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My Neighbour Totoro

My Neighbour Totoro
Review Date:
Reviewed By: Joe

Released By: Optimum Releasing

Age Rating: PG

Region: 2 - UK
Length: 87 minutes
Subtitles: English, English [For Hard Of Hearing]
Audio: English 2.0 Stereo
Japanese 2.0 Stereo
My Neighour Totoro is a charming tale about Saksuki and her little sister Mei who move to a new home in the country to be near their ailing mother. Far from the bustle of the city, they discover a mysterious place of spirits and magic, and the friendship of the big fluffy Totoro woodland creatures.
If you ask a fan why 1988 was a significant year for anime most would say that's when Akira came out, but a few would smile and say that it's the year Totoro was released. The film proved to be a huge success and created a demand from the public for Totoro merchandise, even to this day Totoro goodies, especially plush toys are popular items. Totoro was so iconic that it became Studio Ghibli's mascot and logo, appearing at the beginning of every Ghibli film since.

My Neighbour Totoro

The story revolves around two sisters, Mei and Satsuki who have just moved to the countryside. While moving into their new house, they encounter magical woodland spirits such as Soot Gremlins (better known as dust bunnies in a previous dub). They also meet Totoro, the spirit of the forest who befriends them.

The story is simplistic, but that's what makes it beautiful, it's Miyazaki's execution of it that makes it so great. He captures the innocence of childhood perfectly, with their movement, behaviour and expressions all captured in animation. The cinematography is fantastic and the scene where the girls are waiting for the bus is one of my favourite scenes in anime.

My Neighbour Totoro

Fans of the movie who have seen the English dub before will notice that Disney has supplied a new dub, which features the voice talents of Dakota Fanning and her younger sister Elle Fanning. The new dub uses a different translation with extra dialogue added to explain parts of Japanese culture (for example the children are told to take their shoes off before entering the house). Extra music has been added where scenes are normally silent. The voice acting is good, but many would have grown accustomed to the streamline dub, as the children's laugher sounds better. Optimum has also included the original Japanese audio and a more literal subtitled translation for purists.

Long time Ghibli collaborator Joe Hisaishi provides the music, which matches the movie perfectly. It's jolly and childlike just as it should be.

My Neighbour Totoro

Optimum has put some good extras on the DVD including alternative angle storyboard and textless opening and closing scenes, along with trailers for Howl's Moving Castle and the Studio Ghibli Collection. With a movie like this you could always do with more extras though! ^_^

Totoro is a perfect movie. It's great for children and adults alike. Watching Totoro it's easy to see why it's Studio Ghibli's most loved movie. We highly recommend this film.

Rating: 10/10
No, this is not an error, we really did give this movie ten out of ten.

Satsuki's and Mei's House was a major attraction at the World Expo 2005 In Aichi, Japan.
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