Neko no Ongaeshi
2002 / 75m - Japan
Adventure, Fantasy - Animation
The Cat Returns poster


February 15, 2004


May 24, 2023


One of the weaker Ghibli films, but still worth a watch. It's a spin-off that gives us a little background about the Baron, the famed cat statue from Whisper of the Heart. The plot's a little thin and the art style is a tad disappointing. Other than that you'll find the classic Ghibli quality on display, just not quite as refined as you might be used to from them.

One day, on her walk back from school, Haru rescues a cat that is about to get hit by a truck. What she doesn't know is that he is the prince of the Cat Kingdom. To thank Haru, the king kidnaps her and wants her to marry his son. Luckily Haru gets help from the baron and his friends, who will do their best to save Haru from this dire fate.

The animation is solid, and the background art is beautiful, but something is off with the character designs. The people look too thin and the upright-walking cats are a little awkward. The film isn't quite as magical and fantastical as it should be. It's not bad and there's actually plenty to like here, it's just that I expect more from a Ghibli film.