Neko no Ongaeshi (2002, JAP) C-75m. ** D: Hiroyuki Morita. Starring (the voices of) Chizuru Ikewaki, Yoshihiko Hakamada, Aki Maeda, Takayuki Yamada, Hitomi Sato, Tetsu Watanabe. Spin-off of the wonderful MIMI WO SUMASEBA (1995) gives the cat baron his own movie: Teenage Ikewaki saves a cat from certain death, then finds herself addressed by a cat, who tells her she just saved the prince of the kingdom of the cats. Which means that she has won the right to marry him! Can the baron help her? Plot suffers from loud and hectic proceedings, dialogue and score seem to compete, not complement each other. Also, the main character is a bit too old to make her identifiable for the film's target audience. Animation is nice as always. Executive produced by Hayao Miyazaki for Studio Ghibli. English title: THE CAT RETURNS.

© Ron Altman