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The Cat Returns (猫の恩返し , Neko no Ongaeshi, literally The Cat's Repayment) is an animated film directed by Hiroyuki Morita and produced by Studio Ghibli for Tokuma Shoten, Nippon Television Network, Hakuhodo, Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Mitsubishi and Toho and was released on July 19, 2002. It was screened in theaters alongside Ghiblies Episode 2.

Based on Baron: The Cat Returns, a manga spin-off of Whisper of the Heart written by Aoi Hiiragi that was originally planned as a 20-minute promotional animated short for a cat-themed theme park starring Moon. The voice actor for the Baron was changed from Shigeru Tsuyuguchi to Yoshihiko Hakamada due to wanting to give the character a "youthful feeling" while Yoko Honna, who voiced Shizuku from Whisper of the Heart returns as Haru's classmate Chika.

This is the only film so far to be directed by Hiroyuki Morita.

The poster's advertising slogan is "Isn't it okay to become a cat?" (猫になっても、いいんじゃないッ?).

It received an Excellence Prize at the 2002 Japan Media Arts Festival. The film earned a box office revenue of ¥6.46 billion, and was the top-grossing film of 2002, while it shipped an estimated 720,000 units on DVD and VHS as of May 2007.[1] GKIDS re-issued the film on Blu-ray and DVD on January 16, 2018, under a new deal with Studio Ghibli.

The film is available for streaming on Max, and purchasable on most digital storefronts.


The Cat Returns
Baron's Narration
If you find yourself troubled 
by something mysterious or a problem 
that’s hard to solve, there’s a place 
you can go where you always find help. 
You just need to look for it.


The Encounter with Lune[]

“I hate this. Humiliated in front of the whole class. Machida was laughing too. I noticed that. Why? What's wrong with me? It must be some kind of omen. Something even worse is going to happen.”
—Haru being hard on herself
Cat Lune

Haru rescues Prince Lune from an accident.

Haru, a quiet and shy high school student who has a suppressed ability to talk with cats. One day, she sleeps through her alarm is late for class and is laughed at by practically everyone for trying to sneak in. While walking home, she admits to her friend Naoko that she actually likes a boy in her class named Machida but is too shy to ask him out. Naoko then reveals that he has a girlfriend, who happens to be a Freshman, the two have a friendly fight with each other. While walking, the girls notice a cat with a gift box crossing the street, while crossing the road the light turns green, and using her fruit picking basket, Haru saves a Russian Blue odd-eyed cat from being hit by a truck on a busy road. The cat stands up and thanks Haru for saving him, Haru is too surprised to even respond. After the cat leaves, Haru tells her friend that the cat spoke but she doesn't believe Haru. Later she tells her mother and her mother remembers how Haru once said she could talk to cats especially when she was younger, she gave a stray cat some fish crackers.

The Cat King's Parade[]

That night, the king of the Cat Kingdom comes to thank her, he comes to her house with a parade which shocks the other cats and they chase after them (several bodyguards dispose of them). As it turns out, the cat that Haru saved is named Lune, and he is the only Prince of the Cat Kingdom. In gratitude, the Cat King gives Haru a list of gifts she'll receive tomorrow, Haru thanks them and the King goes on his way. The next day, the gifts are shock to Haru and cause problems: Naoko has tons of Lacrosse sticks in her house which she questions, Haru's front yard is filled with cattails (which Haru is allergic to) as she is hurrying off to school, she gets chased by the neighborhood cats, which surprises her friends, they suspect she must have catnip on her (it is soon confirmed she does). When opening her locker, Haru discovers boxes full of mice which freak her out, thankfully the cats that were following her take care of them. After reading the scroll during break, Haru now understands the Cat Kingdom was behind everything and starts to wonder if she should've saved Lune at all. Later that day she takes Naoko's place to clean up so she could go to her boyfriends ping pong game. While Haru takes out the trash, she notices Machida talking to his girlfriend and Haru trips and makes a mess. When paying Haru a visit, she chews out the king's servant for all the gifts because they only appealed to cats and she tells him they haven't made things better for her. He tries to assure her that they were trying to make her happy, he also invites her to the kingdom and she is even being offered the Prince's hand in marriage (although this was in the King's idea). Her mixed reply is mistaken as a yes and tells her he'll pick her up tonight. While she does try to tell him that wasn't her answer she falls again.

The Cat Business Office[]

Wanting none of this, Haru starts to freak out about marrying a cat and even the fact that they are going to drag her off to the kingdom themselves, Haru hears a kind, female voice, which tells her to seek the Cat Bureau. Haru meets Muta, a large white cat the voice told her to seek for directions, who leads her there to meet the Baron (the same Baron from Whisper of the Heart), who is a cat figurine given life by the work of his artist, and Toto, a stone raven who comes to life much like the Baron. Soon after meeting them, Haru explains her situation and Muta is not amused, while Toto points out that he should be grateful that she saved his own kind and a fight insues. To divert all of this Baron invites Haru in for some tea which she finds delicious, according to Baron each time he makes it is's different. Muta tells her that the Cat Kingdom is no place you should be if you don't trust yourself. Baron actually suggests that he and Muta go there themselves and while Muta declines Baron is able to change is mentioning that they can discuss this over some cake. Toto in the meantime gets some of his special mulberries. Baron tells Haru to always believe in herself, if she does she will be less scared. While Baron prepping the cake with Muta the King's servant comes and as a result, Haru and (soon Muta) are forcefully taken to the Cat Kingdom, leaving Toto and the Baron in the human world to follow the group from the air. The Baron and his crow friend find the entrance to the Cat Kingdom on Earth: Five lakes forming a cat's paw.

To the Cat King's Palace[]

"We invite you to visit the Kingdom of Cats."

"The Kingdom of Cats?"
"It's heaven on earth. Beautiful scenery and scrumptious food. The whole kingdom is ready to welcome you. And there's more! His Majesty is very eager... to repay you for saving Prince Lune. You and the prince shall be married!"
"No way. That's completely impossible. I mean, he's a cat."

"What's wrong with that? He's not only a cat, he's cool!"
—Natoru convincing Haru to live in the Kingdom of Cats
Cat Kingdom

Haru is whisked away to the Cat Kingdom to be married off to Prince Lune by the Cat King.

When arriving there Haru is amazed at what she sees but a white cat with a red bow who tells Haru she must leave. However the servant comes along and says the King wants to meet her, she brings Muta along with her. While giving a new dress, Haru meets the king and Muta is helping himself to refreshments. She does tell the King she does not want to get married even though the King understood that she had agreed. The Prince does not know about this, in fact he is still away on business. She tries to tell the king why she can't marry the Prince: 1. They don't even know each other and 2. They are of two different species. Haru begins to slowly turn into a cat with tan paws, ears and whiskers, though still mainly human, so that she will make a suitable bride for the Prince. Unfortunately, Muta is trapped inside a bowl of catnip jelly that is so thick he can't even move. An upset Haru is conducted to a feast at the castle of the Cat Kingdom.

At the feast, Haru is sobbing and to cheer her up, the King suggests some entertainment. While the first act is a real crowd pleaser, it doesn't help Haru cheer up, the next two acts aren't any better as the King has two cats thrown out the window and makes it clear the next performance better be good OR ELSE! Soon the Baron (in disguise) dances with Haru as part of the entertainment, and reveals to her that the more she loses herself in the kingdom, the more catlike she will become, and that she has to discover her true self. When the Baron is discovered and is forced to fight the guards, he and Haru are helped by Yuki, who happens to be a servant in the palace and who knows how Haru can become human: Haru has to leave the kingdom by dawn. Yuki shows them an escape leading to a tunnel.

Escape from the Maze[]

"Renaldo? Renaldo Moon? The Renaldo Moon? Now I remember!"

"What? -Have you forgotten, Sire? The most notorious crime in the Kingdom's history! A huge cat appeared suddenly... devoured all the fish in the lake, and escaped. That was Renaldo Moon, criminal of the century!"
"He's a monster!"

"Muta, that's disgraceful, even for you."
—Muta's identity is discovered

The Baron rescues Haru in dramatic fashion.

Haru, the Baron, and Muta's escape moves them through a maze to a tower, which contains a portal to Haru's world however everyone who has gone in there has never made it out alive. The King goes through a series of efforts to keep them in the Cat Kingdom long enough for Haru to remain trapped in the form of a cat and have her as his daughter-in-law. Thanks to the teams quick thinking they make to the top unfortunately, the king blows up the tower taking them back to where they started.

Lune and his guards return to the Cat Kingdom to reveal the King was not acting on his behalf at all and says he has no desire to marry Haru and he has instead planned on proposing to Yuki. Muta is revealed to be a notorious criminal in the Kingdom, having devoured a whole lake of fish in one session, and Yuki as being the strange voice who had advised Haru to go to the Cat Bureau. In her childhood, Haru had saved Yuki from starvation by giving her the fish crackers she was eating, and Yuki has now repaid her for her kindness.

I'm Home![]

"Is this going to be goodbye?"

"Baron, I think I have a crush on you."

"I like your honesty, Haru. You'll find your way to the Cat Business Office... if you ever really need us again. Until then, goodbye!"
—Haru confesses her feelings to Baron
Yuki and Lune

Yuki and Prince Lune grant Haru and her friends safe passage away from the Cat Kingdom.

Eventually, the Baron, Haru and Muta escape the Cat Realm, with the aid of Prince Lune and Toto, and Haru discovers her true self and tells the Baron how she has come to like him. He tells her "Just for the record, I admire a young woman who speaks from the heart." and that the doors of the Cat Bureau will be open for her again.

Haru returns to the human world with more confidence in herself; after learning that her former crush has broken up with his girlfriend, she simply replies "it doesn't matter anymore."

Behind the Scenes[]


Catty 1

Baron: The Cat Returns manga and Haru's initial design by Aoi Hiiragi.

In 1995, Studio Ghibli released Whispers Of The Heart, a film based on a manga by Aoi Hiiragi about a girl writing a fantasy novel. Although the girl's life had no magical elements, the film featured short fantasy scenes depicting what the girl was writing of.

In 1999, a theme park company commissioned Studio Ghibli to produce a 20-minute film around a theme: cats. Tentatively titled The Cat Project, Hayao Miyazaki became very interested and imposed a condition, that they use the characters of Muta and the Baron. According to Buta Connection, Miyazaki had a strong desire to create a fantastical adventure film after the success of his prior films. He wanted a movie in the vein of Whisper of the Heart by the late Yoshifumi Kondō which was a great success in 1995. He therefore asked the author of the manga that inspired the film, Aoi Hiiragi, to write a new story serving as the basis for the short project.

Catty 4

The Baron Baron and Muta return to help Haru out of a bind.

Using elements from Whisper of the Heart, such as the Baron, Muta, and a mysterious antique shop - Aoi Hiiragi created a new manga called Baron: The Cat Returns (バロン 猫の男爵 Baron: Neko no Danshaku (later published in English by Viz Media). This manga being a commissioned work was therefore not published under the Shûeisha label, as was the case for Whisper of the Heart, but under that of Tokuma Publishing (of which Studio Ghibli was still a subsidiary of at this time) through Animage Comics Special titled: Baron - Neko no Danshaku and dated May 2002.

During an interview, Hiiragi explain her process, "(Haru) is an ordinary high school student, as there are everywhere. It was important that it be like this, so that viewers were captivated by the story. Then I created the frame for the story, the core of which is Haru's strange experience. The charm of imaginary tales lies in their unique and original vision of the world. I like the imagination, and I often read this kind of books. But when I had to write such a story myself, I wondered what worldview to create. Thus was born the Kingdom of cats. I made it into a world where everything is possible, nothing is really important.

Catty 3

Image Boards showing Haru seeking out the Cat Bureau after she is summoned by the Cat King.

The character who reigns over this country must therefore have been a little unusual. I then created the king of cats. The reason Haru goes there is this somewhat embarrassing "debt" the cats owe her. This is how the story was born. The character who reigns over this country must therefore have been a little unusual. I then created the king of cats. The reason Haru goes there is this somewhat embarrassing "debt" the cats owe her. This is how the story was born.

In order to portray the Baron, I imagined a story written by Shizuku, the heroine of "Whisper of the Heart", who would have been a grown up. This completed story is published under the title "Baron: The Cat Returns". On the occasion of this publication, I wanted to put: “Author: Shizuku Tsukishima - Drawings: Aoi Hiiragi." But it was an unrealistic idea and I backed out. Now that you know its genesis, I hope, as the author of the original work, that you enjoy seeing the cartoon and reading the comic. And I would be happy if you thought about what happiness is in the company of Haru."

Catty 7

Hayao Miyazaki was confident Hiroyuki Morita was up to the task of directing his first feature film.

Unfortunately the story Hiiragi has developed was much longer than originally intended. In addition, the theme park that commissioned Ghibli withdrew its request due to economic problems. Thankfully, Studio Ghibli chose to continue to adapt Hiiragi's work as a 45 minute direct-to-video release, wanting to avoid placing too much pressure on the shoulders of the future director of the film.

Indeed, Miyazaki set up the project with the aim of giving a chance to young filmmakers. He has already set up directing courses within the Studio to find a successor, but no talent emerged immediately. Isao Takahata then suggested the young Hiroyuki Morita, a young collaborator of the Ghibli studio. He had noticed a great sensitivity in him when he took charge of the key drawings of "My Neighbors the Yamadas" (1999) and "Koro's Big Day Out" (2002), shown at the Ghibli Museum. Morita, aware of the incredible opportunity that presented itself to him, agreed to direct his first film.


Catty 6

The production announcement of "The Cat Returns" was held at the Ghibli Museum.

Over a nine-month period he translated Hiiragi's Baron story into 525 pages of storyboards for what was to be The Cat Returns. Miyazaki and Toshio Suzuki decided to produce a feature-length film based entirely on Morita's storyboard; this was partly because Haru, the main character, had a "believable feel to her". It became the second theatrical (third overall) Studio Ghibli feature to be directed by someone other than Miyazaki or Takahata.

A heavy sense of responsibility set on Morita as he became the head of a team of 387 people. He initially regretted his choice, thinking that he was not up to the task. In particular, he took a long time to grasp the spirit of shojo (comic book for girls) and it was only after many mistakes and trials and the unwavering support of his team that the adaptation took shape.

When asked what were the challenges he faced, Morita elaborated, "Girls' comics focus on the feelings, desires of girls. But it is imperceptible. It remains vague. In dealing with this kind of subject, it is inevitably difficult to remain objective. But I stopped doubting and decided to reason in the opposite direction. If this story is to be made into a movie, what kind of girl will Haru be? How will the Cat Bureau be? the Baron? And Muta?"

Cat Cast

The cast and cats of "The Cat Returns".

The character design was entrusted to renowned animator Satoko Morikawa, whose work remained faithful to its source manga. However, the designs lacked a level of detail and complexity found in previous Ghibli films. The designs of the Baron and Muta remained faithful to what was already present in "Whisper of the Heart", and the animation conveyed a strong sense of personality. Muta himself is based on Ushiko, the resident cat who wanders inside Studio Ghibli's offices.

"With regards to Haru's design Morita explains, "What first struck me was his sentence: "Maybe the Cat Kingdom isn't so bad..." It is easy to demonstrate that our world is neither so dazzling, not quite as gorgeous as the one portrayed in shojo comics. There are indeed many dirty, vile things. But that kind of talk is not for fans of Aoi Hiiragi's comics. I actually asked the women at Studio Ghibli to tell me about the charms of shojo comics and little by little I started to understand."

Catty 2

The shop where Prince Lune picks up his cake is modeled after a real-life cake shop called "Mynt" in Koenji, Tokyo.

"I thought (Haru's expressions) are cute. I like this kind of girl, open, natural, cheerful and sensitive. But some may find her indecisive and stupid."[2]

On the other hand, manga author Aoi Hiiragi explains how she went about writing the character of Haru, "When I was offered this job, I thought that the kind of thing I was expected to do as a shojo artist was expected of me. That's why I decided that my heroine would be a high school student. At that time, I often reflected on what happiness is for a human being, and I believe this question runs through my story.

Shojo manga are often about love. For a teenage girl, happiness is loving and being loved in return. But I think there are a lot of other forms of happiness. Even if, in everyday life, we often feel like we are unlucky.

This film is a story that takes place in an imaginary world. Haru travels to the Cat Kingdom. After her return, she may encounter other difficult situations, but her experience will allow her to be less unhappy and have a more open outlook. This is what I had in mind while writing this story."

Catty 8

Storyboards of the film by Hiroyuki Morita.

Art director Naoya Tanaka who previously worked on Princess Mononoke and My Neighbors the Yamadas gave the film a lighter, more intimate tone. When designing the Cat Bureau, Tanaka explains, "By inserting all kinds of European elements, drawing flowers, marigolds and geraniums, I created a European neighborhood atmosphere. The light is like that of the real world. Nevertheless, the notion of size is important: the houses are smaller whereas I have drawn life-size plants."

During the sequence where the Baron chases after the cats that have kidnapped Haru, Tanaka references several photographs for the alleyways and sought to reproduce their details accurately. The cat kingdom itself was given the direction of being "overflowing with light", with little contrast to enhance its lighter tone. Tanaka explains, "I think I managed to represent a clear light, which pierces the sky. Scenes in remote streets or night scenes are never moody. All give an impression of cheerfulness and clarity."

The entire vocal recording was performed by Kazuhiro Hayashi, who worked on Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away. The animators lent their voices for several characters, and even provided "meow" noises. They even tried to imitate the muffled applause of cats with their hands. All In all, The Cat Returns featured over 900 recorded dialogues.


Country Release Date Format Publisher
Japan Japan July 19, 2002 Theater Toho
Japan Japan April 14, 2003 VHS Toho
USA US Summer 2003 English Dub The Walt Disney Company
USA US September 28, 2005 DVD The Walt Disney Company
Premiere Announce

July 5, 2002 edition of Yomiuri Shimbun talking about The Cat Returns being shown with Ghiblies Episode 2.

"The Cat Returns" runtime barely clocked in at 75 minutes and did not have the scale or ambition of Ghibli's previous films, and was released in theaters with the short film "Ghiblies Episode 2". Riding on the success of "Spirited Away" (2001), the promotion of "The Cat Returns" was relatively aggressive, with several sponsors churning out a number of merchandise tie-ins.

The film received coverage from various newspapers prior to the premiere. The July 5, 2002 evening newspaper of the Yomiuri Shimbun did a feature and included an interview with producer Toshio Suzuki. The interview was about the process of how the film became a feature-length film. Hiroyuki Morita was also interviewed, though many questioned why Hayao Miyazaki wasn't involved. Morita explains they both have different approaches in filmmaking. Included in the feature is an advertisement for the upcoming Spirited Away DVD.

Cat Release

News coverage on the film's premiere event, featuring the cast and crew.

Fans noted that the Tokyo Chunichi Sports newspaper offered only modest coverage of the film's premiere, compared to the newspaper Hochi which was comparatively large in scale.

A press conference was held on July 20, 2002, and the film premiered in on over 358 screens nationwide. Hibiya Cinema in Tokyo and Yurakucho was filled to capacity, with 700 spectators and included a midnight screening of 250 people. Chizuru Ikewaki, the voice actor of Haru and Yoshihiko Hakamada, the voice actor of Baron were present on stage to greet the crowd.

Neko 301

A press conference on July 2002.

While Hiroyuki Morita was not present during the event, Hochi Newspapers noted this by saying, "First supervisor Mr. Morita refused to attend the greeting event." While the film rode on the success and goodwill of “Spirited Away", it only sold half of the former's ticket sales. The film was still the big hit during the summer 2002 in Japan, racking up $50 million at the box office.[3]


Cat Returns OST

The cover to the soundtrack of the film.

The Cat Returns (Original Soundtrack) (猫の恩返し オリジナル・サウンド・トラック , Neko no Ongaeshi Orijinaru Saundotorakku) The album was composed and arranged by Yuji Nomi and features the theme song by Ayano Tsuji. It was published by Tokuma Japan Communications and released on July 17, 2002.

Nomi explains his process, “For the music for this film, I started with demonstration pieces, composed from the ideas I had of the characters. I first composed the songs for the heroine, Haru. There are two: the one that corresponds to the real world and the one that relates to his childhood memories. For the first, I tried to show the bubbling of everyday life, the hustle and bustle of real world scenes. But it didn't correspond to the director's image of it and I changed this music a lot afterwards! The other piece is nostalgic. In a way, it seems to me that he became the central theme of the film.

Next came the Baron Baron. He's a simple and incredibly elegant character. Therefore, I composed an extremely pompous piece, like trumpets playing fanfare music. As for Muta, I transposed its rustic side into music. I composed the theme of the king of cats so that it seems to illustrate the Kingdom. Behind its majestic, imposing appearance, this Kingdom appears to be a sham. I didn't want to give a good impression of it. I wanted the contrast with the Baron, who comes to save Haru, to be striking.


Yuji Nomi being interviewed in the "Making-of" documentary featured in the film's DVD release.

For the music played by the cats parading at the beginning of the film, the director asked me to use the sound of the oriental flute, which sounds very ... "cat"! It may sound a bit Japanese. But the Cat Kingdom is not Japan, I added the organ, oboe and clarinet, despite everything being punctuated by the tsuzumi, a small Japanese drum. Why the tsuzumi? Quite simply because among the cats who interpret this music in the image, there is one who plays this instrument! This piece fits perfectly to the image. The same goes for the music performed by the orchestra of cats in the banquet scene at the castle. As one of them plays the tsuzumi and another, the accordion, I integrated these two instruments into my music.

So I composed the music for this film from the characters or the scenes. For the music of the scene where Haru returns from the Cat Kingdom safe and sound, there is something that I think will not escape viewers who have seen 'Whisper of the Heart'. I wanted, through my music, to establish a connection between these two films. I'll let you watch the movie and find my nod yourself."

Theme Song[]

Cat Single

The single's cover featured Ayano Tsuji staring at the film's cast of cats. It was released on June 26, 2002 by Victor Entertainment.

Become the Wind (風になる , Kaze ni Naru), Lyrics / Composition / Song - Ayano Tsuji / Arrangement- Takami Negishi / String / Arrangement - Takuo Yamamoto

The single was released by SPEEDSTAR RECORDS, a division of Victor Entertainment. On her website, Tsuji explained her process when composing the film's theme:

“As I really like Ghibli cartoons, I was extremely happy that they asked me to compose the main theme of it. Regarding the central song of the film, I was a little worried about the difficulty of this work, thinking of all the constraints to be respected. But the director told me: “I don't want a ballad, but a rhythmic song, drawn from your universe."


つじあやの - 風になる(Music Video)

Official music video of Ayano Tsuji's "Become the Wind". The song reached 13th place on the Oricon music charts. An acoustic version of this song was used in the film's credits.

When I composed it, the film was not yet finished and I got an idea of ​​it by reading the storyboard. I felt a lot of sympathy for the positive character of the heroine, Haru, and her way of being good to her. I wanted to express clearly in my song the change that is taking place in her, not in a blatant way but rather gradual. About to be taken to the Cat Kingdom, she thought to herself, “The Cat Kingdom... After all, why not live here? "You can encounter this kind of situation during your life. By following the general thread of his life, it can happen that we are attracted by slightly different paths, that we make detours. It's part of human nature. And so you end up finding what is important to you. I think this is the theme of this film: knowing how to assert your own identity. It is something magnificent. I wanted this theme to be reflected in my song.


猫の恩返し「風になる」歌:ザ ブリーズ アドベンチャーズ The Cat Returns - Become the Wind - Song by The Breeze Adventures

Acapella group The Breeze Adventures sang "Become the Wind", part of the "Lots of Memories of Ghibli" project, which was aimed to performing Ghibli's most memorable songs across Japan.

The song was born naturally, in a hum: “Close your eyes that have forgotten. It is the song of love found..." In these lyrics, the word" love "is not used only in its original meaning. It also refers to the feelings of humans towards life, work, study, dreams and all kinds of things. At the beginning of the song, it seems to me that behind the sweetness lies an extremely strong will. I really like this passage. The keystone of this song is “the feelings that we have forgotten." I made by putting in unison my feelings and those of Haru, and I illustrated by a joyous melody.

For the title, I wanted to use the word 'wind' and after much thought it occurred to me that I would like to become the wind. So I opted for the title "Kaze ni Naru"."


Baron: The Cat Returns is a 2002 Japanese adventure fantasy manga written by Aoi Hiiragi and published by Tokuma Shoten and Viz Media.


  • It's been speculated that the Cat King is based on Hayao Miyazaki while Haru is based on Mamoru Hosada. In 2000, Hosoda was hired by Miyazaki to direct Howl's Moving Castle, but left due to various reasons.[4]
  • Natoru's gender is changed from female to male in the English dub, given Andy Richter voiced the character.
  • Muta is based on Ushiko, the resident cat that wanders around Studio Ghibli's offices.
  • Yo Oizumi, Ken Yasuda, and Takayuki Suzui appear as voice actors for small roles in the film.
  • Moon's" name from Whisper of the Heart was changed to Muta as a nod to a professional wrestler named "The Great Muta" by Hayao Miyazaki. According to Aoi Hiiragi, "Mr. Miyazaki. He said something like "There is a strong professional wrestler called Great Muta ..." (laughs)."[5]
  • In the original draft, the "Cat Kingdom" was a place where deceased cats live forever. The theme of losing a pet was deemed too heavy by the filmmakers.
  • Hayao Miyazaki's offered advice regarding the finale where Haru, Baron and Muta float to the ground with Toto, but it was not adopted. Hiroyuki Morita recalls, Hayao Miyazaki advised me to have Haru say, "Baron, I think I have a crush on you.". However, all the staff rejected this proposal." Morita adds, "I don't intend to compete with Miyazaki, but I couldn't sympathize with this idea." However, I understood the purpose of releasing Haru feelings and heart in the scene, so I added the line "Maybe we are cool!".

Voice Cast[]

Character Original English
Haru Yoshioka Chizuru Ikewaki Anne Hathaway
Yûji Kishi (young Haru) Katia Coe (young Haru)
Baron Humbert von Gikkingen Yoshihiko Hakamada Cary Elwes
Muta/Renaldo Moon Tetsu Watanabe Peter Boyle
Toto Yōsuke Saitō Elliott Gould
Prince Lune Takayuki Yamada Andrew Bevis
Yuki Aki Maeda Judy Greer
The Cat King Tetsurō Tanba Tim Curry
Hiromi Hitomi Satō Kristen Bell
Natoru Mari Hamada Andy Richter
Natori Kenta Satoi René Auberjonois
Naoko Yoshioka Kumiko Okae Kristine Sutherland
Chika Youko Honna Erin Chambers

Additional Voices[]


Credit Staff
Director, Storyboard Hiroyuki Morita
Script Reiko Yoshida
Character Design Satoko Morikawa
Art Director Naoya Tanaka
Animation Director Ei Inoue, Kazutaka Ozaki
Key Animation Atsuko Otani, Ayako Hata, Emiko Shimura, Hideaki Yoshio, Hiroomi Yamakawa, Hiroyuki Aoyama, Hisao Yokobori, Jun Sekiguchi, Katsutoshi Nakamura, Kazuhide Tomonaga, Keiko Nakaji, Keiko Shimizu, Ken Baba, Kenichi Yamaguchi, Mariko Matsuo, Masafumi Yokota, Masahiro Koyama, Masahiro Kurio, Masako Sato, Michio Mihara, Michiyo Suzuki, Mineko Ueda, Minoru Ohashi, Miwa Sasaki, Nagisa Miyazaki, Nobuyuki Takeuchi, Sawako Miyamoto, Shigeo Akahori, Shigeru Kimishima, Shinichiro Yamada, Shinji Otsuka, Shinobu Mori, Tadashi Hiramatsu, Tadashi Okumura, Teiichi Takiguchi, Tetsuya Nishio, Toshiharu Sugie, Toshiyuki Komaru, Yoshiharu Satō, Yoshinobu Michihata, Yuichi Tanaka
In-between Animation Akihiko Adachi, Akiko Teshima, Alexandra Weihrauch, Chiharu Haraguchi, Chikako Sasagawa, Chizuko Koike, Eun Hee An, Eun Me Pyun, Eun Sun Kim, Gosei Oda, Hee Eun Choi, Hiromi Sasaki, Hitomi Tateno, Hye-Soon Byun, Hye-Sung Lee, Hyeon Soo Joung, Hyo-Sun Lee, Hyun Mi Cho, Ikuko Shimada, Jee Young Soung, Jeong Ho Jang, Ji Eun Kim, Jin Ju Go, Jin Young Han, Jung-Hee Kim, Kanako Satō, Kasumi Hara, Keiko Tomizawa, Keisuke Shimohira, Kiyoko Makita, Kumiko Tanihara, Kyong Sook Park, Mai Nakazato, Makiko Suzuki, Mariko Suzuki, Masako Sakano, Masako Terada, Masami Nakanishi, Masaya Saito, Maya Fujimori, Mayumi Ohmura, Mi Kyoung Yoon, Mi Ok Lee, Minori Noguchi, Mioko Katano, Miyoko Shikibu, Morihiko Yano, Moyo Takahashi, Myung-Hee Youn, Naoko Takahashi, Nozomu Ito, Seiko Azuma, Seon Ea Kim, Shinobu Saeki, Shunsuke Hirota, So-Young Lee, Soon Yang Ryu, Soon Yeol Choi, Soon-Ha Hwang, Su-Jin Hwang, Suk-Hwa Park, Takahiro Sugawara, Tsutomu Kaichi, Yoko Matsumoto, Youn-Hee Jeong, Young Hee Joung, Young Hee Jung, Yukari Umebayashi, Yukari Yamaura, Yukie Takahashi, Yumiko Kitajima, Yun Ju Yang
Editing Megumi Uchida
Director of Photography Kentaro Takahashi
Sound Director Kazuhiro Hayashi
Background Art Hiromasa Ogura (Ogura Kobo), Hiromitsu Narumi, Hiroshi Gouroku (Ogura Kobo), Kazuo Oga, Kikuyo Yano, Masaki Yoshizaki, Masako Osada, Mitsuo Yoshino, Naomi Kasugai, Noboru Yoshida, Og Chul Shin, Osamu Masuyama, Ryoko Ina, Ryutaro Ueda (Ogura Kobo), Sayaka Hirahara, Shihomi Suzuki (Ogura Kobo), Takanori Tanaka (Ogura Kobo), Takashi Omori, Tomoe Ishihara, Yohei Takamatsu, Yoshikazu Fukutome, Youji Takeshige
Color Design Osamu Mikasa
Digital Ink & Paint Akiko Nasu, Akiko Sato, Akiko Shimizu, Eiko Inoue, Eriko Ishikawa, Eun Kyoung Kang, Eun Sil Lee, Fumie Kawamata, Fumino Okura, Haruna Kiryu, Hiromi Takahashi, Hiroshi Iijima, Hyeon Ok Choi, Hyun Ji An, Hyun Suk Kim, Jin A Park, Kaori Seki, Kuk Dong Han, Kumi Nanjo, Kyoung Mi Kim, Mi Ae Na, Mi-Sung Jang, Miho Fujimori, Naho Mitsuishi, Nobuko Takahashi, Noriko Matsumoto, Oh Soon Kang, Ryuji Uchida, Sayuri Nagashima, Shihomi Miyachi, Tomoko Yamamoto, Yong Kyoung Park, Youn Hee Lee, Youn Suk Ra, Young Shim Lee, Yukiko Kakita, Yun Hee Park
Executive Producers Hideyuki Takai, Hironori Aihara, Koji Hoshino, Seiichiro Ujiie, Takeyoshi Matsushita, Toshio Miyagawa
Producer Toshio Suzuki
Music Yuji Nomi
Production Studio Ghibli

Related Products[]

Home Video[]

  • The Cat Returns / Ghiblies Episode 2 VHS - Buena Vista Home Entertainment (July 4, 2003)
  • The Cat Returns / Ghiblies Episode 2 DVD Buena Vista Home Entertainment (July 4, 2003)
  • The Cat Returns / Ghiblies Episode 2 Blu-ray Disc -Walt Disney Studios Japan (December 4, 2013)



  • The Cat Returns Soundtrack, Tokuma Japan Communications (July 17, 2002) TKCA-72367


External Links[]

Official Sites