I’ve been slowly but surely trying to work through the backlog of books I have owned for years but not read. One particular harbinger of shame in this endeavor was the graphic novel on which the Studio Ghibli movie The Cat Returns was based, since I knew the single-volume manga with its self-contained story would only actually take me half an hour or so to read. Nevertheless, I only finally read it this weekend, even though I’m pretty sure I bought it when Borders was still a thing.
I liked but didn’t love The Cat Returns movie; for me, it’s one of Ghibli’s more forgettable options. Looking back, I’m not sure what about the film, save maybe a passing furry-ish attraction to the Baron character, led me to buy the source manga. And now, having at long last read it, I’m left questioning why this almost-too-simple story got a film adaptation at all.
MadameAce: Hello, Ace here, and welcome to yet another installment of Ghibli Month. I have some bad news though. Rin is unfortunately not here for this review, so you’re stuck with just me today. I know; it makes me sad too.
Anyway, The Cat Returns centers on highschooler Haru, a shy girl with little no self-confidence. She’s a klutz who never wakes up on time, is always late for school, constantly trips over her own two feet, and is laughed at and picked on by the other students, including her best friend. Her life gets much harder when one day she saves a cat about to be run over by a truck—breaking her friend’s lacrosse stick in the process. While Haru is catching her breath on the side of the road, the cat in question stands up on his hind legs, brushes himself off, and calmly thanks Haru for saving him. It turns out that he is Prince Lune from the Cat Kingdom. Later that night, on entourage of cats make their way to Haru’s house. Among them is their king, who wants to thank Haru personally. The cats give Haru a piece of paper that has a list of all the marvelous cat gifts they want to bestow upon her for saving their prince. The cats have vowed to not stop until Haru is perfectly happy, regardless of her feelings on the matter.