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The Cat Returns(猫の恩返し)

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Japan · 2002
Rated G · 1h 15m
Director Hiroyuki Morita
Starring Chizuru Ikewaki, Yoshihiko Hakamada, Aki Maeda, Takayuki Yamada
Genre Adventure, Animation, Drama, Family, Fantasy

From the legendary Studio Ghibli, this is a charming and magical adventure film that the whole family will love. After Haru, a schoolgirl bored by her ordinary routine, saves the life of an unusual cat, her world is transformed beyond anything she ever imagined, and she embarks on a journey through the Kingdom of Cats.

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Time Out by

Another enjoyable fantasy adventure from Studio Ghibli, the animation house that gave us the delightful Spirited Away. This is not in the same class, but lovers of Miyazaki’s masterpiece will recognise the same worldview – essentially that of Lewis Carroll’s Alice stories refracted through a modern Japanese sensibility.


Empire by Anna Smith

There's little tension or opportunity for emotional involvement in the brief story, and despite competent animation the cats are rarely anthropomorphised to good comic effect. One for anime - and animal - lovers only.


CineVue by Ben Nicholson

As with much of Miyazaki’s own output, the film offers a winning heroine and a joyful dip into Japanese folklore, even if it does not stand up against the studios most celebrated works.


Variety by Lisa Nesselson

Animated by Hiroyuki Morita -- a protege of Hayao Miyazaki -- story draws more from fairy tales than the eerie transformative productions by Studio Ghibli. Result is catchy entertainment for kids and adults.


The A.V. Club by Tasha Robinson

The results are disappointingly conventional for a Ghibli film—the film is good-hearted, energetic, and full of Ghibli's characteristically beautiful hand-rendered animation, but it's also lightweight and hyper, with none of Miyazaki's more resonant themes.

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