Bringing anime characters out of the film and into real life in a beautiful way.

Back in 1999, four years after releasing Whisper of the Heart, where the world was introduced to a cat called Baron, Studio Ghibli received a request to create feline characters for a theme park. This grew into a 20-minute short which then became a 45-minute film and eventually a 75-minute anime feature film released in 2002 called The Cat Returns.

▼ Some of the film’s main characters include Baron, Haru, and…


Despite being a box office hit — it was the highest-grossing domestic film when it was released in Japan — The Cat Returns tends to be overlooked these days in favour of Ghibli’s more recent and popular films. However, this has only strengthened its legion of fans, who’ll be happy to hear that Studio Ghibli is releasing a new set of goods in honour of the film, and bringing a few back for a restock, and all the items in the range are incredibly beautiful.

▼ The first product in the lineup is the Natoru Plush Toy (4,620 yen [US$29.18])

This gorgeous plushie is soft to the touch, yet sturdy enough to stand on its hind legs, as Natoru does in the movie.

The plushie is 13 centimetres (5 inches) wide by 26 centimetres high by 18 centimetres deep, and not only is the cat’s pose perfectly replicated, its facial features are too, right down to the blushing cheeks.

Natoru is ready to keep you company at home but equally happy in the great outdoors, helping you to recreate magical scenes from the movie.

▼ “Please come visit us in the Kingdom of Cats!”

Another product to help bring the magic of Ghibli to your everyday is the Fish Cookie Box Accessory Case (3,850 yen).

This cute case replicates the cookie box that Prince Lune presents to Yuki, and though it doesn’t contain any real baked treats like it does in the movie, the fish-shaped cookies appear as a pattern on the lining, so you can feel like the sweets are in there every time you open it.

The case measures 6 centimetres in height and 8 centimetres in length and width, making it the perfect size for holding small accessories.

The zips are adorned with paw prints for added cuteness and the ribbon extends all around the case to closely resemble the box from the movie.

In addition to these two new products, there are a number of items back in stock after a long absence, including the Fish Cookie Cutlery Rest (1,100 yen).

▼ The Tea Cup (1,980 yen), although the saucer is sold separately and sadly not currently in stock.

▼ The Special Blend Tea Can (2,860 yen)

▼ And finally, the stunning Baron Doll Music Box (11,000 yen).

Baron is pictured here with his cane and top hat, posing with one hand elegantly cupping his chin to give off “an intelligent and gentlemanly impression”.

The attention to detail on the figure is incredibly impressive, with the cat’s green eyes glinting as if he’s alive.

The music box stands at 23 centimetres in height, and the detailed design allows you to enjoy the character from all angles.

The pedestal features stonework and a white-and-green design that references the Cat Business Office building and the town in which it’s located, where Haru meets Baron.

The melody played by the music box is the movie’s ending tune, “Kaze ni Naru” (“Become the Wind”), which will mesmerise you… along with Baron’s gaze.

The items above can be purchased at Donguri Kyowakoku stores and online (links below), with the Natoru plushie available only in limited stocks and on a pre-order basis, with shipping scheduled for September.

Source: Donguri Kyowakoku
Featured image: Donguri Kyowakoku

Insert images: Studio Ghibli (1, 2), Donguri Kyowakoku (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
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