The Cat Returns (2002)
"Neko no ongaeshi" (original title)

G  |   |  Animation, Adventure, Comedy  |  19 July 2002 (Japan)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 28,256 users  
Reviews: 74 user | 63 critic

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.



(comic "Neko no Danshaku, Baron"), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Chizuru Ikewaki ...
Haru (voice)
Yoshihiko Hakamada ...
Baron (voice)
Yuki (voice)
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 Voices (voice)
Youko Honna ...
Chika (voice)
Additional Voices (voice)
Haru (voice)


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 castipiani

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Neko ni nattemo, iin janai? See more »


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

19 July 2002 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

O Reino dos Gatos  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$522,911 (France) (1 August 2003)


$522,911 (France) (1 August 2003)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


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 Hayao Miyazaki to give this cinematic release. See more »


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" See more »


The Cat King: Thanks a lot, babe.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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 »


Featured in JesuOtaku Anime Reviews: The Cat Returns (2012) See more »


Kaze Ni Naru
Written by Ayano Tsuji
Performed by Ayano Tsuji
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

5 August 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I watched this for the fourth time today, and enjoyed it just as much, maybe more than the first. For the best experience, I recommend watching in Japanese, with subs if you need them. The original script and voice talent doesn't need the Hollywood treatment.

Such a beautiful story! I'm a cat lover, and I'm sure that helps me enjoy the movie more, but it's just great as a tale and you could apply any animal to the basic plot and get a similar result.

Every time I watch it I have a big pile of hankies nearby, as it never fails to move me. If you like the emotional feed-off you get from a nice sentimental feel-good film, you should really give this a go! Probably my favourite animated film ever.

21 of 23 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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