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The main character in Miyazaki's The Cat Returns starts off the movie missing breakfast and arriving at school late. This scene is mirrored at the end when she instead wakes up early on a Saturday to make breakfast for her and her mom and meet her friend early.

While point A and B are both clear, I don't understand how the movie's plot leads Chizuru from A to B. I also don't understand what themes are presented by the plot that tie into her character arc. Can someone explain what the movie's themes are and how the plot directs Chisuru's character arc throughout the movie?

  • I haven't watched this one in a while, but most Ghibli's stories are coming of age stories where their female leads "grow up" after learning responsibility. In this case it may be more Wizard of Oz (film) logic where she realizes there is no place like home after having such a wierd expirience, but again, I would need to rewatch it to remember it more exactly. – Darth Locke Apr 23 '18 at 20:47
  • I wouldn't call this is a Miyazaki movie. – Kruga Apr 24 '18 at 8:53
  • @Kruga Dammit, I thought I checked that before posting but IMDB confirms I'm wrong. – ViggyNash Apr 25 '18 at 0:06
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While point A and B are both clear, I don't understand how the movie's plot leads Chizuru from A to B. I also don't understand what themes are presented by the plot that tie into her character arc. Can someone explain what the movie's themes are and how the plot directs Chisuru's character arc throughout the movie?

Begin with Point A..

Point A -- Haru gets up late, looks a mess, skips breakfast, and is late to school. As a result, her classmates laugh at her, including a boy that she likes, which embarrasses her.

Fast forward to when Haru is speaking with the brown cat about the invitation to Cat Kingdom..

Even after hearing about Haru having to marry a cat if she goes to Cat Kindgom, she contemplates the benefits of such a place:

HARU: Who knows, maybe I'd fit in better with a bunch of cats. You get to lie around all day don't you? ... A cat's life sounds great. Eat all the food you want, take naps in the sun, forget about all your problems.

Needless to say, Haru just wants to be lazy, and so, Cat Kingdom sounds appealing to her. Even just saying so, though, gets her into trouble, as she soon finds herself in Cat Kingdom.

Now, fast forward to Haru's experience in Cat Kingdom..

Haru is now in Cat Kingdom, but she has a terrible time. Mainly, she starts turning into a cat, and her cat friend dies. Because of this, perhaps Cat Kingdom isn't all what it's cracked out to be..

And finally, Point B..

Point B -- Haru's returned from Cat Kingdom, is back at her house, and no longer fantasizes about blowing off her daily routine/responsibilities. She gets up early and cooks breakfast for her and her mother, reads the newspaper, and is already well groomed. And then, when she hears about the boy in her class being single again, Haru is indifferent, which surprises her friend.

Not only has Haru become more organized and in control of her life, but, she's also gained a kind of confidence in herself.

So, in the end, this is a case of, "be careful what you wish for, because you might just get it".

Fortunately though, it would seem that Haru learned a lesson from it all, and has matured some.

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