There was a time where I looked at the title of this movie and laughed. I thought it was a very odd idea for a film and I thought that I would never have the patience to watch it. In the end, I realized that I almost missed out on an amazing movie.
Everything about this movie is golden. The animation is very well done and the characters are charming. The American voice actors took great care in keeping in touch with the personalities of their respective characters. Kiki (voiced by Kirsten Dunst) is in fact, a young girl who struggles with her place in the world. Jiji (voiced by Phil Hartman) is a smart-alecky cat who is hesistant but is loyal and loving to a fault. Tombo is the kind and caring friend while Osono is the friendly neighbor we wish we all had. All of these characters are distinct in their personalities and are very endearing. They interact with each other and not solely with the main character.
Not only are the characters well done, but the world in which they live in is beautiful and scenic. I wanted to live there. Great attention is paid to background art and it adds to the atmosphere of the movie. The city is alive and bustling, which is something we notice from the side of our eye as we watch the characters. In most animated films there are only a few characters on screen at once, which is what I love so much about Miyazaki's films. There could be dozens or even hundreds of people on screen at once, merely serving as a backdrop.
Even the music is suitable to the movie and seeks to elevate the mood as it relates to Kiki. The music will swell as she takes to the sky, become calm as she walks about the city, and becomes dramatic as she faces her problems. Of course, this is in any movie, but it is so wonderfully ochestrated that it deserves mention. Joe Hisashi does the track as he does for most of the other films Miyazaki does.
In the end, it is a well-woven tapestry that I almost passed back. It is a great movie for children and adults.