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The Cat Returns (Neko no ongaeshi) (2002)

  Directed by: Hiroyuki Morita
Written by: Aoi Hiiragi
Starring: Yoshihiko Hakamada, Chizuru Ikewaki, Tetsu Watanabe
Links: The Cat Returns on the IMDb
Genre: Cartoon/Animation

This movie gets: 8.00 (1 rating) Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

The Cat Returns (Neko no ongaeshi) (2002) is also mentioned in pearly's review of Whisper of the Heart (1995).

"Into the anime world, headfirst" - a review by pearly

The Cat Returns sees me venturing beyond Hayao Miyazaki for a little anime satisfaction. And if I'm making my judgement based on Miyazaki's films plus this one, then I'd have to say that anime is the perfect genre for me. I just can't get enough of that Japanese kawaiiness!

The Cat Returns is Hiroyuki Morita's first film as director. Morita follows Miyazaki, making the lead character of this film a young girl, in this case named Haru (Chizuru Ikewaki). Haru feels like she's having a few problems in her life until she saves a cat from being run over, and receives thanks from the cat's father, who turns out to the King of the cat kingdom. Along with the thanks, the King offers Haru gratitude in other forms, one of which is engagement to the Prince, who, as it turns out, is the cat that Haru saved.

Haru, however, does not wish to be married to a cat, so she seeks help from The Cat Business Office, where she meets the delightfully charismatic Baron (Yoshihiko Hakamada) and his goofy sidekick Muta (Tetsu Watanabe).

The Cat Returns is relatively short, clocking in just 15 minutes over an hour, but because of this, it manages to pack in a bunch of action, and doesn't bore for even a second. You can see why it may have been edited this way; particularly for a labourious process like animation, every frame is costly, so each must have meaning. Thankfully, I didn't feel as though I was getting ripped off by the length of the film: it was a well-timed story, which obviously just didn't feel pressured to be 3 hours long.

I did a lot of giggling whilst watching this film. I really enjoyed the funny situations that Haru and the rest of the gang got themselves involved into, and I thought that the overall storyline was quite interesting, particularly as I'm a cat person. It's a little more simplistic than Miyazaki's work, in terms of visual style, but this simplicity matches with its story. Definitely worth a watch for fans of Miyazaki's stuff.

pearly gives this movie 8 out of 10.
Review created on Tue 27 Jul 2004

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Reader comments

  1. This was a great movie. The character development of the few main characters is great. The beast part of it is the Baron. He can fight, he can dance, he's hamsome, even if he is a cat.on a ranking from 1-10, 10 being the highest, I'd say a 9.

    Rating given: 9

    A comment from KishaC. on Wed 23 Mar 2005 03:08 #

Those who have commented give this movie: 9.00 (1 rating)

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