The Cat Returns

July 19th, 2002


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After helping a cat, a young girl finds herself involuntarily engaged to a cat prince in a magical world where her only hope of freedom lies with a dapper cat statuette come to life.

Release Year: 2002

Rating: 7.2/10 (9,293 voted)

Director: Hiroyuki Morita

Stars: Chizuru Ikewaki, Yoshihiko Hakamada, Aki Maeda

A young girl rescues a mysterious cat from traffic and soon finds herself the unwelcome recipient of gifts and favors from the King of the Cats, who also wants her to marry his son, Prince Lune. With the assistance of a fat, grouchy real cat and a an elegant cat statuette come to life (both characters featured in Studio Ghibli's earlier anime "Whisper of the Heart"), the girl visits the Cat Kingdom and narrowly escapes again.

Writers: Aoi Hiiragi, Reiko Yoshida

Chizuru Ikewaki - Haru(voice)
Yoshihiko Hakamada - Baron(voice)
Aki Maeda - Yuki(voice)
Takayuki Yamada - Lune(voice)
Hitomi Satô - Hiromi(voice)
Kenta Satoi - Natori(voice)
Mari Hamada - Natoru(voice)
Tetsu Watanabe - Muta(voice)
Yôsuke Saitô - Toto(voice)
Kumiko Okae - Haru's Mother(voice)
Tetsurô Tanba - Cat King(voice)
Yô Ôizumi - Additional voice(voice)
Youko Honna - Additional voice(voice)
Ken Yasuda - Additional Voices(voice)
Anne Hathaway - Haru(voice: English version)

Taglines: Journey to another land.


Official Website: Disney | Official site |

Release Date: 19 July 2002

Gross: $50,590,057 (Japan) (29 September 2002)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

The film started when Studio Ghibli received a proposal from a Japanese theme park to make a twenty minute animation starring cats.

Continuity: When Haru first goes to the Cross Roads to meet Muta, all the banners say "Cross Loads". When Haru goes back again at the end with her friend, one banner says "Cross Roads", but then they all revert to "Cross Loads"

Baron: Always believe in yourself. Do this and no matter where you are, you will have nothing to fear.

User Review

Beautiful film.

Rating: 9/10

Delightful and charming - these two words sum up this film perfectly. My only gripe is that the story takes a little bit to kick into gear, but when it does you find yourself utterly drawn into the magical world this tale inhabits. And an utterly bizarre tale this is, with enough laughs, emotion and poignant moments anyone could want.

With beautiful animation, appealing character design and a wonderfully fitting score, Neko no Ongaeshi is now amongst my favorite animated pieces. For anime buffs, animated film buffs, ANYONE - I can't recommend this highly enough.