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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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2,180 ( 91)
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:

13 July 1990 (USA) 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

The names of the two girls, Satsuki and Mei are a play on the word May. "Satsuki" is an old Japanese word for May, and "Mei" is the Japanese pronunciation of the English word "May". See more »

Goofs

When Satsuki and Mei are waiting for the bus in the rain, the bus stop sign reads 'Maezawa-gyo' in some scenes while in other scenes the sign reads 'Shichikokuyama-gyo'. See more »

Quotes

Satsuki: You're such a baby! Just grow up!
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

In the alternate 2005 Disney version of 'My Neighbor Totoro' the Fox studios voice actors and actress including Cheryl Chase, Lisa Michelson have been completely replaced with Disney voice actors and actress including Dakota Fanning, Elle Fanning. Also the opening and closing songs are sung by Sonya Isaacs in the Disney version. Also gone are the strangers talking back to Mei and Satsuki (this is to make it truer to the Japanese version), The elderly woman who was called Nanny is now called Granny in the Disney version. Also the Disney version has a wide-screen whereas the Fox studio version had a full screen version. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Troldspejlet: Episode #42.12 (2009) 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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