((Reissue CD / September 29, 2004) TKCA-72743 (Original Edition / December 21, 1989))
  • Kiki's Delivery Service Vocal Album Tokuma Japan Communications ((Reissue CD / September 29, 2004) TKCA-72744 (Original Edition / November 25, 1992))
  • Parent-child singing vocal lessons karaoke season Tokuma Japan Communications (Reissue CD / October 27, 2004) TKCA-72757 (Original Edition / June 25, 1990))
  • From the movie "Kiki's Delivery Service" (CD, not for sale)
  • Kiki's voice actor, Takayama, read the above "I'll Be All Right" in Kiki's voice. It was not sold to the general public, but was distributed as a gift for everyone in "Animage ".
  • Studio Ghibli Hayao Miyazaki & Joe Hisaishi Soundtrack BOX [Box set, Limited Edition] (CD) Tokuma Japan Communications (July 16, 2014)


Adachi, Reito (2012), A Study of Japanese Animation As Translation: A Descriptive Analysis of Hayao Miyazaki and Other Anime Dubbed Into English, [S.l.]: Universal Publishers, ISBN 1612339484

Camp, Brian (2007), Anime Classics Zettai!: 100 Must-See Japanese Animation Masterpieces, Berkeley, Calif.: Stone Bridge Press, ISBN 1933330228

Cavallaro, Dani (2006), The Animé Art of Hayao Miyazaki, Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, ISBN 0786451297

McCarthy, Helen (1999), Hayao Miyazaki: Master of Japanese Animation : Films, Themes, Artistry, Stone Bridge Press, ISBN 1880656418

Napier, Susan J. (2005), Anime from Akira to Princess Mononoke: Experiencing Contemporary Japanese Animation, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, ISBN 1403970521

Odell, Colin (2009), "Kiki's Delivery Service (Majo no Takkyūbin) (1989)", Studio Ghibli the Films of Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata., Harpenden: Oldcastle Books, ISBN 184243358X

Yamanaka, Hiroshi (2008), "The Utopian 'Power to Live': The Significance of the Miyazaki Phenomenon", in Mark Wheeler Macwilliams, Japanese Visual Culture: Explorations in the World of MangHa and Anime, M.E. Sharpe, p. 245, ISBN 0765633086


  1. Seiji Kano "Shun Miyazaki" Film Art Company, 2006
  2. "Kiki's Delivery Service", p.128
  3. "Kiki's Delivery Service", p.132
  4. My Neighbor Totoro Frequently Asked Questions.,, Retrieved on 2007-01-05.
  5. The Art of Kiki's Delivery Service: A Film by Hayao Miyazaki, "Part One: In the Beginning", Page 8. VIZ Media LLC; 1 edition (2006-05-09) ISBN|1-4215-0593-2. Retrieved on 2007-01-05.
  6. La forêt des Oomus Kiki, la petite sorcière Koriko. (French)
  7. 7.0 7.1 The Art of Kiki's Delivery Service: A Film by Hayao Miyazaki, Part One, In The Beginning, Page 11. VIZ Media LLC; 1 edition (2006-05-09) ISBN 1-4215-0593-2. Retrieved on 2007-01-02.
  8.'s FAQ on Kiki's Delivery Service Retrieved on 2007-04-21.
  9. The Art of Kiki's Delivery Service: A Film by Hayao Miyazaki, Part One, In The Beginning, Page 12. VIZ Media LLC; 1 edition (2006-05-09) ISBN 1-4215-0593-2. Retrieved on 2007-01-05.
  10. "The Art of Kiki's Delivery Service", p.141
  11. "The Art of Kiki's Delivery Service", p.143
  13. Kiki's Delivery Service Frequently Asked Questions. "I heard that the name of the bakery was supposed to be a joke. Is it?" Retrieved on 2007-01-06.
  14. RevolutionSF Kiki's Delivery Service Reviewed by Kevin Pezzano April 27, 2003. Retrieved on 2007-01-05.
  15. A Comparative Analysis Of Requests in Majo no Takkyūbin and Kiki's Delivery Service
  16. Otaku World Reviews: Kiki's Delivery Service from Disney Reviewed by Jennifer Diane Reitz. Retrieved on 2007-01-02.
  17. The Art of Kiki's Delivery Service: A Film by Hayao Miyazaki, Part Four, The Complete Script Of The Film by Hayao Miyazaki, Page 205. VIZ Media LLC; 1 edition (2006-05-09) ISBN 1-4215-0593-2.
  18. The Art of Kiki's Delivery Service: A Film by Hayao Miyazaki, Part Two, Art Of Animated Film, Page 45. VIZ Media LLC; 1 edition (2006-05-09) ISBN 1-4215-0593-2. Retrieved on 2007-02-11.
  19. Original Japanese script at [1]. Line in Japan is "But there'll be a disco there, won't there?" This line is not present in the English dub. Retrieved on 2007-01-03.
  20. Kiki's Delivery Service FAQ Q: Is there an English subtitled version of "Kiki"? Retrieved on 2007-03-04

External links

Official Sites