The Cat Returns | Chicago Reader

The Cat Returns

Studio Ghibli, the Japanese animation company cofounded by Hayao Miyazaki, released this 2002 fantasy by veteran cel animator Hiroyuki Morita, and though it may seem minor compared to Miyazaki's Princess Mononoke (1997) or Spirited Away (2001), its fictional world is fully and imaginatively realized. After saving a stray cat from an an oncoming truck, a shy girl is welcomed into a secret feline kingdom, but she soon learns she's been lured there by the deceitful king, who intends for her to marry his son. Her escape, aided by two roguish cats, is a lesson in sustained suspense, the increasingly hairy complications drawing the viewer ever deeper into the story.

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