Rudolf the Black Cat is a 2016 Japanese computer-animated family movie directed by Kunihiko Yuyama and Motonori Sakakibara.
Rudolf is a little black kitten living in Gifu as the pet of a young girl called Rie. One fateful day, he follows Rie out of the house, gets lost and accidentally boards a truck that goes to Tokyo. There he meets a tough stray cat, Gottalot, who takes Rudolf in and helps him survive in the streets. Rudolf aims to go back to Rie in Gifu and devises a plan to do so with the help of Gottalot and other friendly cats.
- An Aesop: Getting an education is important. The movie really emphasizes how useful the things that Rudolf and Gottalot learn from books are.
- Bully Bulldog: Devil the English Bulldog is the closest thing to an antagonist. He taunts Gottalot for having been abandoned by his owner and almost kills him when he comes asking for a favor. He ends up reforming after admitting he was envious of Gottalot for not being confined to a backyard.
- Cultured Badass: Gottalot is the toughest stray cat around, having even beaten up a Doberman Pinscher once. He's also very well-read, being able to connect Rudolf's name to Rudolf of the Habsburgs.
- Dub Name Change: Gottalot's name is different depending on the dub. He is "Ippai-attena" in the original Japanese audio.
- Face of a Thug: Gottalot is a muscular and intimidating stray cat feared by his peers, but he has a good heart; he's not gratuitously violent, willingly takes care of Rudolf, values learning and intellectual pursuits and gives Rudolf an education.
- The Homeward Journey: Rudolf gets lost in Tokyo and aims to get back home to Gifu, where his owners are.
- I Choose to Stay: Rudolf spends most of the story yearning to go back home, but when he achieves that, he discovers he has been replaced with an identical kitten. He does not resent the new kitten and just tells it to take care of Rie. Then he goes back to his new home in Tokyo with Gottalot.
- I Have Many Names: Gottalot is dubbed so by Rudolf after the latter misunderstands him saying he has "got a lot" of names, due to being a stray cat on familiar terms with many humans and other cats. His original name was Tiger.
- Intellectual Animal: Cats in this universe are perfectly capable of learning how to read human writing. Gottalot's owner taught him despite the cat's initial disinterest, and Gottalot teaches Rudolf. This is instrumental in finding a way back to Gifu since it means being able to interpret schedules and traffic signs.
- Not Allowed to Grow Up: Rudolf ends up spending a year in Tokyo while preparing to go home. By the end of that time, most regular cats would be all grown up, but Rudolf is the same kitten he was at the start of the film.
- A Pet into the Wild: Rudolf starts out as a little kitten who has never seen the world outside his home's backyard. When he ventures out to follow Rie, he ends up on the streets of Tokyo, very far away from home.
- "Reading Is Cool" Aesop: Gottalot teaches Rudolf that one can learn a lot and expand horizons by reading books.
- Replacement Goldfish: When Rudolf finally gets home to Rie, he discovers that he has been replaced with a kitten identical to him, suggesting Rie suffered when she lost Rudolf and was given a similar kitten as comfort.
- We Used to Be Friends: Gottalot and Devil got along well when they lived next door to each other and even shared food. After Gottalot's owner abandoned him, Devil turned nasty towards Gottalot. They patch things up after Rudolf confronts him, though.