I’ve never heard of this movie before this review copy arrived. It’s not directed by Hayao Miyazaki, but he’s listed under Project Concept in the end credits, so to me this is just as good as if he had. I had my doubts about this once, since at first glance it feels more child oriented but I keep forgetting anything coming from Miyazaki or in connection to him can be enjoyed by adults too. It’s the main reason why I like his movies more than Disney.
The Cat Returns centers on highschooler, Haru. In American terms she appears to be old enough to be in her junior or senior year? Just guessing here, but bottom line is she’s not a child. One day she saves a cat from becoming roadkill and while recovering from her save in the bushes on the other side of the road, the cat straightens up on his hind legs, dusts himself off and talks, thanking her for saving him. This was Lune, Prince of the Cat Kingdom, and late the next night she’s visited by a caravan of upright walking, speaking felines. Their King wanted to thank her personally and give her a bunch of gifts, which to her chagrin she gets the next day. They also want her to visit their kingdom and marry their prince. She considers the visits but not the marriage, but it doesn’t matter. They will come the following night to bring her over.
This is when a mysterious voice tells her to visit the Cat Bureau and get help there. This Bureau is in a realm where things that are created have a soul. The Baron Humbert von Gikkingen, a humanoid, well-dressed being with a cat head is in charge here. He has two friends, a fatter cat named, Muto, and a talking raven named, Toto.
Haru is kidnapped that evening and a human in this Cat Kingdom is subject to some alterations. They shrink down and take on the physical features of a cat, the latter of which upsets Haru. The Baron follows her into the Kingdom and tries to save her, but it’s the Prince who actually does the saving. He had no clue his father was doing this and besides his heart has already been given to another. Yes, there’s a happy ending here and like Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989), I was pleasantly surprised that I liked this movie.
The Cat Returns was previously released on DVD here in the States in 2004, but back on June 16th Disney finally released it on blu-ray in a DVD/Blu-ray Combo.
Video/Audio/Subtitles: 1080p 1.85:1 high definition widescreen—5.1 English DTS-HD Master Audio, 5.1 Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio—English, English SDH, French
As usual the animation is gorgeous to look at and I mean that in all departments (i.e. character and action).
- Original Japanese Storyboards (1:14:58)
- Behind The Microphone (8:59)
- The Making Of The Cat Returns (34;11)
- Orginal Japanese Trailers
- Original Japanese TV Spots