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[Neko mainpage] Neko no Ongaeshi
(The Cat Returns)

Fan Impressions

  1. Daniel Thomas - March 3, 2004
  2. "Fighting Lady" - May 10, 2005

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1). Daniel Thomas

The following are representative quotes only; the full text is available online at:

March 3, 2004

The Cat Returns

By Daniel Thomas

3/4 stars

[. . .]

The by-the-numbers feel of this film is understandable; this is director Hiroyuki Moritaís first feature film. Heís a young filmmaker, having worked as a key animator on My Neighbors the Yamadas and an in-between animator for Kikiís Delivery Service. The Cat Returns is a project that was handed down by Hiyao Miyazaki to the studioís younger artists, and was largely left alone by the old masters. That leaves Morita, and scriptwriter Reiko Yoshida, free to test his wings on a lower-priority picture; goodness knows it would be cruel to expect him to fully follow-up Spirited Away, the highest-grossing Japanese film in history.

[. . .]

The backgrounds and artwork are wonderfully bright and detailed, like every other Ghibli release; the movie is almost split down the middle, between the crowded city and the ancient, rural cat kingdom. I also really enjoy the design of the characters themselves. Haru isnít drawn in the same style as Miyazaki or Takahata, but is a little different. Thereís a sharper look thatís lighter on the details (much in the style of Japanese watercolors), but bright, sharp, urban. Iíd like to see more animation in this style; everythingís just unique enough to stand out.

Still, after Spirited Away (just about the best-looking animated movie ever made), Cat Returns feels a little cheaper, lower-budget. Almost direct-to-video. Animation is a touch choppier than youíd expect, especially later in the cat kingdom. There are touches of computer animation here and there, but itís all a little disjointed.

This is a good movie, a fun movie, but not a great one. Morita is obviously still learning his craft, and I would remind others that Miyazaki and Takahata had both worked for many years before they found their own voices; Miyazaki didnít direct his first film until the onset of middle age, after twenty years in the business.

[. . .]

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2). "Fighting Lady"

The following are representative quotes only; the full text is available online at:

May 10, 2005

"Fighting Lady" Film Night Report for 5.10.2155

By William Raymer (Ens. Jason Oliver)

[. . .]

My Rating and Verdict for The Cat Returns-

There are some slow spots throughout the course of the film, but Hiroyuki Morita's direction of the Studio Ghibli animators keeps things interesting.

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