8. Kiki’s Delivery Service
The charm of Kiki’s Delivery Service is two-fold—in the setting, a northern European-style town that is alive, forcing the events of the story through its residents, cozy cafes, and early 20th-century transportion, and in Kiki’s journey itself. Her community’s tradition of sending of young witches to live by themselves at the age of thirteen sets the story in motion, and Miyazaki captures the spirit of a girl that age perfectly—in all its confusion, energy, enthusiasm, and difficulty. Kiki is not a subtle character, but her growth is. When she takes to the air for the finale, Kiki isn’t experienced enough to know if she can save the day—and so we cheer when she realizes what the rest of us already know, what we’ve all experienced ourselves, that it takes time and failure to mold us into becoming the hero.