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Neko no Ongaeshi

posted on by Christopher Macdonald
Studio Ghibli holds Press Conference about their upcoming film, Neko no Ongaeshi

Studio Ghibli held a press conference on March 26th announcing details about their next film, Neko no Ongaeshi ("The Cats' Repayment of Kindness").

Neko is based on HIIRAGI* Aoi's manga of the same name that was just published in Japan. It is a companion story to Whisper of the Heart, which is also based on a manga by Hiiragi. Director MORITA Hiroyuki (37), who was an animator for My Neighbor the Yamadas, makes his directorial debut with Neko. At the conference Morita said ,"One day, Miyazaki put the original manga on my desk and simply said: 'It's up to you.'"

IKEWAKI Chizuru (20) will play the heroine. Ikewaki, who said that Whisper of the Heart is her all time favorite movie, is best known for her role as the protagonist in a popular TV drama series "Honma-mon" . TSUJI Ayano (23) sings the theme song. TANBA Tetsuro (See _007 Lives Twice_) also joins the film as the voice actors.

Story: 17 years old high school student Haru, saves a cat from being run over by a truck. The cat is a prince in the Relams of the Cats and invites haru to his world. His people welcomed her so warmly that she goes so far as to wish she would be a cat. When she come to want to escape from the real, a cat called Baron appears...

A 75 minute film, Neko will open with the omnibus short film Ghiblies: Episode Two, a comical story set in an anime studio, directed by MOMOSE Yoshiyuki. NISHIMURA Masahiko and KOBAYASHI Kaoru, both of whome were also in Princess Mononoke, provide voices in the film.

A drawing fo the characters, and a picture of actress Ikewaki with a character from the film can be seen at www.yomiuri.co.jp/hochi/geinou/mar/o20020326_40.htm
The Cover of the Neko no Ongaeshi Manga can be seen at www.tokuma.jp/ghibli/index.html

*: All names in this and other articles on ANN that are entirely capitalized are familly names. HIIRAGI Aoi is written in the Japanese order, familly name first.

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