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The Cat Returns

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The Cat Returns (Japanese: 猫の恩返し Hepburn: Neko no Ongaeshi?, lit. The Cat's Repayment) is a 2002 Japanese animated drama film directed by Hiroyuki Morita of Studio Ghibli. A spin-off of Whisper of the Heart, it was theatrically released in Japan on July 19, 2002 through the Toho Company and in 2003 in the United States through Buena Vista Home Video.[3]

It received an Excellence Prize at the 2002 Japan Media Arts Festival.

Plot

The story is of a girl named Haru, a quiet, shy and ditsy high school student who has a suppressed ability to talk with cats. One day, she saves a darkly-colored, odd-eyed cat from being hit by a truck on a busy road. The cat is Lune, Prince of the Cat Kingdom. As thanks, the cats give Haru gifts of catnip and mice, and she is offered the Prince's hand in marriage. Her mixed reply is taken as a yes.

Wanting none of this, Haru hears a kind, female voice, which tells her to seek the Cat Bureau. Haru meets Muta, a large white cat the voice told her to seek for directions, who leads her there to meet the Baron (the same Baron from Whisper of the Heart), who is a cat figurine given life by the work of his artist, and Toto, a stone raven who comes to life much like the Baron. Soon after meeting them, Haru and Muta are forcefully taken to the Cat Kingdom, leaving Toto and the Baron in the human world to follow the group from the air. The Baron and his crow friend find the entrance to the Cat Kingdom on Earth: Five lakes forming a cat's paw.

Haru is treated to a feast at the castle of the Cat Kingdom and she begins to slowly turn into a cat with tan paws, ears and whiskers, though still mainly human, so that she will make a suitable bride for the Prince. At the feast, the Baron (in disguise) dances with Haru as part of the entertainment, and reveals to her that the more she loses herself in the kingdom, the more cat-like she will become, and that she has to discover her true self. When the Baron is discovered and is forced to fight the guards, he and Haru are helped by Yuki, a white female cat who works as a servant in the palace and who had tried to warn Haru to leave the Cat Kingdom before she was taken to the castle. Yuki shows them an escape leading to a tunnel.

Haru, the Baron, and Muta's escape moves them through a maze to a tower, which contains a portal to Haru's world. The King goes through a series of efforts to keep them in the Cat Kingdom long enough for Haru to remain trapped in the form of a cat and have her as his daughter-in-law.

Lune and his guards return to the Cat Kingdom to reveal the King was not acting on his behalf and has no desire to marry Haru; he has instead planned on proposing to Yuki. Muta is revealed to be a notorious criminal in the Kingdom (having devoured a whole lake of fish in one session), and Yuki as being the strange voice who had advised Haru to go to the Cat Bureau. In her childhood, Haru had saved Yuki from starvation by giving her the fish crackers she was eating, and Yuki has now repaid her kindness. Muta, or as he is known as the infamous criminal Renaldo Moon, tells Haru "Just for the record, I admire a young woman who speaks from the heart" after she rejects the King's marriage proposal outrightly and proceeds to help her escape from the King's soldiers.

Eventually, the Baron, Haru and Muta escape the Cat Realm, with the aid of Prince Lune and Toto, and Haru discovers her true self and tells the Baron how she has come to like him. He tells her "I admire your sincerity." and that when she needs them, the doors of the Cat Bureau will be open for her again. Haru returns to the human world with more confidence in herself; after learning that her former crush has broken up with his girlfriend, she simply replies "it doesn't matter anymore."

Cast

Character Japanese cast English cast
Haru Yoshioka Chizuru Ikewaki Anne Hathaway
Baron Humbert von Gikkingen Yoshihiko Hakamada Cary Elwes
Muta/Renaldo Moon Tetsu Watanabe Peter Boyle
Toto Yōsuke Saitō Elliott Gould
The Cat King Tetsurō Tanba Tim Curry
Prince Lune Takayuki Yamada Andrew Bevis
Yuki Aki Maeda Judy Greer
Natori Kenta Satoi Rene Auberjonois
Natoru Mari Hamada Andy Richter
Naoko Yoshioka Kumiko Okae Kristine Sutherland
Hiromi Hitomi Satō Kristen Bell

Origin

In 1995, Studio Ghibli released a film entitled Whisper of the Heart, based on a manga by Aoi Hiiragi, of a girl writing a fantasy novel. Although the girl's life had no magical elements, the film featured short fantasy scenes depicting what the girl was writing of the Baron, a character of her novel, was so popular that an indirect sequel was made, featuring the Baron and another girl, a high school student, named Haru. Muta also returned.

The Cat Returns began as the "Cat Project" in 1999. Studio Ghibli received a request from a Japanese theme park to create a 20-minute short starring cats. Hayao Miyazaki wanted three key elements to feature in the short — these were the Baron, Muta (Moon) and a mysterious antique shop. Hiiragi was commissioned to create the manga equivalent of the short, which is called Baron: The Cat Returns (バロン 猫の男爵 Baron: Neko no Danshaku?, lit. Baron: The Cat Baron) and is published in English by Viz Media. The theme park later canceled the project.

Miyazaki then took the existing work done by the "Cat Project" and used it as testing for future Ghibli directors — the short was now to be 45 minutes long. Responsibility was given to Hiroyuki Morita, who had started as an animator in 1999 for the film My Neighbors the Yamadas. Over a nine-month period he translated Hiiragi's Baron story into 525 pages of storyboards for what was to be The Cat Returns. Miyazaki and Toshio Suzuki decided to produce a feature-length film based entirely on Morita's storyboard; this was partly because Haru, the main character, had a "believable feel to her".[4] It became the second theatrical (third overall) Studio Ghibli feature to be directed by someone other than Miyazaki or Takahata.

Reception

The film was the highest-grossing domestic film at the Japanese box office in 2002[5] and, as of January 5, 2015, is the 86th highest-grossing film in Japan, with ¥6.46 billion.[6]

According to Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an aggregate rating of 89% "fresh" among all critics, based on 19 reviews. Michael Booth of The Denver Post noted that "[Director] Morita has a slightly cruder, more realistic sense of the world and its looniness than does Miyazaki, and you can see where The Cat Returns moves on a different track even as it pays homage to Japan's current animation master.[7]"

Gallery

External links


References

  1. http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/intl/?page=&id=_fNEKONOONGAESHI01
  2. http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/intl/?page=&id=_fTHECATRETURNS01
  3. "Neko No Ongaeshi". www.bcdb.com, May 13, 2012
  4. from "The Making of The Cat Returns"[clarification needed]
  5. "2002年(平成14年)興収10億円以上番組". (Japanese). Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan, Inc.. Retrieved on January 9, 2015.
  6. "歴代興収ベスト100". (Japanese). Kogyo Tsushinsha (January 5, 2015). Retrieved on January 9, 2015.
  7. Michael Booth (2007-06-19). ""Cat Returns" is gentle anime".. The Denver Post.
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This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The article or pieces of the original article was at The Cat Returns. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Disney Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.


v - e - d
Studio-ghibli-logo 1
Films

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind | Castle in the Sky | My Neighbor Totoro | Kiki's Delivery Service | Porco Rosso | Pom Poko | Whisper of the Heart | Princess Mononoke | My Neighbors the Yamadas | Spirited Away | The Cat Returns | Howl's Moving Castle | Tales from Earthsea | Ponyo | The Secret World of Arrietty | The Wind Rises

Characters

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind: Nausicaa | Teto | Asbel | Kushana | Master Yupa | Obaba | Kurotowa | King Jihl | Mito | Gol | Gikuri | Emperor | Lastelle | Mayor of Pejite
Castle in the Sky: Sheeta | Pazu | Captain Dola | Colonel Muska | General Muoro | Dola Gang
My Neighbor Totoro: | Totoro | Mei Kusakabe | Satsuki Kusakabe | Tatsuo Kusakabe | Yasuko Kusakabe | Catbus | Kanta Okagi | Granny
Kiki's Delivery Service: Kiki | Jiji | Osono | Ursula | Tombo | The Baker | Kokiri | Okino | Madame | Barsa | Senior Witch | Jeff | Lily
Porco Rosso: Porco Rosso | Donald Curtis | Madame Gina | Mamma Aiuto Gang Boss | Mr. Piccolo | Fio Piccolo | Mamma Aiuto Gang
Princess Mononoke: San | Yakul | Ashitaka | Lady Eboshi | Kiyo | Jigo
Spirited Away: Chihiro Ogino | Yubaba | Haku | Lin | Kamajii | Yuko Ogino | Akio Ogino | Aniyaku | Boh | No-Face
The Cat Returns: Haru | Toto | Baron Humbert von Gikkingen
Howl's Moving Castle: Sophie | The Witch of the Waste | Madam Suliman | Prince Justin | Markl | Howl
Tales from Earthsea: Arren | Therru | Ged | Tenar | The King of Enlad | The Queen of Enlad | Cob | Hare | Cloak Vendor | Hazia Dealer
Ponyo: Ponyo | Sosuke | Fujimoto | Kōichi | Granmamare | Lisa
The Secret World of Arrietty: Arrietty | Shō | Homily | Sadako Maki | Spiller | Pod

Locations

Toxic Jungle | Valley of the Wins | Laputa | Camphor Tree | Howl's Castle | Spirit Realm | Bathhouse

Objects

Porco's Plane | Mehve

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