vacation anime #9: The Cat Returns

The Baron makes another appearance with another Ghibli movie, The Cat Returns.

Thought of going movie viewing with my sister and ended up with another Ghibli movie (really, that’s nothing to be surprised about) starring cats. With both of us being cat lovers, it was a totally unanimous decision. And luckily enough, the movie did not fail us. Biases aside – er, no, wait. Cat biases aside, The Cat Returns turned out to be a really enjoyable ride. Give it to Ghibli for making the simplest and most whimsical tales ever; the movie was a cat lover’s paradise.

Protagonist Haru saves a cat from being ran over by a truck. This cat turned out to be the prince of the Cat Kingdom. To show his gratitude, the King decides to marry his son to Haru. I don’t know if you’d consider cross-species marriages to be a blessing but that’s how things went down. Of course, despite her love for cats, Haru does not approve of this and tries to think of a way out. Luckily, she hears (and follows) some disembodied voice which told her to look for the Cat Business Office where she can get help. True enough, the Baron (remember? From Whispers of the Heart?), Muta and Toto decide to help her out.

Watching this movie proved three points for me. First, Studio Ghibli loves cats. A number of their movies always have cats in them that it’s kind of hard not to notice. Arrietty has a cat. Whispers was where we first saw Baron and Moon – that big fat black cat. Totoro’s catbus.  And now The Cat Returns – a full-length movie starring cats and all about cats. Second, always be kind to animals – even stray ones – especially cats, as one can never be too sure if the animal in question is really what it is. Third, one is never too old to enjoy a Ghibli movie. In fact, it sort of feels like Ghibli movies are meant to be ageless – both in the movie’s quality and their target audience. Or better yet, they transform their audience into playful children as they journey into the fanciful world that is Studio Ghibli’s creation.

Surprisingly, I’ve never heard much about The Cat Returns, which is kind of sad as it is a wonderfully entertaining film. It’s like Alice in Wonderland – only with a chockfull of cats. It’s engaging, it’s Ghibli and it’s about cats. That’s good enough for me.


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A shy and quiet person who loves anime, books and Japanese food.

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