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My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

Tonari no Totoro (original title)
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When two girls move to the country to be near their ailing mother, they have adventures with the wondrous forest spirits who live nearby.

Director:

Hayao Miyazaki

Writer:

Hayao Miyazaki
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2,197 ( 170)
Top Rated Movies #133 | 5 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Noriko Hidaka Noriko Hidaka ... Satsuki (voice)
Chika Sakamoto Chika Sakamoto ... Mei (voice)
Shigesato Itoi Shigesato Itoi ... Tatsuo Kusakabe (voice)
Sumi Shimamoto ... Yasuko Kusakabe (voice)
Tanie Kitabayashi Tanie Kitabayashi ... Granny (voice)
Hitoshi Takagi Hitoshi Takagi ... Totoro (voice)
Yûko Maruyama Yûko Maruyama ... Kanta's Mother (voice)
Machiko Washio Machiko Washio ... Sensei (voice)
Reiko Suzuki Reiko Suzuki ... Rôba (voice)
Masashi Hirose Masashi Hirose ... Kanta's Father (voice)
Toshiyuki Amagasa Toshiyuki Amagasa ... Kanta (voice)
Shigeru Chiba ... Kusakari-Otoko (voice)
Naoki Tatsuta ... Cat Bus / Additional Voices (voice)
Tarako Tarako ... Additional Voices (voice)
Tomohiro Nishimura Tomohiro Nishimura ... Postal Messanger (voice)
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Storyline

Two young girls, 10-year-old Satsuki and her 4-year-old 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 <cmeadows@nyx.cs.du.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

16 April 1988 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

My Neighbor Totoro See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,700,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby (Stereo)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Originaly Mei and Satsuki were going to be one character (hence the reason why on the poster there is only one girl) however, they were split into two to add more suspense near the end. See more »

Goofs

When Mei and Satsuki are running back home from school because of the rain, Mei trips and gets mud on her skirt. After a few scenes, her skirt does not have any mud. See more »

Quotes

SatsukiMei Kusakabe: Come out, come out, wherever you are!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Drawings in the closing credits show the mother returning home in a taxi and having a bath with Satsuki and Mei. There is also the appearance of a baby dressed in blue, perhaps a younger sibling (brother?) for the girls. See more »

Alternate Versions

Current prints are missing the Toho Company, Ltd. title card that originally started the film. See more »

Connections

Referenced in A Brony Tale (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

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 Jeremy BristolSee 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.


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