Scott Hardie: “It ruled.”

For fans of the master's work, the only surprise here is how tame this film is: There is almost no conflict, no suspense, and no villains. Young kids are the ideal audience of course, but adults are left waiting for the other shoe to drop: Are the two old ladies going to pull a "Hansel & Gretel" with that wood-burning oven? When is the snotty witch going to return to challenge Kiki's powers? The film is cheerfully free of any real worries, as gentle and innocent as anything else Studio Ghibli has turned out (although the young protagonist shows her underwear even more than poor NausicaƤ). It's a fine film, spirited and funny and masterfully animated. Fans must not miss this gold standard of the master's filmography.

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