The Cat Returns anime review

I watched Princess Mononoke (good, but seriously violent), Pom Poko (bleh) and My Neighbors the Yamadas (okay, but dull) and skipped over Spirited Away because I’d already seen it. I didn’t feel like writing reviews about them, though. Sorry.

Happily enough The Cat Returns was great! Fun, and mercifully short. Very much like a fairy tale, and the cheesy “believe in yourself” message was there from the start so it didn’t come out of nowhere. Nice simple story, funny characters, especially Muta and the King and that smarmy servant, great animation as always, decent voice acting that got the job done, everything ends very happily ever after.

It is by far the “kiddiest” of the Ghibli movies I’ve seen so far, including My Neighbor Totoro, but I love it! I was a little worried about that Machida-sempai romantic stuff in the beginning, but happily enough it came to nothing. I like romance to be at a minimum in my Ghibli series.

Ah, that was fun. Now since I’ve already watched Ponyo, I only have Earthsea, Howl’s Moving Castle and The Borrower Arriety to go. Arriety hasn’t come out on DVD in English yet, I think, so it’s just Earthsea and Howl. The Earthsea books were some of my favorite fantasy books growing up and I hear they made a mess out of that, so first I’ll get the bad stuff out of the way, and then I’ll be able to enjoy Howl as my “final taste” of Studio Ghibli. Good plan.

Update: since I wrote this review, I’ve shown this anime to several of my young nephews and nieces and their friends, at least 20 young children aged between 5 and 15, and they all love it. It’s their most-watched anime movie over all the other Ghibli stuff. Not to say that The Cat Returns is necessarily better than other Ghibli movies (though I liked it more, to be honest), but it’s certainly the most kid-friendly. It has funny animals, wacky hijinks aplently, constant action, a clear point and a happy ending. It’s easy to follow and easy to enjoy. If you’re looking to buy something for yourself, you might go with one of the other shows, but if you’re looking for something children will enjoy, definitely get The Cat Returns first.

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