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My Neighbor Totoro
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From the legendary Studio Ghibli, creators of Spirited Away and Ponyo, and Academy Award-winning director Hayao Miyazaki, comes a classic tale of magic and adventure for the whole family.
When Satsuki and her sister Mei move with their father to a new home in the countryside, they find country life is not as simple as it seems. They soon discover that the house and nearby woods are full of strange and delightful creatures, including a gigantic but gentle forest spirit called Totoro, who can only be seen by children. Totoro and his friends introduce the girls to a series of adventures, including a ride aboard the extraordinary Cat Bus, in this all-ages animated masterpiece featuring the voices of Tim Daly, Lea Salonga, and real-life sisters Dakota and Elle Fanning, in one of their earliest roles.
• Original Theatrical Trailers
• Behind the Microphone
• Textless Opening and End Credits
• Creating My Neighbor Totoro
• Creating the Characters
• The "Totoro" Experience
• The Locations of My Neighbor Totoro
• Producer's Perspective: Creating Ghibli
Top customer reviews
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It's not a controversial film like Princess Mononoke, The Wind Rises, or (to a lesser extent) Howl's Moving Castle are.
It's just a sweet little film that's inoffensive and very, very creative.
The title character is one of the weirder creatures you'll see on film but is very endearing. I think many people in Japan probably bought a Totoro plush doll as their first plush doll! He certainly has become the symbol/mascot of Studio Ghibli just as Spider-Man and Mickey Mouse are the corporate symbols of Marvel Comics and Walt Disney Company respectively.
I don't see anything offensive in this film and frankly don't understand the problem some people might have with the bathing scene in the movie. Likewise, the business of the mother being in the TB ward/sanitarium shouldn't really be something that keeps young kids from watching this film. Honestly, Bambi has more trauma than anything I've seen in this movie!
If you have small kids or are going to start a Ghibli film collection, this is definitely the film to get or start with...
P.S. -- I've seen both the Disney and Troma Films/Carl Macek-supervised English dubs of "My Neighbor Totoro." I frankly didn't understand why Disney did a new dub for the film but it's their money at any rate. The Disney home video release is better simply because the film is in proper aspect ratio and not cropped like the earlier Fox Video release with the original English dub. The Macek dub is actually one of the better dubs the late producer supervised and it's kind of a shame it's not available in the States on anything but the OOP Fox Video releases (VHS, laserdisc, and DVD).
P.S. P.S. -- The older daughter in the film (on the original Japanese audio track) is voiced by Noriko Hidaka who is best known (in the West) as the original Japanese voice of Akane Tendo in the Ranma 1/2 anime series. She also voiced the character Noriko in the Gunbuster OVA series.
THE STORY: In the 1950's, a young husband and his two precocious daughters are relocating to a quiet rural community to get away from the hustle & bustle of big city life. They're still close enough for Dad to commute to his teaching job at a local university, and for the girls to be close to their mother (who's slowly recovering from tuberculosis at a nearby hospital). The wide open countryside is filled all kinds of amazing discoveries for the two city girls: there's a big house that will need lots of TLC to be turned from a house into a home, a new school & new friends to meet. But most amazingly of all... finding that the nearby woods is inhabited by a magical forest spirit, a huge, fuzzy, lovable creature named Totoro.
THOUGHTS: MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO is one of those films that doesn't really have a particular plot that's simple or easy to describe. Like so much of the best things in life this film isn't a destination, it's a journey. It's not about what happens so much as how it happens. I first rented this years ago at a video store, not knowing anything about the film. It was my first Miyazaki film, but not my first anime' - so I had some preconceived notions of what to expect. I couldn't have been more wrong, or more delighted. I was spellbound watching the story unfold, enchanted by the incredibly detailed designs of the backgrounds, the absolutely beautiful scenery. It was so richly detailed that it was hard to believe it was hand drawn animation. And the various human characters were so warm and real that I felt like I was watching people I'd known while growing up. The slow-paced nature of TOTORO may be a drag to some, but I think it's one of this film's greatest strengths. It defies traditional anime' expectations in the absolute best possible way. What a wonderful change from the frenzied style of AKIRA, ROBOTECH, and other such action-filled product. They're fine, but TOTORO, in its charming, disarming, summer lazyday way is equally impressive. Young or old, any viewer with a connection to his or her inner child should be totally enthralled watching this wonderful tale unfold. It's definitely my favorite Miyazaki film, my favorite anime' by far, and one of my very favorite animated films of all time, ever. It's right up there the beloved Golden Age classics from Disney or the modern greats from Pixar, and Warner's IRON GIANT.
THE BLU-RAY: Disney's hi-def release of MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO, as with their other Miyazaki/Studio Ghibli product, is a strong one. As clean & crisp as you're likely to get for this film. Detail is impressive and the muted color scheme is well-represented. No artifacting, pixelation, edge enhancement or crush (video noise) that I could detect. Soundmix was even and solid. The dubbing job is top notch as well. Bonus features are well-produced and cover much of the world of Hayao Miyazaki & Studio Ghibli; detailing his life, the history of the studio and the particulars behind the creation of this film. Good stuff. If you have this on DVD it's a marginal recommend for double-dipping. If you don't then by all means buy this Blu-ray/DVD combo - and give the DVD to a friend that doesn't yet have a Blu-ray player.