The series was adapted as an anime movie directed by Shinichi Tsuji released in theaters on 11 February 1984.
A two-month-old kitten, Chibi-nekko (チビ猫), was abandoned by her owners. An 18-year-old young man named Tokio finds Chibi-nekko and brings her home. Although his mother is allergic to cats and fears them, she agrees to let him keep the kitten for company because she is afraid that he has become too withdrawn after having failed his university entrance exams. Soon, Chibi-nekko falls in love with Tokio.
In her own mind, Chibi-nekko is a young human who speaks the human language even though people only seem to hear her cat meows. She believes that all humans were once kittens like her. When she realizes that Tokio is in love with a human girl, Chibi-nekko wishes to grow up quickly into a young woman. A tomcat, Raphael, tells Chibi-nekko that it would be impossible for her to do so, shattering her dream. Raphael proceeds to tell Chibi-nekko of a paradise called Cottonland, where dreams can come true.
Chibi-nekko runs away from home to travel with Raphael in search of Cottonland. After many adventures, she ends up near Tokio's house, where his mother finds her and overcomes her fear of cats.Chibi-neko (チビ猫, Chibi-neko)
The main protagonist is a two-month-old kitten known as Chibi-neko Suwano (須和野 チビ猫, Suwano Chibineko)
. She was an abandoned cat before being adopted by Tokio. She believes that there is a way that cats can become human.
Tokio Suwano (須和野 時夫, Suwano Tokio)
18 years old. Has recently failed his college entrance exams after encountering a kitten.
Tobio Suwano (須和野 飛夫, Suwano Tobio)
He is Tokio's father and a novelist.
Fumiko Suwano (須和野 二三子, Suwano Fumiko)
Tokio's mother and a stay-at-home mom. She is allergic to cats and was afraid of them before she met Chibi.
Mitsuko (美津子, Mitsuko)
Tokio's girlfriend and a law school student.
Raphael (ラフィエル, Rafieru)
Beautiful male leader of the neighborhood cats. He admires Chibi.
Chestnut Man (くりまん, Kuriman)
Appears in the "Cat" Chibi sequel.
Buchineko Suzuki (鈴木ぶちねこ, Suzuki Buchi-neko)
Chibi-neko's friend. He has a little sister who looks like Chibi-neko.
The Star of Cottonland was serialized by Hakusensha in LaLa magazine at irregular intervals from 1978 to 1987. The series was collected in seven tankōbon volumes under the Hana to Yume imprint, and then reissued in 16 child-sized volumes. It was later reprinted in four bunkoban volumes on 17 June 1994.
The Star of Cottonland was adapted as an anime movie that was produced by Mushi Production. The movie was directed by Shinichi Tsuji from a script by Masaki Tsuji and Yumiko Ōshima, with music by pianist Richard Clayderman. The movie was released in theaters on 11 February 1984. The movie was later released on VHS, then rereleased on DVD by Columbia Music Entertainment on 31 March 2004.
In 1978 The Star of Cottonland received the Kodansha Manga Award for shōjo manga, and in 1979 it was voted the most popular series running in LaLa. According to German manga scholar Jaqueline Berndt, the depiction of cats as young girls spread to other manga series from The Star of Cottonland. It is described by Masanao Amano as not just a simple animal fable but a story in which psychological and mental states are highly differentiated.
The movie of The Star of Cottonland has been praised as a "hidden gem" for its complex characterization, philosophical story, and gorgeous animation. The soundtrack of Richard Clayderman's piano music is praised by Helen McCarthy and Jonathan Clements as striking exactly the right tone for the romantic mood. The depiction of Chibi-neko's self-image as a catgirl was seen by a reviewer at T.H.E.M. Anime as a metaphor for adolescence.