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Top reviews from the United States
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So glad to get a copy of this movie, just bummed that it's in English instead of Japanese with English Subtitles. My now-passed Japanese Aunt introduced this to my siblings and me when we were kids, and I have always loved it. I definitely recommend it to other families with little kids, though be warned, there are a couple of scenes that are perfectly innocent in Japanese culture -- like the dad sitting in the bathtub with both little girls-- that may raise some eyebrows/questions in American culture. Please be assured there's nothing sexual about the scene, it is 100% innocent and acceptable in Japan for adults to bath with their younger children (the girls in this movie are 9 and 4 I believe), But American culture is a little different so I thought I'd put a heads up here.
If you have never seen totoro, then this travesty is enough to inspire enjoyment and delight. If, however, you grew up watching totoro, deeply identify with Satsuki, and are still waiting (ocarina in hand, under a large leaf umbrella) for the cat bus... this is not the version you need to see
They changed the script and recovered the songs. It is so different that I couldn't even sit through it.
They don't even call the little black fuzzy things dust bunnies.
Reviewed in the United States on September 10, 2016
The first release of this movie is truly a masterpiece. If you can get that release/version you will not be disappointed. However, I am at a loss for words. This is the 3rd copy of Tottoro that I've owned. The previous were the original, Japanese with English subtitles, and the initial release in the US. This last version is totally remastered. Different voices for all of the characters. Completely different script. The initial magic of the movie is lost. The original was set in the past with an appropriate vernacular and cultural reference, The current version brings the reference to a modern vernacular which removes the more simplistic life of the setting of the movie. They even changed the japaneses with english sub titles version. The environmental sounds are much improved, however. Disappointed is a huge understatement. Does anyone know which is the best version of the original that is dubbed in English?
Reviewed in the United States on December 10, 2015
When they talk about the classic Miyazaki that almost everybody likes, this is the one people point to... 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.
Reviewed in the United States on February 15, 2018
This was a great movie. I knew nothing about it except the reviews so I didn't know what to expect. There were no bad parts in the movie so my daughter isn't afraid to watch it over and over again. It is peaceful so she can fall asleep to it. It is entertaining so she wsnts to watch it many times. I like it so much and she does too that we have looked for a part 2 but we couldn't find one so we are thinking of trying other movies by the same person. It helps her with her manners too. The children are well-behaved and it encourages her to want to help out and clean up after herself. She wants to be like the little girl in the movie. It is hard to find a movie without scary or negative parts. This is a keeper.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 3, 2012
This was the best out of the Ghibli studio in my opinion, was a very moving story about the plight of the two sisters and their father who move into a new area and as their mother is in hospital, there is quite a lot going on with their lives .I found the story could be fun as well as sad at times with the three of them having to work out without their mum, the two girls meet the TOTORO god and is the most moving and fun gibli film i have seen and also the animation was amazing so much detail, also i watched this in the English and then the Japanese version and both were great to watch as each other .hope you enjoy this as much as i did .
4.0 out of 5 starsBig, Furry, Supernatural Creature Befriends 2 Little Girls
Reviewed in Canada on September 13, 2018
I've screened this Anime before--several times--in rental. For me, it's one of the best choices of "Japan-imation" films, to serve as a "late-Sunday-evening", feel-good, winding-down the Week movie. It's a fantasy: 2 kids--the preschooler first, then the elementary-school aged older sister--encounter a "Forest Spirit" in the form of the large, furry, bear-like Totoro. It just so happens there's a picture of a furry, not very dangerous-looking ogre--an awful lot like Totoro--in the younger daughter's illustrated story-book... ;-)
The story--like all good Sci-Fi & Fantasy--originates & is (somewhat) grounded in reality. The Kusakabes: elementary-school aged daughter Sasakai, pre-school aged (can't wait to grow up) daughter Mei & university professor (Anthropology?) Dad; are moving to an empty cottage in the forested, agricultural hinterland of some city. They seem to have relocated so as to be closer to Mom, who's nearby in hospital. I'm thinking T.B.--but, as story's told from kids' perspective--viewers never know what's up with that.
One afternoon--while academician Dad's marking papers, or working @ home, on his next book--Mei connects with 2 sprightly, big-eared, um, creatures. Turns out, creatures are part of a group--headed by the huge, bear-like Totoro--who live in a nearby, ancient Camphor-Tree. Totoro sleeps a lot, plays the ocarina--or some basic woodwind instrument--@ night & occasionally provokes gale-force winds. "Mr. T" & his much smaller fellow spirits, seem to be addicted to acorns & use these to forge a bond with the girls.
The overall story-arc is kind of mild--yet edgy in places--& as convoluted as any contemporary adult-film. It bespeaks a misty-eyed society, of indeterminate era (post-WWII? ), where motor-tricycles are used for hauling cargo , personal computers are unknown, even telephones aren't ubiquitous & many folks commute by train & bus. That includes the titular Totoro--who patronizes a VERY unique, decidedly other-worldly, transit system--the cat-bus...Yeah, seriously... I give these animators 1-3/4 thumbs up. for originality. ;-)
The animators jump the viewer into the eerie World of the Nature-Spirits, in several easy steps & (interestingly!) Dad is there, to legitimize Mei's "first contact"-- with Totoro & his little friends--by not judging, or disparaging #2 Daughter's experience. Far from it; Dad aids his kids in dealing with Totoro, by relating old Japanese legends & talking his daughters through a short "Spirit-befriending" ceremony. The kids' involvement with the spirits deepens from there.
In the end, Totoro gets to be the nominal hero--resolving a family crisis, provoked by the precocious, yet insecure Mei. The overall message of this flic--actually very much a kid's film--is that the World: be it the Natural World, Academia or Human social World, isn't as scary as kids might think & kids viewing this film will be left feeling it can be fun--"out there".
5.0 out of 5 starsFinally a superior quality version of this classic film!
Reviewed in Canada on November 28, 2017
First bought the DVD some years ago, then later purchased the Disney blu-ray, now I own this GKIDS blu-ray release and I can tell you it's the BEST version yet, because this is the high-definition transfer, together (!) with the original English-dubbed voices of Dakota and Elle Fanning. I have viewed this film many times in its original Japanese audio but the English dubbed voices is for lack of a better word, Outstanding! Miyazaki at his best story-telling, and subsequent kudos to Studio Ghibli for giving us these brilliant transfers My Neighbor Totoro [Blu-ray + DVD] (Sous-titres français)