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Reviewer: Rowena Lim Lei 04/11/2003

When Toriyasu's pet dog Papadoll goes missing, Toriyasu's younger sister Meeko is convinced that aliens abducted it. But as it turns out, Papadoll was actually whisked off to Banipal Witt, a world where talking cats reside. Papadoll is now the pet of the malicious cat princess Buburina, and he's mutated into a monstrous creature who follows Buburina's every command... wreaking havoc on Banipal Witt and its citizens. Toriyasu, Meeko, and their feline friends have to retrieve Papadoll and turn him back to normal before Banipal Witt is destroyed!
Catnapped! is without a doubt a child-geared anime, a point which probably won't attract most otaku. Of course, just because an anime is aimed at kids doesn't mean it's bad or unappealing. Just take "My Neighbor Totoro" for example. My two-year-old son loves it, I love it, our forty-something Japanese business acquaintance loves it... simply put, it's an anime created with children in mind but ends up attracting people of all ages.
The story is really, really simple. Everything is spelled out in black and white, who the good and bad guys are, what the objective is... all you have to do is sit back and watch things unfold. Toriyasu and Meeko have to bring back Papadoll, at the same time save Banipal Witt by foiling Buburina's twisted plans. Aside from the more obvious good vs. bad plotline, Catnapped! also demonstrates the importance of friendship, loyalty, and realizing one's mistakes.
While I found the story to be remarkably imaginative and perfectly paced (even the opening and ending sequences were oozing with creativity), the visual style left me feeling rather iffy. Had I not known better I could have sworn Catnapped! was not an anime because it just didn't look like an anime. This is not to say that the art and animation aren't good. In fact, every scene is crisp, clear, and vibrant. All the movements are very smooth and realistic. The ornately rendered settings are very impressive as well. I wasn't too fond of the character designs though. The non-human characters looked okay, but I swear Toriyasu is one of the ugliest anime boys I have ever laid eyes on. Fortunately he's a better-looking cat for most part of the movie. I should also mention that the English dubbing is done nicely with fitting voices and great acting.
Overall I found Catnapped! to be an entertaining film, despite its overtly childish presentation. It's got everything one can ask for: an interesting plot, pleasant visuals, likeable music... I'm just not sure if it's something for more jaded fans.
Catnapped! was written and directed by Takashi Nakamura, the animation director of the cult classic "Akira".

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Review Title:
Alternative Titles:
Totsuzen! Neko no Kuni Banipal Witt
75 Minutes
General Rating:
3.5 out of 5 stars
Suitable For:
Whisper of the Heart
1. Whisper of the Heart
2. Initial D: Second Stage
3. Golden Boy
4. Pretear
5. Fullmetal Alchemist