Japanese Title: Tonari no Totoro
Directed by: Hayao Miyazaki
Produced by: Toru Hara
Music by: Joe Hisaishi
Cinematography: Hisao Shirai
Editing by: Takeshi Seyama
Written by: Hayao Miyazaki
Running time: 86 minutes
Release date(s): April 16, 1988 [Japan]
March 7, 2006 [Disney Dub]
Elle Fanning/Chika Sakamoto as Mei Kusakabe
Dakota Fanning/Noriko Hidaka as Kusakabe Satsuki
Frank Welker/Hitoshi Takagi as Totoro
Pat Carroll/Tanie Kiribayashi as Nanny
Timothy Daly/Shigesato Itoi as Professor Kusakabe
Lea Salonga/Sumi Shimamoto as Mrs. Kusakabe
Satsuki and Mei have recently moved to a countryside area of Japan with their Father. Their Mother has been rehabilitating at a nearby hospital and the move was made so that they could be closer to her, as well as to provide a better environment for her once she is allowed to go home. Although Satsuki and Mei were at first frightened by their new strange house, they soon discover that there is a magical presence there. Soon, they meet their new neighbour, a tree guardian named Totoro who lives in the forest behind their house, and together a wonderful adventure begins.
The story was a bit slow paced, familiarizing the audience with the countryside life and how the Kusakabe Family led a peaceful and cheerful life despite being incomplete. The two children, Kusakabe Satsuki and Kusakabe Mei are quite adult like at their really young age.
The excitement began during the next half where Totoro began to feed their imaginations with all their magical encounters with him. There are a number of scary but lovable characters present aside from Totoro. To name a few, there are the little soot spirits who looked like the ones who appeared in the Spirited Away movie. Another interesting character is the Catbus, who was emphasized to be male. It actually kind of reminds me about the Alice in Wonderland Cheshire cat.
The film made me remember a lot of magical Disney films, who makes everyone imaginative and young at heart. This Studio Ghibli animated My Neighbor Totoro is one of those classics that will remind you of a child’s perfectly fantastic imagination.
*The poster was the original idea of having only one lead child.