From 'Spirited Away' to 'Arrietty,' counting down the Japanese studio's finest
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9. "The Cat Returns" (2002, directed by Hiroyuki Morita)
Even Studio Ghibli's wilder fantasies tend to have a core of solemn melancholy underpinning the action, the absence of which makes the positively farcical "The Cat Returns" feel like one of their lightest, loopiest efforts. That's no bad thing -- particularly for cat lovers like me, who will be automatically tickled by the premise of an innocent girl (voiced by Anne Hathaway) rescuing a common moggy from a car collision, and finding herself unwittingly engaged to Lune, Prince of the Cat Kingdom. A bit like "Labyrinth" with whiskers, it's less visually resplendent than Ghibli's best work, but it's nice to see the studio embracing its sillier side, whilst retaining a typically strong message of self-belief.