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My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
"Tonari no Totoro" (original title)

G  |   |  Animation, Family, Fantasy  |  16 April 1988 (Japan)
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 148,549 users  
Reviews: 296 user | 137 critic

When two girls move to the country to be near their ailing mother, they have adventures with the wonderous forest spirits who live nearby.



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Credited cast:
Chika Sakamoto ...
Mei (voice)
Hitoshi Takagi ...
Totoro (voice)
Noriko Hidaka ...
Satsuki (voice)
Shigesato Itoi ...
Tatsuo Kusakabe (voice)
Tanie Kitabayashi ...
Granny (voice)
Toshiyuki Amagasa ...
Kanta (voice)
Naoki Tatsuta ...
Cat Bus / Additional Voices (voice)
Totoro / Catbus (voice)
Mrs. Kusakabe (voice)
Nanny (voice)
Professor Kusakabe (voice) (as Timothy Daly)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Kanta (voice)
Shigeru Chiba ...
Kusakari-Otoko (voice)
Lara Cody ...
Farm Girl (Troma version) (voice)


Two young girls, Satsuki and her younger sister Mei, move into a house in the country with their father to be closer to their hospitalized mother. Satsuki and Mei discover that the nearby forest is inhabited by magical creatures called Totoros (pronounced toe-toe-ro). They soon befriend these Totoros, and have several magical adventures. Written by Christopher E. Meadows <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

16 April 1988 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

My Neighbor Totoro  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Hayao Miyazaki:  [flying]  The Totoros fly on the top with Satsuki and Mei during the tree scene. See more »


When the father drives with his daughters on bike down a hill, on the road they drive are stones and parts of wood, but the bike doesn't shake. See more »


Mei Kusakabe: To-to-ro? You're Totoro!... I bet you're Totoro...
See more »

Crazy Credits

The ending sequence has animation of Totoro and some of the characters from the film walking. See more »


Referenced in AniMat's Classic Reviews: The Legend of the Titanic (2014) See more »


Tonari no Totoro
("My Neighbor Totoro")
Lyrics by Hayao Miyazaki
Composed by Joe Hisaishi
See more »

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User Reviews

A superb, uncynical journey into the imagination. Not so great dubbing, though.
31 May 2001 | by (Plattsmouth, NE) – See all my reviews

This movie, set in Japan in the early fifties, is director Miyazaki's tribute to his mother (who suffered from tuberculosis, just like Satsuki and Mei's mother), his childhood home, and childhood innocence. Although some people who watch this movie wonder where the Americans are (this is post-WWII Japan, after all) and why so little screen time is spent on the girls' mother, but that may be partly due to the dubbing.

Americans: First of all, the house the girls move into is rather European in design (with doorknobs, and an attic, and a front porch) despite the Japanese style bath and occasional sliding door. Secondly, Mei and Satsuki are really into Western fairy tales (the are brief glimpses of Japanese translations of The Three Billy Goats Gruff and other stories, along with Mei inadvertently re-enacting scenes from Alice in Wonderland and Chronicles of Narnia). On top of that, according to Helen McCarthy and other Miyazaki experts, the name "Totoro" is little Mei's mispronunciation of the Japanese transliteration of the English word "troll" ("tororo," which the Japanese would pronounce like "tololo" because they do not distinguish between r's and l's). This is why an accurate dubbed version is nearly impossible (like any little girl, Mei mispronounces a lot of words).

The Mother: I think this movie is entirely about the mother. Throughout, you see them subtly (almost too subtly at times) change from completely carefree to terrified with each scene involving the mother. This parallels Satsuki's coming of age subplot (she's ten and like anyone that age she is self-conscious about believing in Santa, or in this case Totoro). There's a little bit of both in the culturally-shocking--though completely innocent--bath scene (both girls take a bath with their father during a wind storm).

Really, though, My Neighbor Totoro is less about story than it is about the imagination of children.

Although the animation is a little dated and a bit jerky at times, the direction is absolutely top notch. There is enough visual creativity to rival an average Hitchcock film (Miyazaki's a huge fan of Hitch: check out the long wait at the bus stop, which is reminiscent of North by Northwest). Highlights include a Mary Poppins-esque ride on an Oriental top, a beautifully animated storm, Mei's nap on the slowly rising and falling chest of the giant totoro, and a cat-bus complete with headlight eyes.

62 of 83 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Dad bathing with young daughters... iheartnormi
English dub haters please get over yourselves. JockeyFullOfBourbon
Why such a high score for this? MoeHartman
comparison camwright1999
Bizarre theory: Totoro is Death? whaleking
Mei or Satsuki? cockatielninja
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