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My Neighbor Totoro
DVD + Blu-ray
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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.
• Feature-Length Storyboards
• 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
• 8-page Booklet, producer's and director's statements
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.
We have watched Totoro probably 100 times or more, and like any other Miyazaki aficionados, we purchase each new media or new version. We purchased this DVD version (and still need to buy the Bluray as we purchased a Samsung player recently).
First, the good - it's great this version contains the original japanese track. You can hear the original character voices and dialogue intonation as Miyazaki envisioned it. Obviously there is a lot of Japanese cultural aspects to this. In the English versions of any Japanese adaptations, there's always some imperfect translation (of words, but more importantly, of meaning, feelings, and cultural specifics)
The bad part of this version is the Fanning Sisters and some of the other English voice actors.
I grew up watching the first English adaptation, made by Fox. It's always hard to watch a re-adaptation later in life because the original voices will always be in your heart. But I was hopeful because perhaps this version would allow for some cleaning up of the dialog, to make it smoother in translation (as the Fox version can have some 'too direct' Japanese to English translation)
We began to watch, and were ok until the name Totoro was uttered. It was horrible, the Fannings (and others) were pronouncing it Toe-day-row (it's supposed to be more like Toe-Toe-Row, but even that's not quite right. It was like nails on a chalkboard and it was over, and over, and over again. We could not watch halfway.
We now cherish our old Fox DVD version, and it's hard to find now. It's going for $100 on ebay.
Giving a good rating because it's Totoro and there is the Japanese version with English subtitles, but suggest you skip the English version or at least learn how to pronounce Totoro correctly first.