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The Cat Returns June 12, 2005

Posted by ayasawada in Anime.

Having tried to see this a couple of years ago at the London Film Festival (it got cancelled), a few of us from IC AnimeSoc went to see this in the cinema recently. Yes that’s right, there was actual anime in a UK cinema, a rare occurance and one worth supporting with our cash! The downside was that it was dubbed, but I have it on subbed DVD so I didn’t mind too much. Plus, it’s a Buena Vista dub with a semi-star-studded cast so it wasn’t so bad.

Anyway, for anyone that hasn’t seen it, Neko no Ongaeshi is a really wonderful film (sorry I can’t stop myself from saying this) for all the family and a decent addition to the Studio Ghibli repertoire. It’s a quasi-sequel to Whisper of the Heart, featuring Muta and the Baron from that film, and based on the novel Neko no Danshaku (Baron of Cat) by Hiiragi Aoi. The story follows dreamy high-school girl Haru, who makes the mistake of saving a cat’s life. He turns out to be the Prince of the Kingdom of Cats and the King wants to repay her by marrying them off! Haru’s only hope is a mysterious voice which leads her to the Baron and adventure.

Being a typical Ghibli movie, it screams of a heartfelt moral, in this case ‘believe in yourself and never forget who you are’. Thankfully, Ghibli films have a magical quality akin to the old Disney films: no matter how trite the moral by itself is, the sheer majesty of the story sweeps you up in it. The imagination, matched by high-quality animation, is stunning, from the procession of cats (even ‘bodyguards’ in ‘suits’!) to the ‘vehicle of cats’ and the stunning Cat Kingdom itself, it really does put you right in there. The quality of the film and the story comes through, even if you get slightly irritated with the occasional ‘whatever’ American dub.

The Cat Returns is remarkaby short at 70mins, and being so entertaining the time really does fly by. Catch it whilst it’s still on – support big screen anime releases in the UK!



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