Review of The Cat Returns (2002)

Moving picture, 75 minutes

An ordinary girl in modern Japan is involuntarily initiated into the secret life of cats. Muta/Moon and the Baron from Whisper of the Heart (1995) accompany her to their hidden kingdom.

As the original title indicates, this is a light, mainstream comic fantasy. Akagawa Jirō’s short story “Neko no te” (2000) is another example of Japanese stories idly fantasizing about the wry magical powers of cats, with a darker tone. This film is a shallow, less serious clone of Spirited Away (2001) with poorly recycled characters and ineffective anthropomorphism. A definite low for Ghibli, directed by Morita Hiroyuki.

References here: Ghibli movie titles, “Ghiblies: Episode 2” (2002), Tales from Earthsea (2006), A Whisker Away (2020).

moving picture Ghibli animation Japanese production fiction