Most of the time, you’ll never see a Studio Ghibli film have any sequels, prequels, or even stories with characters you’ve seen before in their other films. However, The Cat Returns got its popularity for being linked with Whisper of the Heart, having a character named Baron who was also featured in that film.
That is perhaps the only instance of a connection of that sort being visible in a Studio Ghibli film, but that wasn’t the sole reason why this film is so great! Let’s talk about The Cat Returns!
How to Download The Cat Returns
You can download the film from a digital store. You can also stream it. Click on the Download button at the end of this review and make your choice.
The Movie Review
In The Cat Returns, the tale of a young heroine unfolds. Her name is Haru, and her journey is one of simplicity compared to the epic productions of Studio Ghibli’s past. Amidst a life of struggles and feeling unseen, Haru trudged through her days, yearning for something more.
As she walked home from school one fateful afternoon, fate intervened and she saved a cat from certain doom under the wheels of a passing lorry.
Little did she know, the cat she saved was none other than Prince Lune, the heir to the throne of the Cat Kingdom. In gratitude, the King of Cats decreed that Haru must marry his son as payment for her noble act.
With a marriage proposal from the regal Cat King thrust upon her, and the weight of an entire kingdom resting on her shoulders, Haru turns to the suave and mysterious Baron, the leader of the Cat Bureau, for guidance and protection.
As she navigates this surreal world, Haru must confront her own fears and desires to ultimately discover her true place in this fantastical realm.
The film explores themes of self-discovery, coming of age, and the importance of being true to oneself. As Haru is pulled into the fantastical world of the Cat Kingdom, she must confront her own fears and insecurities as she navigates this new and strange realm.
Through her interactions with the various cats and their human allies, Haru begins to find her own voice and the strength to stand up for herself.
The World, The Characters, and the Story
The world of The Cat Returns is beautifully realized, with a whimsical and enchanting aesthetic that is quintessentially Ghibli. The animation is visually stunning, with lush landscapes, intricate designs, and vibrant colors that transport the audience to a world of wonder and magic.
The character designs are equally captivating, with the cats being particularly noteworthy for their expressiveness and charm.
The world-building and character development are masterfully done, with the film gradually revealing more about the Cat Kingdom and its inhabitants as the story progresses.
The film takes the time to develop its characters, whether they are cats or humans, giving them depth and nuance, making them relatable and interesting.
The story also builds up the mystery of the Baron and the Cat Bureau, leaving the audience wanting to know more about their role in the Cat Kingdom.
Watching the film in its English dubbing, I was struck by the skillful voice acting of the cast. Anne Hathaway as the lead, Haru, brings a sense of warmth and likability to the character, while Ewan McGregor as the Baron, captures the smooth and debonair nature of the feline leader.
The supporting cast, including Simon Boyle and Rob Paulsen, adds depth and humor to the film, and even those with fewer lines, like John C. Reilly, bring their own unique charm to the film. Although I have to admit, I found Stephen Curry’s performance a bit underwhelming.
The animation in this film, while not on par with the grandeur of some of Studio Ghibli’s greatest works, still manages to capture the essence of cuteness and charm.
The colors are vibrant, the character designs are endearing, and the world is filled with the magic of imagination. The animation, like the story, takes the audience on a journey to a realm of wonder and enchantment.
The music is composed by Yuji Nomi, who has also composed for several other Studio Ghibli films. The score is characterized by its use of light, whimsical melodies, and orchestral arrangements that perfectly capture the fantastical and enchanting atmosphere of the film.
The Cat Returns is a magical tale of self-discovery and the power of being true to oneself. With its visually stunning animation, captivating character designs, and engaging story, the film whisks the audience away to a world of wonder and enchantment. The cats, in particular, are a marvel to behold, with their expressive personalities and charming demeanor.
The story is masterfully crafted, with careful attention to world-building and character development. The music, composed by Yuji Nomi, further immerses the audience in this fantastical realm.
A film that will delight both the young and old, The Cat Returns is a classic Ghibli film, even if it isn’t their best animation work.
- Captivating character designs, especially cats
- Engaging and well-developed story
- Masterful world-building and character development
- Fitting music that captures the fantastical and enchanting atmosphere of the film
- The animation does not compare to the sheer magnificence to be found in some of Ghibli's finest films
- Stephen Curry's performance was a bit underwhelming