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Conceived as a family film devoid of conflict and suffused with the carefree pleasures of the summertime, My Neighbour Totoro sees Hayao Miyazaki create a parable of friendship and imagination populated with unforgettable characters.
A universal classic for all generations, My Neighbour Totoro shows Japanese animation`s famous Studio Ghibli at its very best, and is an elegy to two ever-fading miracles: the fairytale world of childhood and the disappearing countryside.
Hayao Miyazaki had been cradling the idea for this wonderful fantasy for a long time before he finally decided to write and direct it. Set in rural Japan during the 1950s, My Neighbour Totoro is full of the magical touches that Miyazaki has become famous for.
Tatsuo Kusakabe and his two daughters, Mei and Satsuki, have moved to the country to be near their ailing mother who resides at a local hospital. As the girls explore their surroundings, the younger sibling, Mei, believes that the forest is inhabited by magical creatures, much to the amusement of her father and sister. However, one day Mei gets lost in the forest and discovers a group of Totoros - protectors of the forest. Eventually Mei convinces Satsuki to come with her and the three have a series of wonderful adventures together, as their mother begins to recuperate.
Hayao Miyazaki's imagination is simply incredible and My Neighbour Totoro perfectly displays his talent to create stories and characters that you really care about. Aside from the variously sized Totoros there is the magnificently surreal 'Catbus' to contend with too! Also, you get a first look at the 'dust bunnies' - later seen in Spirited Away!
Director Hayao Miyazaki
Screen Widescreen 16:9 Anamorphic
Languages Japanese ; English - Dolby Digital (2.0) Stereo
Region Region 2 - Will only play on European Region 2 or multi-region DV
The story follows two little girls, Satsuki and Mei, who move to the country with their father while their mother is recouperating in hospital. Miyazaki captures perfectly the curiosity of two children full of life, chasing dust bunnies (suswatari) and exploring the garden. What this film also captures is the simple beauty of Japanese country life - from clothing and architecture to the girls' respect of a roadside shrine to Jizo-san, the patron saint of travelers.
Totoro himself is a "spirit of the forest" but nothing in the film is more real. He is like a giant furry fat rabbit (without the rabbit teeth!) and when Mei first finds him and goes to sleep on his belly, it makes me want to get the biggest softest grey blanket and snuggle up too. However, my favourite character has to be Catbus. What cat lover could not be utterly taken by a giant tabby cat who is a real live bus, with furry seats, who leaps across the countryside taking Satsuki and Mei for a ride?
This film is magical - and suitable for all ages. The drawing and animation is incredible - especially when you think it was done in 1988 before computer graphics took over. The soundtrack is fantastic too, and the end song will have you singing along!
Don't be put off by the fact that Disney have the distribution rights, either. Miyazaki was incredibly strict when he did that, and controlled an awful lot of things such as the script, editing and merchandising. This means that none of the original spirit is lost, and you don't get any of that over-commercialisation associated with many of the Disney 'brands'.
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