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My Neighbour Totoro [DVD]
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on 27 September 2012
I gave this film 5 stars, but if I could I'd give it 10. It is lovingly drawn, the music is an integral part of the film, the colours are lush and peaceful and the message is life-affirming. I only discovered this film, quite by chance, 18 mos ago (I know--where have I been?) and I would be embarrassed to say how often I've seen it since then, if I could even remember the number, which I can't! I've introduced many of my friends to Totoro since then, and all of them but one have loved it too. The story is simplicity itself--two little girls and their dad move to a new house in the country so they can be near the mother, who is in hospital. The girls have to adapt to their new situation and surroundings, and in the process they meet Totoro, a sort of "guardian spirit" of the forest. It's a gentle, joyful film, and my favourite from Studio Ghibli.
I was delighted to discover that a forest like Totoro's actually exists near Tokyo, and contains an ancient camphor tree with a shrine at its foot. This film is obviously Miyazaki's love letter to his people, his culture, his land and the family.
Watch it with someone you love.
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on 16 June 2016
A beautiful movie for all the family, me and my 4 yo loved it since the first scene. The dreamy summer japanese country is the setting for the adventure of two little sisters. Nature and magical spirits in a very delicate, funny and amusing story. We love Totoro!
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on 25 August 2012
There's no guessing what happens next or predictable endings here! I am not a fan of plonking children down in front of the tv, but should you need a moment of calm then this is it, whilst still encouraging thought and attention.
These films are beautifully made and so original. Imagine making a film from the imagination and dreams of several 3-10 year olds and you have it!
After my son watched and fell in love with Ponyo I looked around for more films from Hayao Miyazaki, Studio Ghibli and came across this. My son is 3, I think alot of the other films are for more mature minds.
I will say Totoro's voice (a very loud roar!) can be unnerving if not explained that thats just how he talks! I say "Oh, my goodness, he's a bit noisy, can you do that?" to my son and he now growls and giggles along when Totoro roars. Also the Soot Gremlins (furry little black things that live in empty houses making them all dusty and dirty!), they can seem creepy if not explained but my son loves them and wishes we had some.
Sit down and enjoy this film with your child, explain what needs it but don't forget to let your imagination play!!
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on 26 April 2015
I'd give this six stars if I could./ Perhaps the most popular Ghibli film, and it is clear why this should be. The nature spirit - the kana, I suppose - is both alarming and lovable, and if ever I could have my heart's desire, it would surely be the wonderful cat bus in this movie. The story is about children who come to live at an old farmhouse with their father in a remote area of Japan. Their mother is ill in hospital with an unspecified illness. One day the smallest child goes missing and her sister enlists the help of the spirits which so often only children can properly see.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 27 December 2007
I've enjoyed a few Studio Ghibli films recently, and this one is my absolute favourite.

The film is typical of `Japanimation' as it isn't simply a childrens film. It deals with some pretty deep issues...

...A family move into a new house, but the mother is away in hospital. The father isn't too great at domestic chores and his 11 year old daughter Satsuki takes on the mother's role of looking after the family. Satsuki never complains about the situation and the family are tightly knitted, although she and her sister constantly worry about her mother. At one point in the film her sister, the 4 year old Mei, is believed to be dead after going missing and a girls sandal is found in a lake.

This might sound grim - but there is a fantastically light side to this film. The two girls discover giant forest spirit called Totoro (and 2 smaller ones). Totoro looks like a cross between Pikatchu from Pokemon and a Koala bear - but a giant version! He has a friend who is a giant cat who also happens to be a bus - this really is a magical film. Infact, on balance, the film doesn't feel dark at all - it's only once you've watched it and think back that you realise how involved the story is.

My kids love this film (my eldest calls it the `Catbus film') and they laugh at Totoro and whenever the girls are playing. Visually this is a showcase for Ghibli, with lush landscapes, great characters - and of course the fantastic Totoro. Some of the backgrounds aren't as detailed as later Ghibli films, but it has those great Ghibli stylistics. Infact, the giant Totoro has since had cameos in other films and is the official mascot for Ghibli studios.

The great visuals are accompanied by a great soundtrack - even the English dub is fab, and will have you singing it for days afterwards!

In a nutshell: This is one of my favourite films, Totoro is now iconic as an anime character and I feel cheated that it's taken so long for me to discover a film which is nearly 20 years old! (Although this particular release is new). The film is one the entire family can enjoy, with believable characters, and lovable non-human ones.
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on 30 October 2009
I bought this copy of 'My Neighbour Totoro' to give to a friend; I thought she ought to be able to share it with her grandchildren. This appears to have been all the success I could
have hoped for; everybody liked it.
There are only two things wrong with the film to my eyes - it isn't long enough, and I think the music behind the titles is a bit too hearty. Otherwise it's the best anime cartoon I've ever seen, with unbelievably beautiful background art and funny, believable, human characters. The cat bus always makes me laugh, and the dream sequence with Totoro and his minions making the acorns grow like rockets says so much about childhood, Japan, and folk belief - I love the end of it, where they all finish up right at the top of the tree, playing ocarinas! Immediately afterwards the children wake in the morning; the seeds have sprouted, and they ecstatically echo the dance they performed in the dream with Totoro.
It's an unusual film as it presents so much of the action in a dual way - you can believe everything from the children's viewpoint, and you can also see the real threat to their mother's health as a continuous presence; sun and shade, often in the same scene. The continued presence of the villagers, merging in and out of the background, serves to root the story very much in felt reality. Like all Miyazaki's anime, atmosphere is there to be experienced almost at first hand; was there ever such a wet wait for a bus in the gathering gloom of night?
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on 23 July 2014
This is one of my all time favourite animated movies. There isn't much more I can say about it that hasn't been said many times before. In short it is one of Studio Ghibli / Hayao Miyazaki's finest films. A brilliant story, great characters, absolutely beautiful animation and art work with a very good voice cast.
This is far superior to the vast majority of Disney cartoons.
Every time I watch this movie I enjoy it so much I don't want it to end.
I would recommend this to Ghibli fans and anyone who appreciates great movies.
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on 26 July 2017
A masterclass in animation. You can't say anything more about Totoro - or Miyazaki - that hasn't already been said. It's almost perfect in its pacing, simplicity, plot, and characters. Layered and thoughtful, there's plenty for adults and children alike.
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on 13 March 2013
I've wanted to watch this film for ages, having read all the adoring reviews and seen the cute Totoro merchandise everywhere. Finally got to see it last weekend and was dismayed to find the dubbed voices are American, the little girls shrill voices are like scratching on a blackboard to my ears. Also some inappropriate Americanisms have crept in. For example, Mai says "wait up" when IMO she should just say "wait" or even "wait for me". Her pronounciation of Tortoro's name sounds like "Toad a Row" - with the emphasis on Toad - truly horrible. I'd have loved to have english-speaking japanese actors doing the voices. Just my personal opinion, of course.

Having said that, the story and the animation are enchanting and it deserves all the praise it receives. I watched it a second time and this time I played it in Japanese with english sub-titles and it was perfect. I just wish I'd done that first because those awful squeaky voices spoiled it slightly for me.

I still gave it five stars because everything else about this film is charming and I'll watch it again (and again), just not the dubbed version.
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on 25 January 2018
A beautiful, moving, simple and breathtaking film, even decades after release. I've watched this countless times, and it never loses its charm. The bus stop scene is always a winner, but there are so many moments of joy in this that it's just a beauty to watch from start to finish.
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