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.