The Cat Returns poster

The Cat Returns

Haru Yoshioka is your ordinary high school girl who has trouble making decisions for herself. One day, she spots a strange cat crossing the road with a small present... and a truck headed straight for it! Haru doesn’t even stop to think before jumping in front of the truck and getting them both to safety. This one selfless act initiates a chain of events that sends Haru on an epic adventure. The cat she saved turns out to be no ordinary feline, but Lune, Prince of the Cats. In honour of her bravery and for saving his life, he offers to marry her. Haru mutters a reply which is taken to be a "yes", and for better or for worse, her fate is sealed. Alongside her cat companions Muta and the Baron, she's aided from above by a raven named Toto, and must travel to the cat world in order to rectify this misunderstanding. Her journey is tougher than it seems: If she cannot escape from the claws of the King of the Cats and find her true self, she will be turned into a cat forever. Haru may start off as an everyday girl, but after her descent into the world of cats, she returns a different beast entirely.

Ranking 753

User Count15538
Favorites Count187
Start Date20th Jul 2002
Next ReleaseInvalid date
Popularity Rank753
Rating Rank931
Age RatingG
Age Rating GuideAll Ages


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>      The Cat Returns, is another fantastic anime movie from the great Studio Ghibli. Brought to life in 2002, The Cat Returns is a hilarious and fun > journey of a young girl named Haru who is dragged into a world she never knew existed, ruled and populated by cats, after she manages to save one > from a early demise. > >      The art style that is present in The Cat Returns is a staple of the great studio. The entire movie is absolutely beautiful, and it really pulls > you in and doesn't let go.  The characters are well rounded and develop quickly, allowing one to aquaint themselves quite well with each and every > one of them. >       The movie has a fantastic English VA cast if you enjoy dubs, as with the rest of Ghibli's library of films, and is a great laugh for all > ages. Even I ,  who mostly sticks to the action genre of anime, found this movie to be a delight. I found myself laughing from beginning to end, and > would easily recommend this movie to anyone.

I watched this Ghibli film under the assumption that it's directed by Miyazaki, but something was not right. The art style is very different for starters. Miyazkaki's films tend to have stunning background scenery, with some very eccentric non-human character designs coupled with rather uninspiring human character designs. "The Cat Returns" is exactly the opposite. Here the background scenery aren't very notable, the non-human characters are kind of plain, but the human character designs are refreshingly different to the ones in other Miyazaki films. Even the colouring used in the artwork is different - the colours seem brighter and less soft in "The Cat Returns". The content also seemed different. For one thing, even though the story is pretty wacky, it's just not as outlandish when compared against other Miyazaki works. It's also a more superficial, comedy oriented work. Ever read "Alice in Wonderland"? Well, this is Haru in Catland. Even though "Spirited Away" also reminded me of "Alice in Wonderland", I think the resemblance is stronger in "The Cat Returns" because of its more light hearted approach. When the ending credits rolled, everything was explained - "The Cat Returns" is not directed by Miyazaki. No wonder it felt so different!The fact that "The Cat Returns" is not a Miyazaki film might be a stumbling block for some. His presence in Ghibli films is so heavy it can be hard to watch one without the expectation of seeing his stylistic influences. It's even more difficult to appreciate "The Cat Returns" because, to be honest, it's inferior to the average Miyazaki film. This doesn't mean it's bad though. On the contrary, for me it was like a breath of fresh air. Though I do like Miyazaki films (not as much as most other people like them, admittedly), all his films have kind of a same-ness about them, and it can get a little tiring after watching so many. In comparison to those, "The Cat Returns" has a much more easy going mood, and I, for one, found this to be a welcoming change and delightful to watch.The characters are colourful and funny, with the banter between them providing one of the main attractions for the show. They may not have much depth, but that isn't really required in a light anime such as this - what's important is that the characters are interesting and entertaining, which they are. Apparently some of the characters are taken from "Whispers of the Heart" (perhaps that's why the title is "The Cat Returns"). I've watched "Whispers of the Heart", but don't recall seeing them, so I doubt they played very heavy roles in that. The link is tenuous at best, so watching that is not a prerequisit to watching this. "The Cat Returns" is great for a casual watch. However, it feels like it's lacking something, and isn't engaging enough to be rated any higher than a plain "good". I think at least part of the problem lies with the characters' voices. The protagonist Haru's voice is good for the comedy moments, and fits her character quite well, but doesn't sound dramatic enough on occasions when it should. The voices in general just sound often sound very quiet, leaving the mood feeling a bit empty. This would be my main criticism of the anime (if you're wondering why the score I gave for the sound is still quite high, it's because it picked up points for having great music). Nevertheless, it's a very likeable anime, and can definitely be enjoyed if approached with an open mind.

Cat Returns is a bit of an anomaly Ghibli movie. It isn’t directed by Miyazaki or Takahata, but instead by Hiroyuki Morita, dude who went onto direct Bokurano. It’s a spin-off story from Whisper of the Heart, and was originally only supposed to be a 20 minute piece, but for various reasons kept spiralling up and up in length until we got this full blown movie. Not that you need to know any of this going in. It’s about a girl who saves a cat from being hit by a truck. The cat hails from the Cat Kingdom, who promises to repay her by being a huge nuisance. A bit like how cats cough up dead animals on your chest and expect to be congratulated.Cat Returns doesn’t get a whole lot of publicity next to its Ghibli movie compatriots. It’s not a sprawling epic fantasy, nor a deeply personal human tale like their other movies. Cat Returns is firmly a comedy. It’s trade is primarily visual slapstick, but there’s enough cleverness to the way its presented that it doesn’t feel juvenile or get old quickly. They’re usually one-note things, like the bodyguard cats having a fur pattern that makes them look like they’re wearing tuxedos, or the disproving look the Muslim cat wearing a burqa gives her husband after she catches him ogling another pretty lady cat. Most of the visual gags come from ‘cat lore’ ideas such as this, where they translate human ideas into cat form. What would the leader of a slightly dodgy organisation give as a present? Why, recreational drugs of course! Otherwise known as catnip in cat-lore.When it’s not trading in on its visual humour, Cat Returns goes to that stable of Ghibli tricks to bring out the wonder as the magical enters the mundane world. Statues coming to life, cats parading down the street, entering a street that you’re clearly too big for. I’ve never been as big on the massive sprawling fantasy epics Ghibli do, because they feel like they get a bit lost in what they’re trying to do and end up getting all a bit silly. Where I love them is Porco Rosso, Arrietty or the start of Spirited Away where it’s the injection of a little bit of magic into the regular world, and time and time again they nail those scenes. The way the music tees up the scene, how there’s little hints of reveals that something’s up before it actually happens. The movie does lose this edge when they enter The Cat Kingdom, but the visual comedy picks up the slack there. It gets all a bit silly, but since its played for jokes, it remains thoroughly entertaining.Cat Returns doesn’t have an annoyingly perfect female lead either! The lead character is an humanly flawed teenage girl who feels she’s sucking at life and wouldn’t mind a change in identity to escape from it all. Her story of self-confidence, while obviously not the main attraction while you’ve got cats wearing burqas, wraps up quite nicely in its own way. She’s animated quite strangely, in a different way to how Ghibli usually operate it. She stumbles a lot, moves like she’s uncomfortable in her skin, and has lots of little attention to detail that’s really quite noticeable and goes a long way to establishing her character using visual cues. It’s rather reminiscent of the way KyoAni animates nowadays, except without all the little cutesy details like inward pointing toes and other animation tricks sacrificed towards the Unholy Alter of Moe. Although considering the Cat Returns girl falls over a lot and is generally really clumsy, maybe she is a K-ON girl after all? She even has the eyes for it.As an aside, the English Dub is possibly the best I’ve ever heard. Disney usually do good jobs anyway, but they really knocked it out of the park with Cat Returns. Every single role is nailed, from the gentlemen cat’s posh Britishness to the king cat’s opening “heeeyyy babe” line. The main girl in particular is so fantastically done, and she wouldn’t have come across as human as she did without it. I know poor old Bang Zoom can’t afford to bring on friggen Anne Hathaway to voice their main characters like Disney did for Cat Returns, but it really is nice to watch an anime of this quality and not either flinch every 5 minutes because of bad line delivery or resort to subs and have my eyes glued to the bottom 6 inches of the screen.Cat Returns doesn’t leave a huge impact. Its comedy, being of the silly variety, doesn’t hold a lot of weight. The story is quite pedestrian too, if at least still well executed. But the movie is a huge amount of fun, and genuinely laugh out loud in a way Ghibli normally are not. It’s magical, doesn’t outstay its welcome, and I’m hard pushed to think of a way the movie could have been any better. So yeah, Ghibli make good movies. News at 11.

As a kid I loved watching anything Studio Ghibli. Not only were their movies all beautifully animated but their stories were breathtakingly awesome. I can't even recall how many times I rewached this, but it never got old.

**Story** *The Cat Returns *is an immediate Studio Ghibli favorite of mine, but is surprisingly unpopular. While the story itself is quite simple (it’s a children’s movie, after all), it’s still entertaining and quite funny. It started out very promising and never lost my interest through out the whole movie. There was always something going on, some sort of fantastical element being explored. It’s very different from other Ghibli works in many ways. One reason is that it has it’s own particular atmosphere that the other movies don’t. While other Ghibli films tend to be immediately recognizable as such, with the animation and overall nostalgic and fantastical charm, I would not have been able to tell that *The Cat Returns *was made by the same studio. This is not a bad thing. In fact, I enjoyed the uniqueness of the film. It has it’s own charm that, while being a bit more realistic and grounded, is also fresh and lovable. My only complaint about the plot of the movie is that it ended up being a damsel-in-distress scenario, and while it wasn’t too cliched or stereotypical in this particular work, despite some romance cliches, I still dislike this concept and wish that *The Cat Returns *had tried to avoid that type of story. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy *The Cat Returns *as much as I did, because I’m not exactly a big fan of cats. Any cats, juts cats in general. I always thought they seemed so cold, calculating, and uncaring, and I also tend to not get along with people who are obsessed with cats. However, this movie made me (almost) like cats. Emphasis on the *almost. * **Animation** Another reason *The Cat Returns *stands out from the crowd of Ghibli movies out there is that the animation, and the art style itself, is different. In fact, I actually enjoyed this particular art style much more than the classic Ghibli style. The animation is simple yet nice to look at, with fairly vibrant colors. The character designs of humans were fairly standard and not very unique, but the cats are… well, let’s just say they’re a different story. In fact, they were somewhat unnerving. **Sound** I do not remember much about the music in *The Cat Returns, *but I do remember some pretty good voice acting. I watched the movie in Japanese and have not yet had the time to watch the English version, but I can tell you that the Japanese voices were pretty damn good. I especially liked the Baron’s voice. **Characters** I wasn’t overly impressed by *The Cat Returns*‘ characters, to be quite honest. I am cutting it some slack because it’s a kid’s movie, but there is a severe lack of any actual development in the characters. Despite this, they were still fun to watch. Even Haru, the human school girl, is not completely boring. She does have a stereotypical “clumsy and sweet” personality, but is still interesting and somewhat easy to relate with. The cats, however, are great characters, not counting the fact that they walk on two legs. Every cat seems to be overflowing with an eccentric personality, making them very enjoyable to watch and easy to root for. The Baron is definitely a favorite, being gentlemanly, badass, and a bit quirky all at the same time. He’s a hero everyone can love, and he makes the movie well worth the time. **Enjoyment** I thoroughly enjoyed *The Cat Returns, *and was not bored for even a second while watching it. It’s definitely an underrated Ghibli masterpiece. **Final Conclusion: 8.8/10**

this anime movie is insane, i watched it with my family and they were laughing at how stupid/strange this movie is.

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