The Adventures of Milo and Otis

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The Adventures of Milo and Otis
The Adventures of Milo & Otis poster.jpg
Japan theatrical release poster
Directed byMasanori Hata
Kon Ichikawa
Written byMasanori Hata
Mark Saltzman (English version)
Produced byMasuru Kakutani
Satoru Ogata
Narrated by
CinematographyHideo Fujii
Shinji Tomita
Edited byChizuko Osada
Music by
Distributed byToho (Japan)
Columbia Pictures (United States)
Release dates
  • July 12, 1986 (1986-07-12) (Japan)
  • August 25, 1989 (1989-08-25) (United States)
Running time
92 minutes (Japan)
77 minutes (United States)
English (United States)
Budget¥800 million[1]
Box office¥9.8 billion (Japan)
$104 million (Japan/US)
12 million tickets (Japan/US/EU)

The Adventures of Milo and Otis (子猫物語, Koneko Monogatari, lit. "A Kitten's Story"; alternate English title, The Adventures of Chatran) is a 1986 Japanese[2] adventure comedy-drama film about two animals: Milo, an orange tabby cat, and Otis, a pug. The original Japanese version, narrated by Shigeru Tsuyuki and with poetry recitation by Kyōko Koizumi, was released on July 12, 1986. Columbia Pictures removed 15 minutes from the original film and released a shorter English-language version, written by Mark Saltzman[3] and narrated by Dudley Moore, on August 25, 1989.


The film opens on Nippon Farm, with a mother cat who has given birth to kittens. One of the kittens is named Milo, or Chatran in the Japanese version (チャトラン (Chatoran), literally Brown Tiger), and has a habit of being too curious and getting himself into trouble. He finds a pug puppy named Otis, or Poosky in the Japanese version (プー助 (Pūsuke)), and they soon become friends. When Milo is hiding inside a box floating in the river, it breaks loose, and he accidentally drifts downstream. Otis runs after Milo, who himself goes on many adventures, escaping one obstacle after another.

Milo encounters a bear, escapes from a raven and Deadwood Swamp, steals a dead muskrat from a fox, follows a railroad called Nippon Bearway to the home of a deer who shelters him, sleeps in a nest with an owl, stays for a while with a pig and her piglets, catches a fish and is robbed of it by a raccoon, is mobbed by seagulls, and evades another bear, then a snake, before falling into a deep pit.

For his part, Otis follows Milo throughout, usually only an hour behind and less than a mile out of range. Finally, the two catch up with one another. While Milo is in the hole, Otis pulls him out by means of a rope. Milo and Otis are reunited, and soon find mates of their own: Joyce, a white cat, for Milo; and Sondra, a French pug, for Otis. Afterward, they briefly part ways and raise offspring of their own. Later, Milo, Otis, Joyce, and Sondra (along with their litters) happily find their way back together through the forest to their farm as the credits roll.


All characters are voiced by the narrator, Shigeru Tsuyuki (Japanese) and Dudley Moore (English).

  • Milo
  • Otis
  • Milo's mother
  • Gloria
  • Frog
  • Gloria's chick
  • Bear
  • Sea Turtle
  • Fox
  • Deer
  • Owl
  • Pig
  • Raccoon
  • Seagulls
  • Snake
  • Joyce
  • Sondra


Director Masanori Hata and associate director Kon Ichikawa edited the film together from 74 hours of footage (400,000 ft or 120,000 m of film), shot over a period of four years.[4]


The original Japanese soundtrack, released as The Adventures of Chatran: Original Soundtrack, was composed by Ryuichi Sakamoto and included "Koneko Monogatari" (子猫物語), a theme song performed by Keiko Yoshinaga. During the promotion of the film in Japan, the song "Neko Jita Gokoro mo Koi no Uchi" (猫舌ごころも恋のうち, "My Heart Has a Dislike for Love", lit. I with a cat tongue heart toward romance), originally recorded by Ushiroyubi Sasaregumi for the Fuji TV anime series High School Kimengumi, was used in commercials for the film.[5]

The musical score for the English-language version was composed by Michael Boddicker. Music was borrowed from Elmer Bernstein's score to To Kill a Mockingbird (specifically the two cues, "Roll in the Tire" and "Peekaboo" with minor changes in the music), and John Williams' score to The Witches of Eastwick. The song "Walk Outside", written by Dick Tarrier, is performed by Dan Crow in the opening shots and end credits.

The English-language version of the film also contained music by classical composers including:

Video game adaptation[edit]

In 1986, to tie in with the original Japanese version of the film, a video game was released for the Japan-exclusive Famicom Disk System.[6]


The film was shown during the film market at the 1986 Cannes Film Festival before opening on 200 screens in Japan on July 12, 1986.[7][8]


Box office[edit]

It was the number-one Japanese film on the domestic market in 1986, earning ¥5.4 billion in distribution income that year.[9] It grossed a total of ¥9.8 billion ($90,822,000) in Japan.[10][11] At the time, it was the third highest-grossing film ever in Japan, beaten only by E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) and Antarctica (1983).[10]

In the United States, The Adventures of Milo and Otis grossed $13.3 million,[12] adding up to a combined $104,122,000 grossed in Japan and the United States.

Adjusted for inflation, the film grossed the equivalent of $226 million in Japan as of 2021[11] and $33 million in the United States as of 2023, for a combined inflation-adjusted $259 million in Japan and the United States.

In terms of box office admissions, the film sold 7.5 million tickets in Japan, 3.2 million tickets in the United States,[13] and 1,318,750 tickets in Germany and France,[14] for a combined 12,018,750 tickets sold in Japan, North America and Mainland Europe.

Home media[edit]

In 2010, the film's DVD version sold 810,334 units and grossed $5,464,010 in the United States.[15] It was released on Blu-ray on January 24, 2012.[16]

Critical reception[edit]

Reviews for the US version were positive, with an 80% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 10 reviews and an average rating of 6.9/10.[17] Metacritic assigned the film a weighted average score of 72 out of 100, based on 7 critics, indicating "generally favourable reviews".[18]

Animal welfare allegations[edit]

When the film was released, some animal welfare organizations alleged to have had a number of complaints from people who had seen the film and were concerned that it could not have been made without cruelty.[19] The Tasmanian and Victorian branches of the RSPCA also alleged abuse.[20]

The film was reported to have the approval of the American Humane Society.[19] The American Humane Association attempted to investigate cruelty rumors through "contacts in Europe who normally have information on movies throughout the world." While noting that the contacts had also heard the allegations, they were unable to verify them. The organization also reported, "We have tried through humane people in Japan, and through another Japanese producer to determine if these rumors are true, but everything has led to a dead end." The same report noted that several Japanese Humane Societies allowed their names to be used in connection with the film and that the film "shows no animals being injured or harmed."[4]


  • The Japanese Academy (1987)
    • Won: Popularity Award - Most Popular Film
    • Nominated: Award of the Japanese Academy - Best Music Score (Ryuichi Sakamoto)
  • Young Artist Awards (1990)
    • Nominated: Young Artist Award - Best Family Motion Picture – Adventure


  1. ^ "Fuji Purring For Good Reason". Variety. May 7, 1986. p. 391.
  2. ^ 子猫物語(1986) [Koneko Monogatari (1986)] (in Japanese). AllCinema. Retrieved November 5, 2015.
  3. ^ "The Adventures of Milo and Otis (1986) - IMDb". IMDb.
  4. ^ a b Milo and Otis, American Humane Association; archived version
  5. ^ 子猫物語 [Koneko Monogatari] (in Japanese). Fujisankei. June 27, 1986. From the film credits.
  6. ^ 子猫物語 まとめ [ファミコン] [Koneko Monogatari on the Famicom] (in Japanese). Archived from the original on May 1, 2018. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  7. ^ Segers, Frank (May 21, 1986). "Film Reviews: Koneko Monogatari". Variety. p. 25.
  8. ^ Segers, Frank (July 24, 1986). "Pet Pic To Unseat 'Rocky IV' At Japan B.O.". Daily Variety. p. 9.
  9. ^ "Kako haikyū shūnyū jōi sakuhin 1986-nen" (in Japanese). Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan. Retrieved 5 February 2011.
  10. ^ a b 歴代興収ベスト100 [All-time box-office top 100] (in Japanese). Kogyo Tsushinsha. Archived from the original on 2012-06-17. Retrieved 15 February 2018.
  11. ^ a b "Koneko Monogatari: Recettes" [Koneko Monogatari: Receipts]. JP's Box-Office (in French). Retrieved 12 April 2022.
  12. ^ The Adventures of Milo and Otis at Box Office Mojo Retrieved 3 June 2013
  13. ^ "«Приключения Майло и Отиса» (Koneko monogatari, 1986)". Kinopoisk (in Japanese). Retrieved 12 April 2022.
  14. ^ "Koneko Monogatari". JP's Box-Office (in French). Retrieved 19 March 2022.
  15. ^ "The Adventures of Milo and Otis (1989)". JP's Box-Office. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  16. ^ The Adventures of Milo and Otis Blu-ray Release Date January 24, 2012, retrieved 2020-01-30
  17. ^ "The Adventures of Milo and Otis". Rotten Tomatoes/Flixster. Retrieved 2013-09-01.
  18. ^ "The Adventures of Milo and Otis". Metacritic.
  19. ^ a b Gillespie, P. (April 15, 1990). "Cat Cruelty Claim Over Kids' Movie". The Sunday Mail.
  20. ^ Teale, Brandt (September 18, 1990). "RSPCA raises Milo and Otis fears". Hobart Mercury.

External links[edit]