The Cat Returns (2002)

The Cat Returns (2002) Poster
Journey to another land.

Japanese title: 猫の恩返し 
(Neko no Ongaeshi)

Comments on Movie: The Cat Returns (2002)
"Has its whimsical charms, especially for cat fans and children. But 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." - Anna Smith, Empire Magazine.

"While the cats in this film are sentient, their attitude and egocentric behavior is strictly feline." - Uri Lessing,

"The plot to The Cat Returns is also not as textured and layered as that of Spirited Away, and in a way makes the film a more accessible one, especially to younger audiences. Also thrown in are a number of slapstick scenes that border on the verge of being out of place, but will not fail to put a smile on most audience lips." - Soh Yun-Huei, FilmsAsia.

"Have some adorable and eccentric cats which can be an enjoyable watch for feline lovers but looks like experimental cartoon from decades ago which it's not." - Rosalyn Lim.

Anime Adventure Comedy Family Fantasy Hayao Miyazaki 2D Animation Animated Feature

The Cat Returns (2002) Trailer

The Cat Returns (2002) at a glance
The Cat Return (2002) is an animated family comedy film about the unexpected adventure of a young girl who got involved with the cat kingdom. Directed by Hiroyuki Morita, it is a spin-off of Whisper of the Heart (1995) by the late director Yoshifumi Kondō.

The Cat Returns (2002) Synopsis
Haru, a schoolgirl bored by her ordinary routine, saves the life of an unusual cat, and suddenly her world is transformed beyond anything she ever imagined. The Cat King rewards her good deed with a flurry of presents, including a very shocking proposal of marriage to his son!

21-in-1 Update: 

Movie Review: The Cat Returns (2002)

Haru saved Prince Lune.

The Cat Returns (2002) can be adorable but to me, it is a huge disappointment. The concept is precious and amusing but the overall quality of the film made me think; is this really Studio Ghibli's production? The ridiculous and amateurish visuals make it looks like experimental cartoon from decades ago which it's not. It is too far from what I expected least from a spin-off of one of my favorite animated feature and from one of the world's most renowned studio.

The aww moment; feeding cute lil stray cat with biscuit.

However, this film does have some adorable and eccentric cats which can be an enjoyable watch for feline lovers like me but still, I can't say that I truly enjoy or even like this film. In fact, I am appalled to watch this. Most of the time, everything seems to be unpleasant, perhaps the art is not as beautiful or the storyline is not meaningful as the other films. Thankfully it's a pretty short film with a sweet ending.

PS. Haru is voiced by Anne Hathaway in English!

Movie Ratings
Will write a page regarding this and add this to all animated feature entries in the future.

Who will like this?
If you like cat fantasy, this is one of the cat fantasy out there... you will be able to watch plenty of cats standing and walking on two legs.

Details of the movie
Director: Hiroyuki Morita
Producer: Toshio Suzuki, Nozomu Takahashi
Story: Aoi Hiiragi
Screenplay: Reiko Yoshida
Cinematography: Kentaro Takahashi
Music: Yuji Nomi
Studio: Studio Ghibli
Starring: Chizuru Ikewaki, Yoshihiko Hakamada, Tetsu Watanabe, Yosuke Saito, Aki Maeda, Tetsurō Tamba
Full Credit: [IMDb]
Distributor: Toho, Disney
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese, English
Genre: Adventure Comedy Family Fantasy
Running time: 75 mins
Budget: USD 20,000,000 est.
Box office: USD 53,918,847 est.

Official website(s)

Whisper of the Heart (1995)
Studio Ghibli
Rosalyn's Animated Movie Marathon

The Cat Returns (2002) Behind the Scenes

Favorite Movie Character

The Cat Returns (2002) Movie Quotes
This entry is currently the shortest list of movie quotes I have so far and certainly is the least for this animation studio for now..
  1. If you find yourself troubled by something mysterious, all the problems are hard to solve, there is a place you can go where you always find help, you just need to look for it.
  2. Really dear, what do you bother setting the alarm clock?
  3. Too bad you don't have time to eat. Mmm... It's delicious.
  4. That's just mean.
  5. The kingdom is gone yet the mountains and rivers remain. And the castle is draped in the vivid green of spring.
  6. Haru, we all can see you sneaking in so just get into your seat please.
  7. I will return later to thank you properly.
  8. Mummy, do you know I can talk to cats?
  9. Please allow me to present our wise and incredibly magnificent ruler, the king of cat kingdom, the cat king.
  10. Let it be known that the cat whose life you save today was none other than the king's only son, Prince Lune. Given the magnitude of matter, the king himself would like to express his gratitude to you in his own words.
  11. Thanks a lot, babe.
  12. A list of what you shall receive.
  13. The whole kingdom is working to make you happy.
  14. Who knows, maybe I fit in better with a bunch of cats.
  15. This is a refugee for creations.
  16. Whenever someone creates something, with all of their heart, that creation is given a soul. 
  17. He likes to complain a lot but actually he has a heart of gold.
  18. What I need you to do is learn just one thing. Always believe in yourself. Do this and no matter where you are you will have nothing to fear.
  19. Emergency exit for all guests right here please, thanks. Enjoy your day.
  20. That's my own special blend of tea. It's a bit different every time so I can't guarantee the flavor.


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Socrates once said, "One should never do wrong in return, nor mistreat any man, no matter how one has been mistreated by him." ♡ Stay tune for more animated features!! ♡