The Adventures of Milo and Otis

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The Adventures of Milo and Otis
American theatrical release poster
Directed by Masanori Hata
Produced by Masuru Kakutani
Satoru Ogata
Written by Masanori Hata
Narrated by Shigeru Tsuyuki (Japan)
Dudley Moore (USA)
Music by Ryuichi Sakamoto
Cinematography Hideo Fujii
Shinji Tomita
Edited by Chizuko Osada
Distributed by Toho Company, Ltd. (Japan)
Columbia Pictures (USA)
Release dates
  • June 27, 1986 (1986-06-27) (Japan)
  • August 25, 1989 (1989-08-25) (USA)
Running time
92 minutes (Japan)
77 minutes (USA)
Country Japan
United States
Language Japanese
English (USA)
Box office $13.3 million (US)[1]

The Adventures of Milo and Otis is a 1986/1989 Japanese/American adventure comedy-drama film about two animals, Milo (an orange cat) and Otis (a pug). The original Japanese version was released on June 27, 1986, and the reedited English-language version was released on August 25, 1989.

Initially filmed as Koneko Monogatari (子猫物語 A Kitten's Story; alternative English title: The Adventures of Chatran), the film was completely restored, trimmed and westernized by Columbia Pictures for English-speaking audiences, with added narration by Dudley Moore. (Shigeru Tsuyuki narrated the Japanese version.) Director Masanori Hata and associate director Kon Ichikawa edited the film together from 400,000 feet of footage, shot over a period of four years.[2]


The film opens in a barn with a mother cat who has given birth to kittens. One of the kittens is named Milo ("Chatran" in the Japanese version), and has a habit of being too curious and getting himself into trouble. He finds a "pug-nosed" pug puppy named Otis ("Poosky" in the Japanese version), and they soon become friends. When Milo is playing inside a box floating in the river, he accidentally drifts downstream. Otis runs after Milo. Milo goes on many adventures, escaping one incident after another.

He encounters three bears; escapes from the desolate, raven-infested Deadwood Swamp; steals a dead muskrat from a fox cache; follows a train-track to the home of a female deer, who shelters him; sleeps in an Owl's "dreaming nest"; stays for a while with a sow pig and her piglets; catches a fish, only to have it stolen by a raccoon; is mobbed by seagulls; and evades the third bear, then a snake, then falls into an old pit.

Otis, for his part, 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. After this, they separate and raise puppies and kittens. They help each other's families to survive the harsh winter and find their way back together through the forest to their barn.


The original Japanese soundtrack was composed by Ryuichi Sakamoto and included a theme song of the same name performed by Keiko Yoshinaga. The soundtrack was released as The Adventures of Chatran: Original Soundtrack. The musical score for the English-language version was composed by Michael Boddicker.

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

There is also music borrowed from Elmer Bernstein's score to To Kill a Mockingbird (specifically the two cues, "Roll in the Tire" and "Peek-a-boo" with minor changes in the music), and John Williams' score to The Witches of Eastwick (using these cues "The Township of Eastwick" and "Have Another Cherry!", again with minor changes in the music).[citation needed]

The song "Walk Outside", written by Dick Tarrier, is performed by Dan Crow in the opening shots and end credits.


The Adventures of Milo and Otis was the number one Japanese film on the domestic market in 1986, earning ¥5.4 billion in distribution income.[3] 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).

Reviews for the U.S. version were positive, with an 80% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 10 reviews.[4]

Animal cruelty controversy[edit]

When the film was first released, several Australian animal rights organizations raised allegations of animal cruelty during filming and called for a boycott. The Sunday Mail reported at the time that Animal Liberation Queensland founder Jacqui Kent alleged the killing of more than 20 kittens during production and added that she was disturbed by reports from Europe which alleged other animals had been injured, as in one case where a producer allegedly had broken a cat's paw to make it appear unsteady on its feet. Other scenes that were the source of controversy were the scene of a kitten flying off a cliff and a scene of a pug fighting a bear. Kent said her organization had a number of complaints from people who had seen the film and were concerned that it could not have been made without cruelty.[5] The Tasmanian and Victorian branches of the RSPCA also alleged abuses.[6][7]

The film was reported to have the approval of the American Humane Society, despite not having their officers present during filming.[5]

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." However, 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".[2]


  • 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. ^ The Adventures of Milo and Otis at Box Office Mojo Retrieved 3 June 2013
  2. ^ a b Milo and Otis, American Humane Association; archived version
  3. ^ "Kako haikyū shūnyū jōi sakuhin 1986-nen" (in Japanese). Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan. Retrieved 5 February 2011. 
  4. ^ "The Adventures of Milo and Otis". Rotten Tomatoes/Flixster. Retrieved 2013-09-01. 
  5. ^ a b Gillespie, P. (April 15, 1990). "Cat Cruelty Claim Over Kids' Movie". The Sunday Mail. 
  6. ^ Teale, Brandt (September 18, 1990). "RSPCA raises Milo and Otis fears". Hobart Mercury. 
  7. ^ Faraci, Devin (2010-04-21). "It's News to You: Milo & Otis Is Torture Porn". Retrieved 2013-09-01. 

External links[edit]