12 Days of Anime: Studio Ghibli’s The Cat Returns

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One of my favorite Studio Ghibli The Cat Returns for obvious reasons CATS! My love for cats and animation came together and it brought me so much joy. I saw it the first time when it debut in 2002 and watched it a few years after and now I’m reliving this same joy seeing the movie again. I really adored this movie and everything about it from the comedy to the cute love story.

Spoilers Ahead!

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So we follow Haru a schoolgirl that can talk to cats, as a cat person what a talent to have! I loved Haru’s personality and kindness to cats in this film and how it showed as the film progressed. Caring about cats is what got Haru into this mess. A black cat was crossing the street carrying a gift box and cars started coming so Haru rescues the cat before it gets hit by oncoming traffic with a lacrosse stick. This was a very heroic act and the cat spoke and thanked her for saving his life.

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Since I haven’t seen the film in a few years I really couldn’t remember the plot until the cat spoke and I remembered who he was and that was the prince of the cat kingdom. Shortly after I remembered my favorite characters i’ll get to see again will be coming up. The Baron and Muta, the way I remembered them is The Baron as the cat with the human hands and Muta the funny chonky cat with a sassy mouth. My favorite characters are always someone that talks smack and can back it up.

Images via Nerdist

When The Cat King appeared at Haru’s front door and seeing cats walk on their hind legs was something I’m mad I forgot about this film. The animation it took to create this scene of a bunch of cats walking on their hind legs for a long time. The Cat King is an ugly cat in and out, his personality is such a turn off that makes him so ugly. Natoru the orange and brown cat is a funny charadter with how straight forward he his and each scene with him got a few chuckles.

Image via behind the voice actors

The Cat King comes to Haru to tell her she will marry his son Prince Lune because she saved his life earlier and that she will be taken to the Cat Kingdom to reap her rewards and become the new queen. Haru is steadily saying no but as a person who owns cats and many of you out there that own cats know they don’t listen. These cats are letting her words go in one ear and out the other.

Haru then hears a voice after Natoru pops in on her at school that they will be coming to pick her up to go to The Cat Kingdom shortly. The voice turns out to be Yuki a pretty white cat that Haru fed when she was a stray kitten. Yuki warned Haru about going to The Cat Kingdom and told her where to find The Baron by going through Muta. Haru follwing directions find Muta and he takes her to The Cat Bearue where The Baron is and discuss her situation and he agrees to help her. At this point I rememebred Haru turning into a cat at some point and literally as I thought it they came to swoop her up and take her to The Cat Kingdom.

Images via Mauitime

I’m not going to spoil any more this movie was a great time with laughs. I love this movie and honestly this would be a great gift for anyone thats a cat person and love animation like myself. This film was probrably my second Studio Ghibli film I seen. I also should mention The Baron is a recurring character because he also appears in Whisper of the Heart. Studio Ghibli and cats are a great pair. Also I said I wasn’t going to say anything more but at the end Haru tells The Baron she likes him and he gave her a open invitation to The Cat Bearue. Haru really matured after this happened to her and I’m proud of her and the growth it took for her to get there. When you watch the film you’ll see the similarites, I also wondered if there would be a continuation but it’s not really needed.

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