My Neighbor Totoro
My Neighbor Totoro (Japanese: となりのトトロ Hepburn: Tonari no Totoro) is a 1988 Japanese animated fantasy film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki and produced by Studio Ghibli.
The movie tells the story of the two young girls named Satsuki and Mei, who are the daughters of a professor and their ill mother, and their interactions with friendly wood spirits in postwar rural Japan.
Why It Rocks
- The animation has that Studio Ghibli touch, looking beautiful and with well-detailed backgrounds.
- Satuski and Mei show their relationship with each other well throughout the film and with the Totoros.
- Awesome music by the talented Joe Hisaishi.
- It's not just for kids. It also appeals to adults too due to its nostalgia and themes.
- The voice acting shows good emotion, no matter what dub or version it is.
- It mainly focuses on singular scenes with no dialogue and just music (like the Bus Stop scene).
- Even though the titular character doesn’t appear that much, he still managed to make an impact, such as becoming Studio Ghibli’s mascot and appearing in Toy Story 3 as a stuffed toy.
- One thing that makes the movie shine brightly is that there is no antagonist in the movie. There's no bad guy, and it's well-executed thanks to a genius like Miyazaki.
- With its US theatrical and later home media release in 1993, it was one of the first attempts to introduce Studio Ghibli to a North American audience.
- The Streamline Pictures dub isn’t as polished as the later Disney dub. Lisa Michelson makes Satsuki sound way older than a 10-year-old (just like a teenage woman), and Cheryl Chase gives Mei a very similar sounding "bratty" voice that she would later use for Angelica Pickles from BTSW. The music is also sometimes drowned out by the dialogue.
My Neighbor Totoro received widespread acclaim from film critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 94% of critics gave positive reviews, with an average rating of 8.4/10 based on 48 reviews. The website's critical consensus states, “My Neighbor Totoro is a heartwarming, sentimental masterpiece that captures the simple grace of childhood." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average rating of 86 out of 100, based on 15 critics, indicating "universal acclaim". It is listed as a "must-see" by Metacritic.