Mania Grade: A+
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- Audio Rating: A-
- Video Rating: A-
- Packaging Rating: N/A
- Menus Rating: B
- Extras Rating: A-
- Age Rating: All
- Region: 2 - Europe
- Released By: Optimum Asia
- MSRP: £19.99
- Running time: 75
- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Cat Returns
By Paul Jacques
October 03, 2005
Release Date: September 26, 2005
What They Say
© Optimum Asia
From the creators of the Academy Award(R) winning SPIRITED AWAY (Best Animated Feature Film, 2002) comes the visually stunning THE CAT RETURNS, a spectacular animated journey to a world of magic and adventure. Haru, a schoolgirl bored by her ordinary routine, saves the life of an unusual cat, and suddenly her world is transformed beyond anything she ever imagined. The Cat King rewards her good deed with a flurry of presents, including a very shocking proposal of marriage to his son! Haru embarks on an unexpected journey to the Kingdom of Cats where her eyes are opened to a whole other world and her destiny is uncertain. To change her fate, she'll need to learn to believe in herself and appreciate her everyday life. Featuring the sensational voice talents of Anne Hathaway, Cary Elwes, Tim Curry, and Elliott Gould, THE CAT RETURNS is a magical animated adventure that will delight and inspire everyone.The Review!
Another family film from the studio that does Disney better than Disney.Audio:
I listened in both Japanese and English sound tracks and found both of them excellent (no need to be snobbish about the dub here). Decent directional sound is used – check out Moota when he is swinging in the castle banquet hall – throughout, so the surround sound speakers get something to do for a change.
The Op/ Ed used in the anime is a variation on the main theme song Like the Breeze
and is a very pleasant tune indeed.Video:
16:9 aspect, so that makes me happy. I didn’t spot any faults in the transfer process itself, although the colours are little paler than the Japanese print I once saw. Packaging:
N/A Check disc onlyMenu:
Nothing special, as they use stills from the anime as a backdrop to the menu system. All links worked and no dead ends were encountered.Extras:
In the extras department; we have the original Japanese trailers; alternative angles; Ghibli trailers for EVERY released Ghibli movies.
The main piece of interest is of course the 32 minute “making of” featurette- well worth wathcing if only to see the link between Cat Returns
and Whisper of the Heart
. At last, a featurette that gets behind the scenes without being boring.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review will contain some spoilers)
This concerns Haru, a young and insecure girl who saves the life of a cat, on her way home from school. Only it turns out that the cat isn’t just ANY cat, but Prince Lune.
Later we learn that Haru has a latent talent, she can talk to cats. This talent she first discovered when she was small, and she help to save the life of a small white female kitten who was starving in the street. Only she forgot all about the incident until now.
By way of a thank you the Prince’s Father (King Cat) pops by late one night to bestow gifts of gratitude for Haru’s kindness. The scene where the cats procession makes it’s way down the street is unusual to say the least.
And so Haru’s life starts to become complicated as she finds the “gifts” more trouble than they are worth, causing her plenty of trouble and embarrassment. And so the fun begins as Haru is constantly followed around by a retinue of cats, all hell bent on making her life “wonderful”. And that’s not all, Haru discovers that King Cat has decided that she shall marry Prince Lune. And it’s at this point that a mysterious voice advises Haru that she should seek help at the Cat Business Office.
Haru goes to the Office and meets one Baron Humbert von Gikkingen who gladly agrees to help (damsels in distress is his speciality). Only before a plan of action can be formulated Haru is kidnapped (should that be catnapped?) and whisked away to the Cat Kingdom. The Baron, Muta (a very fat cat) and Toto (gargoyle Crow) follow her in hot pursuit.
Once inside the Cat Kingdom Haru becomes enamoured with the cat lifestyle, but what she doesn’t understand is that she is slowly changing into a cat! Only at the banquet in her honour does Haru realise what a predicament she’s really in. Luckily, during the distracting festivities, the Baron is able to get into the castle and make a getaway with Haru- the King orders them captured and returned forth with. And so the chase is on as Haru, the Baron and Moota seek to escape the Cat Kingdom before dawn, if they fail then Haru will remain a cat forever!
How it all ends, not to mention how a young lovers sub plot gets resolved, you’ll have to buy the DVD to find out. Suffice as-to-say that a more self assured Haru emerges from the experience at the end.In Summary:
It’s funny, it’s clever, it’s entertaining, it’s Ghibli- what more do you need? This is a DVD for all the family to watch.
Japanese Language DD 5.1,English Language DD 5.1,English Subtitles,Making of Featurette
JVC 28" Pure Flat Wide Screen TV, Pioneer 454 Progressive Scan code free DVD player, Logitech Z-680 THX DD/DTS receiver & Speakers. Secondary equipment, 21” Sony Trinitron monitor, ATI 9700pro & PowerDVD v4, Creative Audigy 2ZS & headphones.