In the middle of her family's move to the suburbs, a sullen 10-year-old girl wanders into a world ruled by gods, witches, and monsters; where humans are changed into animals; and a bathhouse for these creatures.
The sailor of legend is framed by the goddess Eris for the theft of the Book of Peace, and must travel to her realm at the end of the world to retrieve it and save the life of his childhood friend Prince Proteus.
Monsters generate their city's power by scaring children, but they are terribly afraid themselves of being contaminated by children, so when one enters Monstropolis, top scarer Sulley finds his world disrupted.
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. Written by
This was originally going to be a short straight-to-video project, but Toshio Suzuki was so impressed with Hiroyuki Morita's storyboard, and especially the main character of "Haru", that he encouraged Miyazaki to give this cinematic release. See more »
When Haru's friend calls Haru, she is seen beside a table with a plant and vase. In the next scene, the table is gone and she is somewhere else. See more »
That's enough, Baron. Turn it off. No one's impressed with your cheesy light show, okay?
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The credits have a series of still images from the film. The last image before the film fades is Haru feeding the small white kitten on the pavement. See more »
After the wild but fully justified furore surrounding Spirited Away, Studio Ghibli's next production is a much lower key affair, clearly aimed at a younger market. Having said that, this cynical thirty-something loved it to bits. Ghibli purists seem to be somewhat snobbish about the studio's output, but If this is an example of one of their films designed more for harmless family entertainment, I can stand to see a lot more of it.
This is a wonderful fantasy film, cute and funny, and full of remarkable and memorable characters. The animation is solid and detailed, occasionally even breathtaking, and the soundtrack is gorgeous. The brisk running time ensures the light story doesn't outstay its welcome. In fact, I could easily have watched more, and I'm already looking forward to Ghibli's or Miyazaki's next flight of fantasy.
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