Photos: The Cat Returns (the Favor)

Tomorrow is your last chance to see Studio Ghibli's 2002 feature film The Cat Returns in theaters as part of Studio Ghibli Fest 2018. Be sure to grab your tickets if you haven't already done so.

The Japanese title for this movie, Neko no Ongaeshi, translates as "The Cat Returns the Favor." I always enjoyed that title, it has a nice literary flair and it flows nicely. Most US movie titles are pre-packaged and sanitized for your protection by teams of lawyers and marketing weasels, resulting in something bland and boring and far too short. But Americans have notoriously short attention spans, which probably explains...something. What were we talking about?

Here are some photos from this movie. It's not one of my favorites, it feels very much like a made-for-TV or OVA production. I much preferred Ghiblies Episode 2, which played alongside The Cat Returns on a double bill during its Japanese theatrical release. That short film had all the experienced artists, while this main feature was staffed by the younger rookies. Joined together, they make a nice pair and a nice breather after the astonishing roller coaster ride that was Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away in 2001. Viewed on its own, however, this movie lacks something. It feels unfinished and needs either another script revision or another twenty minutes' running time.

But, hey, this movie has cats. That has to count for something.

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