‘The Cat Returns (Neko no Ongaeshi)’ is a 2002 Japanese animated series directed by Hiroyuki Morita starring Chizuru Ikewaki, Yoshihiko Hakamada, Tetsu Watanabe, Yosuke Saito, Aki Maeda, and Tetsurō Tamba in the lead roles. It is based on the manga ‘The Cat Returns’ by Aoi Hiiragi.
The story is about a high school student Haru who saves a cat from getting hit by a truck. The story turns when she realizes that the cat is actually a prince. Interesting right? Read on!
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The Cat Returns (Neko no Ongaeshi) Release Date
The anime ‘The Cat Returns (Neko no Ongaeshi)’ is a series released on July 20, 2002. It was released on Netflix with a running time of around 75 minutes. It’s a spin-off series of ‘Whisper of Heart’ and was released 11 years after the release of ‘Only Yesterday’. The movie was dubbed in English and was released in the US in 2005 through Walt Disney Home Entertainment.
The anime is a box office hit with a collection of $65 million. At the Japanese Media Arts Festival in 2002, the anime received the Excellence Prize. Later on January 16, 2018, it was re-issued on Blu-ray and DVD under a new deal with Studio Ghibli(Production Company). In the year 2002, it was the 7th highest-grossing film of the year.
The Cat Returns (Neko no Ongaeshi) Voice Artists And Characters
The main characters are Haru Yoshiyoka voiced by Chizuru Ikewaki(Japanese) and Anne Hathaway (English). Baron Humbert von Gikkingen is voiced by Yoshihiko Hakamada (Japanese) and Cary Elwes (English). Muta / Renaldo Moon is voiced by Tetsu Watanabe (Japanese) and Peter Boyle (English). Toto is voiced by Yōsuke Saitō (Japanese) and Elliott Gould (English). The Cat King is voiced by Tetsurō Tanba (Japanese) and Tim Curry (English).
Prince Lune is voiced by Takayuki Yamada (Japanese) and Andrew Bevis (English). Yuki is voiced by Aki Maeda (Japanese) and Judy Greer (English). Natori is voiced by Kenta Satoi (Japanese) and René Auberjonois (English). Natoru is voiced by Mari Hamada (Japanese) and Andy Richter (English). Naoko Yoshioka is voiced by Kumiko Okae (Japanese) and Kristine Sutherland (English). Hiromi is voiced by Hitomi Satō (Japanese) and Kristen Bell (English).
The Cat Returns (Neko no Ongaeshi) Plot Summary
Haru Yoshika is a high school student with an ability to talk with cats. One day, when she was coming back from school, she saves a cat that was going to get hit by a truck. Surprisingly, that cat turns out to be Lune, who is the Prince of Cat Kingdom. Lune gives catnip and, mice for saying thanks and also proposes to marry her. She doesn’t know what to reply, but he takes her mixed feeling as a yes. This marks the beginning of an adventure.
In order to solve this situation, she decides to meet Muta, a large white cat, and get directions from him to the Cat Kingdom. Muta takes her to meet Baron (the same one from Whisper of Hearts), a cat figurine given life by the artists. Baron takes Haru and Muta to the Cat Kingdom. But Baron gets forced to stay on earth. Haru and Muta get inside the Cat Kingdom. Haru gets treated well and she gets invited to a feast in the castle.
The more she stays there, the more she becomes like a cat. She gets tan paws, ears, nose, tail, and whiskers. But mostly she stays as human. The king gets excited to take her in as his daughter-in-law. Unexpectedly, Baron comes in disguise as an entertainer and dances with her. He secretly tells her that the more she stays there the more she becomes like a cat. He says that she loses herself in the process and should find her own self.
Unfortunately, the guards recognize Barona and kick him out. Haru and Muta get trapped there. But fortunately, a maid in the Cat Kingdom named Yuki saves them and shows them the tunnel through which they can go to the Earth. But the Cat Prince tries all the means to keep Haru in the castle.
Soon Prince Lune and his guards come back to the kingdom. When he gets to know that Haru is going to be his bride, he rejects her by saying that he was actually planning to propose to Yuki. That’s when Haru realizes that the inner voice which was guiding her was Yuki’s. Haru has helped Yuki from starvation during her childhood and Yuki repaid for her kindness. Muta helps Haru to escape from the castle.
With the help of Prince and Yuki, the three of them escape from the cat’s realm. When it was time for her to leave she expresses her love interest for Baron, who promises her that the doors of cat realms will always be open for her whenever the need arises. She finds her true self and returns to earth more confidently.
Where To Watch ‘The Cat Returns(Neko no Ongaeshi)’?
‘The Cat Returns(Neko no Ongaeshi) ‘ is available to be watched on Netflix.