Catnapped! The Movie - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: A-
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Catnapped!

Catnapped! The Movie

By Chris Beveridge     March 07, 2000
Release Date: March 07, 2000


Catnapped! The Movie
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.


What They Say
There is a place, a whole world that belongs only to the cats. A hidden world known as Banipal Witt where the sun changes creatures from the outer world into monsters. Travel there as two young children set off on a fanciful trip with a desperate group of feline engineers to save Banipal Witt from the evil-sorcerer cat, Buburina, whose very touch turns any living thing into a balloon!

With this talent and the monster dog, Papadoll, Buburina hopes to control all of Banipal Witt and only Toriyasu, Papadoll's former owner, has any hope of returning Papadoll back to normal. But can they rescue Papadoll and defeat Buburina before the sun rises.

The Review!
Boy, talk about a surprise. You go into a disc with low expectations and then get something completely unexpected.

Let's talk about the disc itself first.
Both audio tracks are presented in a Dolby 2.0 stereo format which sounds pretty good. There's little directionality. The audio wasn't strictly through the center channel however, so there was some sound placement here and there. Dialogue was clean and undistorted and the music came across great.

The transfer for the video is in the 1.33:1 or full screen format. I've had no luck finding any pages on the internet about this movie, so I don't know if this was its original aspect ratio or not. Nothing looks cropped so it may well be. Originally released in 1995, the source material looks to be in great shape. The colors are a bit muted by design, so there are few scenes where things look truly outstanding. There are a lot of pastel and darker shaded colors though and they come across very well. While not a top of the line blink your eyes and go wow transfer, it's definitely a solid one.

Since this is a children's title, the packaging is done as such. The cover has lots of the soft pastel colors, the big goofy dog and all the cats. Lots of smiling going on there! The back cover provides the usual amount of solid DVD information as well as covering the basics of the story and a few spot shots of the cast. A nice continuing new touch from Pioneer is silk-screened art on the disc itself (various pieces of the front cover artwork) and they don't list it as an extra feature like Disney. That earns a few points right there. While the cover won't convert your usual die-hard anime fan, it should do fairly well with more mainstream consumers who run across it.

The menus were also a treat that hopefully becomes the norm. The last disc to do similar was the Sailor Moon R disc and this is the first thing released since that. Bits of music play in the menus and some of the submenus have some fairly decent bits of animation with it (language selection for one is rather nice). Selections are made quickly and what you select is easy to identify on the screen. The Pioneer title information page only contains information on age 3 rated titles, but that only makes sense.

Before going into the content review, here's a heads up on a few people who are behind it's production: Taro Maki of Tenchi fame is one of the producers here. Takashi Nakamura, an animation director on Akira, is the director and writer here. Chiaki Konaka who wrote the Lain screenplay was involved in the screenplay for this.

Catnapped follows a pretty basic story. Toriyasu, a young boy who has pretty much ignored his dog, and his kawaii sister Meeko get kidnapped by cats and taken to Banipal Witt, a world where the dog has been taken by two evil cats and is being used to take over everything by destroying it first.

The two humans make it into the world fairly early in the movie, leaving a lot of time for the adventure in Banipal Witt and the discovery of the main players there. Meeko is naturally very cute and does all kinds of cute things a little girl would do if turned into a Catperson. Toriyasu is a bit less interested in everything, but eventually warms up to the task at hand and makes a few friends along the way.

With it being a children's story, naturally there's going to be a moral of some sort in it. The main villain, Buburina, has a rather dark past associated with her that results in one death, though it's off screen when it happens. She turns her people into balloons, having been cursed by a magician. Though the dark moments in the movie are few, they're well placed. There's one particular scene when Toriyasu is remembering a bad time he had with his dog, Papadoll. Anyone who has had a dog and through emotion has done the same... well, it brought some tears to my eyes. I've been there, I know exactly how he felt and why he did what he did. That was truly a touching moment.

The animation for the movie isn't spectacular, but it's well done. There's several very fluid sequences and several areas where you're reminded heavily of a Studio Ghibli style. The character designs are either average for the most part with a few really neat ones (Buburina as both a youth and an adult for example) and the overall feel is very well done.

The Japanese voice acting is top notch; unfortunately the DVD doesn't list the original voice actor credits, only the English ones. For this review, we watched it in Japanese with subtitles on our home theater and enjoyed it immensely. During this review, I listened to the English language track. I urge you strongly to avoid this track. Meeko is voiced by Sandy Fox, who did the dub for Ninja Cadets and even if you didn't watch the dub, you heard her voice on the menus. That alone made the English language version much less enjoyable.

Contrary to prior expectations, Catnapped! proved to be a fun movie with a great storyline and interesting characters. If you're in a lull or looking for something for the kids to enjoy, this title is definitely recommended.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Slide Shows,Character Information

Review Equipment
Toshiba CF36H50 36" TV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster S-Video cable and Sony speakers.

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