Movie: The Cat Returns (2002)

Posted 2 August, 2014 by Lianne in Entertainment / 9 Comments

After helping a cat, a young girl finds herself involuntarily engaged to a cat prince in a magical world where her only hope of freedom lies with a dapper cat statuette come to life.


The Cat Returns is a sort-of follow-up to Whispers of the Heart (review) but not really. Nonetheless after having watched Whispers of the Heart, I was curious to check out this movie. The premise seemed a little weird, but Baron and Muta are in this movie again, so why not? 🙂

The Cat Returns is a very fast-paced movie, running a bit over an hour long. Minus a few fade-out breaks between scenes (which I felt were unnecessary, but I guessed it was used in this movie to denote the end of one day and the start of another), the movie ran rather smoothly without much of a “rest” period, if you will.

Story-wise it was pretty simple: Haru finds herself engaged to marry a cat prince and has to find her way out of the arrangement with the help of Baron, Muta (who is a white cat in this film, and fatter than last scene in Whispers of the Heart 😛 ), and the raven Toto. The theme of believing in yourself was clearly stated but not as fleshed out as it would have been in a Miyazaki film; nonetheless it plays a role in Haru’s quest to get out of her arranged marriage and out of the cat kingdom and back to her own world.

There were some great moments throughout the movie, and some really funny ones, like when the cat king’s procession emerged at night and Haru was hiding behind the pillar. The dynamic between Baron, Muta, and Toto was also pretty funny, as well as between Muta and Haru. I guess the point here is that underneath Muta’s “I don’t care” attitude, he’s pretty funny. And yes, the fat jokes persist throughout (seriously though, I’m surprised more people in our world don’t recognise the fact that there’s a ginormous white cat just lounging on the outside patio at the crosswalks).

Oh, and the cat king is rather icky and smarmy =S The only non-cute cat in this film.

The Cat Returns overall was sweet, fun, and entertaining. Nothing too deep to ponder over but has all of the message and storytelling as any other Studio Ghibli film. It’s a fun film for all ages to enjoy.

Rating: ★★★★☆

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9 Responses to “Movie: The Cat Returns (2002)”

  1. This is actually possibly my favourite Studio Ghibli film (it’s that or Spirited Away, although I’ve not seen Princess Mononoke or Totoro yet, so they could be unseated). Did you watch the English version? The dubbing was AWESOME! Anne Hathaway is a surprisingly good voice actress, and oh Cary Elwes <3. He can do no wrong.

    • No, I watched it in Japanese with English subs xD Studio Ghibli has done an amazing job with the dubbing though, I did watch some of the other movies in English first (Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle) and they were excellent 🙂

      Have you gotten around to the other movies since? The entire collection has been fantastic (though Tales of Earthsea was all over the place =S) 🙂

  2. …they were the ones who did Earthsea?! I’m not even sure I finished it! I LOVED that series as a kid, so having read it a ton of times and then going to that…it was kind of a mess haha. Let’s see…since this, I’ve watched Princess Mononoke which I really loved and Kiki’s Delivery Service, so I’ve probably watched at least half of the films. Totoro is the most famous one I haven’t watched yet, so I imagine that one will be next for me! Do you have a favourite I should bump up on my list to watch? (I’ve also seen Ponyo, Porco Rossi, and Castle in the Sky which I need to rewatch since I was half asleep when I saw it)

    • Yeah, it was unfortunate 🙁 I never got around to the books growing up, so maybe I’ll just stick to those xD

      Yay that you watched Princess Mononoke and Kiki’s Delivery Service! Hmm, given that and the other movies you listed (lol, def rewatch Castle in the Sky–long movie, but very good), I think you’re just about caught up? You def watched Howl’s, right? Did you see Nausicaa? It’s one of his earliest movies, but really good. I recently got around to Arrietty, which was fairly quiet but beautiful to watch. And of course I still have The Wind Rises to get to xD

      • I definitely recommend the series – I think you’ll like them. I definitely haven’t gotten to the last three, and I have not seen Whispers of the Heart. I think when my boyfriend gets back from Korea I’m going to convince him (which won’t be hard, he’s been in a serious Miyazaki mood for the past like 3 months lol) to have a Nausica date night! Or maybe Castle in the Sky, since I need to rewatch it.

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