Screened as part of NZIFF 2004

The Cat Returns 2002

Neko No Ongaeshi

Directed by Morita Hiroyuki

Japan In Japanese with English subtitles
75 minutes 35mm



Miyazaki Hayao


Yoshida Reiko Based on the work of Hiragi Aoi


Uchida Megumi


Nomi Yoji


Ikewaki Chizuru
Hakamada Yoshihiko
Okae Kumiko
Tanba Tetsuro


The latest feature from Studio Ghibli, the animation production house forever associated with the great Miyazaki, is a delicately rendered, cute and funny family entertainment that should appeal to anyone 7+ who’s ever been amused by a cat. Haru, the schoolgirl heroine, risks her life to help a black cat crossing a busy road, and is amazed when he stands up on two legs and politely thanks her. A visit from the King of Cats and his entourage ensues and she discovers that she saved the life of the Crown Prince. Untold feline rewards follow, including deliveries of gift-wrapped mice direct to her school locker and the ultimate treat – the offer of the paw of the Prince in marriage. Understandably alarmed, Haru travels, with guides of varying competence, to the Kingdom of Cats, to sort things out.

“Supple, matter-of-fact tale of two mini-communities inhabited by talking felines with opposing approaches to interacting with humans, is full of narrative surprises, danger and humor… catchy entertainment for kids and adults.” — Lisa Nesselson, Variety