Image from: The Cat Returns (2002)

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Reviewed by ddahoui BG / Joined ddahoui 2014
The Cat Returns
The Cat Returns
The Cat Returns
Japan, 2002, 75 minutes Adventure, Fantasy, Animation, Family, Anime, Childrens
The Cat Returns was originally going to be a direct-to-video film, though it was later changed to a theatrical release after producer Toshio Suzuki was so impressed by the storyboards and the main character of Haru. While I can tell that a film like this was meant to be a lot smaller, like the animation being less photo realistic in style compared to most Ghibli films, it still is a fun and cute little adventure that's done well, and if you were somewhat fond of the Baron from Whisper of the Heart and like adventures like these, you'll like this film (and if you are also a cat-lover). It has cute cats, funny moments, and memorable characters.

While only appearing for a bit in Whisper of the Heart as the inspiration for our main character's story, the cat figurine who had appeared heavily in the posters of the film had left an impression on audiences, so it was a good move to base the film around him. He actually is quite charming and heroic, but it's done in a way that we buy into the character and don't see him as some cartoon. Played again by Cary Elwes, he's fitting for the role both because he plays a very similar character to his character the Dread Pirate Roberts, and because the film itself has that Princess Bride feel where we feel like we're in a fairy tale with wacky characters and fun adventures. This time it takes the Alice in Wonderland feel, and our Alice in this adventure, Haru, is relatable enough to go through this journey. While there are stakes and excitement, the adventure isn't taken as seriously or as scarily as something like Spirited Away, which is fine because, after all, we are going to a cat kingdom and even our main character knows how outlandish and wacky the idea is. There is even a possibility among Ghibli fans that this story had come from the imagination of the main character from Whisper of the Heart, and the girl following the cat like a white rabbit does serve as a cute connection between both films.

Just a very cute film, and I say that if you like films that are cute and fun, I say go see it!
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