My Neighbor Totoro

My Neighbor Totoro (となりのトトロ - Tonari no Totoro) is a 1988 Japanese animated movie directed by Hayao Miyazaki and produced by Studio Ghibli.

Troma Films produced a 1993 dub of the film co-produced by Jerry Beck. It was released on VHS and DVD by Fox Home Video. Troma and Fox's rights to this version expired in 2004.

An ani-manga version of My Neighbor Totoro was published in English by Viz Communications starting on November 10, 2004.

The film will be re-released by Disney on March 7, 2006. It features a new dub cast. The DVD release will be the first version of the film in the United States to include both Japanese and English language tracks, as Fox did not have the rights to the Japanese audio track for their version.

Characters

  • Satsuki Kusakabe - An 11-year-old girl.
  • Mei Kusakabe - Satsuki's younger sister, pre-school age (4 years old).
  • Professor Kusakabe - The girls' father.
  • Totoro - 3 Totoro appear in the film:
    • King Totoro (Ō Totoro) - The grey, friendly forest spirit who is the largest of the three (at least 3 meters tall); when someone says "totoro", they are usually referring to him. Mei has a habit of mispronouncing things. She tried to say "tororu", the Japanese word for troll. Ō in that case means "large" but the English dub calls that Totoro "King Totoro".
    • Medium Totoro (Chū Totoro) - The blue, medium-size (about 60 centimeters tall) one. Looks very similar to King Totoro.
    • Small Totoro (Chibi Totoro) - The white, smallest (about 20 centimeters tall) one, with the power of invisibility.
  • Kanta - A preteen boy of their village, ambivalent towards Satsuki.
  • "Nanny" - Kanta's grandmother, who sometimes takes care of the girls.
  • Catbus or Nekobasu - a cat that has become a bus.

Plot

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow. My Neighbor Totoro.

The movie is a slow-moving yet fascinating portrayal of Japanese rural life. It is set during a summer of the 1950s. A university professor from the city and his two daughters move into an old house near a forest, while his wife recovers from tuberculosis in a nearby convalescence home. His daughters discover "soot sprites", which their father rationalizes as makkurokurosuke — an optical illusion seen when moving from light to dark places (glossed as dust bunnies in the 1993 English dub; in the Disney version they are called "Soot Gremlins".).

Mei discovers a small Totoro, which leads her to find a large forest spirit living in a hollow under a Camphor Laurel by a small jinja. Mei names it Totoro. Her father tells her that this is the "King of the Forest". Not everyone can see the spirits of the forest, only the pure of heart. Mei is enchanted with them and determined to find the King of the Forest. One rainy night, while the girls are waiting for their father's bus which is running late, they encounter the giant Totoro who is looking rather forlorn with only a leaf for protection against the rain. When Satsuki gives him her umbrella, he's delighted at both the shelter and the sounds it makes as water hits it. This begins a series of encounters as the spirits allow the children to partake in their nightly activities.

Later, Mei and Satsuki are disappointed to learn that their mother's planned homecoming visit that upcoming weekend has been postponed because mother's condition has worsened. Satsuki understands why the visit was cancelled, but Mei does not, and a frustrated Satsuki yells at Mei and the girls end up not speaking to each other for several hours. Then, Mei gets lost while trying to bring an ear of healthy corn to her mother at the hospital, and a frantic Satsuki runs everywhere searching for her. Satsuki and the villagers get a major scare when a girl's sandal is found in a pond and they begin to fear that Mei has drowned, but Satsuki confirms that the sandal is not Mei's. Satsuki finally seeks Totoro's help. He is delighted to be of assistance, and with his help Mei is quickly found.

The movie features the Catbus, a grinning feline bus summoned by Totoro which rescues Mei and whisks her and Satsuki over the countryside to see their mother in hospital. When the cat bus finally leaves them it fades into the evening shadows, in the manner of Lewis Carroll's Cheshire cat. In the movie's final scene, Professor and Mrs. Kusakabe discover Mei's ear of corn on the windowsill of Mrs. Kusakabe's hospital room, carved with the inscription "To Mommy," as the girls and the Totoros watch from a nearby tree, happy that mother seems to be feeling better.

Trivia

  • The name Totoro is Mei's mispronunciation of "tororu", Japanese for troll, which she saw in a story book (Three Billy Goats Gruff) and decided was the same kind of creature.
  • The main Totoro has become a mascot for Studio Ghibli, gracing the studio's logo at the start of their films.
DVD case cover for My Neighbor Totoro from the original 20th Century Fox release. The Walt Disney Company has planned a re-release with a new voice cast. The DVD Cover for Disney's recent dub of My Neighbor Totoro.
  • My Neighbor Totoro was released as a double feature with Grave of the Fireflies. There are two theories for this: one was that Totoro would not be successful. Another theory is that "Grave of the Fireflies" (directed by Miyazaki's longtime colleague Isao Takahata) was believed to be too depressing for audiences as a stand-alone product, and thus needed a lighter animation to accompany it. Incidentally, the late Yoshifumi Kondo provided character designs for both films.
  • The Cat Bus originates from the Japanese belief that if a cat grows old enough it gains magical shape-changing powers and is called a bake neko. The Cat Bus is a bake neko that saw a bus and decided to become one. Bake neko are mentioned in several Ghibli films.
  • Satsuki and Mei's mother's implied suffering from spinal tuberculosis (also known as Pott's disease) is somewhat autobiographical, as Hayao Miyazaki's mother suffered from the same illness.
  • Ken Jennings, the winner of the most games in the history of the TV game show Jeopardy!, carries a small plush "Totoro" figure in his pocket for good luck.
  • Satsuki and Mei were both born in the month of May. Satsuki is the old Japanese name for the month of May, and Mei's name comes from the English name.
  • In the Japanese version, their father's position in his university is not explicitly given by Satsuki as in the English dub.
  • The character of Totoro made a cameo appearance in one episode of the Gainax TV series Kareshi Kanojo no Jijo (His and Her Circumstances), which was likely director Hideaki Anno's way of paying tribute to Miyazaki (Anno worked as a key animator on Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind in 1984 and considers Miyazaki a mentor). In fact, Gainax reportedly invited the animator who did the original key animation for Totoro to work on that scene, although they never revealed the animator's name.
  • During the closing credits, Miyazaki purposely inserted art of Satsuki and Mei playing with other human children and not with the Totoros. In fact, he asserted that the girls would never see the Totoros again (chiefly because he believed that if the girls retreated into the world of the Totoros, they would never return to their own world), but that the Totoros would always be around and watching over them. Pavilion reproduction of Satsuki & Mei’s House in Japan.
  • In limited stores (in North America and Japan), collectable "My Neighbor Totoro" toys are on sale.
  • In the word "makkurokurosuke" (used when calling the 'Soot spirits' in the Fox dub), makkurokuro would mean "pitch black black" and "suke" is a common element in boys names. In the Disney dub, they are referred to as "Soot Gremlins".
  • It is believed Hayoa Miyazaki made the film because he was tired of good-and-evil conflicts, and decided it was time just to have fun.
  • In 1993, Fox released the first english version of "My Neighbor Totoro", produced by John Daly and Derek Gibson (the producers of The Terminator) with co-producer Jerry Beck. Fox and Troma's rights to the film expired in 2004.
  • The Disney version is slated for DVD release on March 7, 2006, but it appeared in the 2005 Hollywood Film Festival and on television prior to this. The world premiere for the Disney version was on October 23, 2005 after the premiere of Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang. The Turner Classic Movies cable television network held the television premiere of Disney's new English dub on January 19, 2006, as part of the network's January salute to Hayao Miyazaki. (TCM aired the dub as well as the original Japanese with English subtitles.)
  • The 2005 World Expo in Japan featured a "Totoro" house which was a recreation of the house in which Satsuki and Mei lived in the movie.

Credits

Direction, Original Story & Screenplay
Music
Production
Executive Producer
Producer

Cast

The movie stars the following actors (listed in (Disney) English version/(Streamline) English version/Japanese version format):

  • Dakota Fanning/the late Lisa Michelson/Noriko Hidaka: Satsuki Kusakabe
  • Elle Fanning/Cheryl Chase/Chika Sakamoto: Mei Kusakabe
  • Timothy Daly/Steve Kramer/Shigesato Itoi: Professor Kusakabe
  • Lea Salonga/Alexandra Kenworthy/Sumi Shimamoto: Mrs. Kusakabe
  • Pat Carroll/Natalie Core/Tanie Kitabayashi: Nanny
  • Frank Welker/Hitoshi Takagi/Hitoshi Takagi: Totoro

This page about Totoro includes information from a Wikipedia article.
Additional articles about Totoro
News stories about Totoro
External links for Totoro
Videos for Totoro
Wikis about Totoro
Discussion Groups about Totoro
Blogs about Totoro
Images of Totoro

The movie stars the following actors (listed in (Disney) English version/(Streamline) English version/Japanese version format):. . Kusakabe's hospital room, carved with the inscription "To Mommy," as the girls and the Totoros watch from a nearby tree, happy that mother seems to be feeling better. Vans are also used to shuttle people and their luggage between hotels and airports, to transport commuters between parking lots and their places of work, and along established routes as mini-buses. Kusakabe discover Mei's ear of corn on the windowsill of Mrs. Many mobile businesses use a van to carry almost their entire business to various places where they work (for instance, people who come to homes or places of business to perform services or to install or repair appliances). In the movie's final scene, Professor and Mrs. Commuter vans are used as an alternative to "car pooling" and other ride sharing arrangements.

When the cat bus finally leaves them it fades into the evening shadows, in the manner of Lewis Carroll's Cheshire cat. In urban areas of the United States full size vans have been used as commuter vans since 1977, when Dodge introduced a van that could transport up to 15 passengers. The movie features the Catbus, a grinning feline bus summoned by Totoro which rescues Mei and whisks her and Satsuki over the countryside to see their mother in hospital. In addition, many of the drivers of passenger vans drive them infrequently. He is delighted to be of assistance, and with his help Mei is quickly found. The result is a high center of gravity and a shifting load, particularly in passenger versions. Satsuki finally seeks Totoro's help. The bench seats allow passengers to slide if safety belts are not used (in the United States it is common for only the front seat passengers to use their safety belts) and belted passengers can still lean and shift a large amount.

Satsuki and the villagers get a major scare when a girl's sandal is found in a pond and they begin to fear that Mei has drowned, but Satsuki confirms that the sandal is not Mei's. The seats in the passenger version raise the load, passengers, above the floor, further increasing the center of gravity. Then, Mei gets lost while trying to bring an ear of healthy corn to her mother at the hospital, and a frantic Satsuki runs everywhere searching for her. The van body is taller than the cab and bed of the pickup that uses the same style frame and drivetrain resulting in the basic van having a higher center of gravity than a similarly loaded pickup from which it is derived. Satsuki understands why the visit was cancelled, but Mei does not, and a frustrated Satsuki yells at Mei and the girls end up not speaking to each other for several hours. Recently the passenger versions have been criticized for having a tendency to roll over. Later, Mei and Satsuki are disappointed to learn that their mother's planned homecoming visit that upcoming weekend has been postponed because mother's condition has worsened. Dodge, now part of Daimler-Chrysler quit making their model in June of 2002 and replaced it with the Dodge Sprinter which may be due to roll over concerns.

This begins a series of encounters as the spirits allow the children to partake in their nightly activities. Second stage manufacturers also modify the original manufacturer's body to create custom vans for the general public. When Satsuki gives him her umbrella, he's delighted at both the shelter and the sounds it makes as water hits it. They have been sold as both cargo and passenger models to the general public and as Cutaway van chassis versions for second stage manufacturers to make box vans, ambulances, campers and other vehicles. One rainy night, while the girls are waiting for their father's bus which is running late, they encounter the giant Totoro who is looking rather forlorn with only a leaf for protection against the rain. The frame and drive train are identical or similar to the full sized pickups made by the each manufacturer but with a snub front resulting in most of the engine protruding under a console between the front seats, often called a "dog house". Mei is enchanted with them and determined to find the King of the Forest. The "standard" or "full size" vans in the United States were originally manufactured by the "big three"; Dodge, Ford and General Motors.

Not everyone can see the spirits of the forest, only the pure of heart. However, minivans are usually distinguised by their smaller size, unibody architecture, and front wheel drive powertrains. Her father tells her that this is the "King of the Forest". Occasionally the term van is also used to refer to a Minivan. Mei names it Totoro. A railway car used to carry baggage is also called a "van". Mei discovers a small Totoro, which leads her to find a large forest spirit living in a hollow under a Camphor Laurel by a small jinja. In this case there is a differentiation between a dry van, used to carry most goods, and a refrigerated van (a "reefer") used for cold goods.

His daughters discover "soot sprites", which their father rationalizes as makkurokurosuke — an optical illusion seen when moving from light to dark places (glossed as dust bunnies in the 1993 English dub; in the Disney version they are called "Soot Gremlins".). In the United States, a "van" can also refer to a box-shaped trailer or semitrailer used to carry goods. A university professor from the city and his two daughters move into an old house near a forest, while his wife recovers from tuberculosis in a nearby convalescence home. term trailer (as in trailer park. It is set during a summer of the 1950s. The Word "van" is a shortened version of the word caravan which originally meant a covered vehicle, though in British English this now has a similar meaning to the U.S. The movie is a slow-moving yet fascinating portrayal of Japanese rural life. Similarly, in Australia, panel vans, recreational vehicles popular among young people in the 1970s, were based on locally-manufactured utes (short for utility, the local name for pickup).

. British people, mostly older ones, will also sometimes call a pickup truck a "van", something Americans would never do. The DVD release will be the first version of the film in the United States to include both Japanese and English language tracks, as Fox did not have the rights to the Japanese audio track for their version. While the word always applies to boxy cargo vans, British English speakers will generally refer to a passenger minivan as a people-carrier or MPV, and a larger passenger van as a minibus. It features a new dub cast. The word "van" has slightly different, but overlapping, meanings in different forms of English. The film will be re-released by Disney on March 7, 2006. Larger vehicles are classified as trucks or lorries.

An ani-manga version of My Neighbor Totoro was published in English by Viz Communications starting on November 10, 2004. Some vans can be really small, like the van versions of the Mini or can be really large like some Mercedes-Benz vans. Troma and Fox's rights to this version expired in 2004. It can either be a specially designed vehicle or be based on a saloon/sedan car, the latter type often including derivatives with open backs (pick-ups etc). It was released on VHS and DVD by Fox Home Video. It is generally a rather box-shaped vehicle on four wheels, about the same width and length as a large automobile, but taller and usually higher off the ground. Troma Films produced a 1993 dub of the film co-produced by Jerry Beck. A van is a vehicle used for transporting goods or groups of people.

My Neighbor Totoro (となりのトトロ - Tonari no Totoro) is a 1988 Japanese animated movie directed by Hayao Miyazaki and produced by Studio Ghibli. Frank Welker/Hitoshi Takagi/Hitoshi Takagi: Totoro. Pat Carroll/Natalie Core/Tanie Kitabayashi: Nanny. Kusakabe.

Lea Salonga/Alexandra Kenworthy/Sumi Shimamoto: Mrs. Timothy Daly/Steve Kramer/Shigesato Itoi: Professor Kusakabe. Elle Fanning/Cheryl Chase/Chika Sakamoto: Mei Kusakabe. Dakota Fanning/the late Lisa Michelson/Noriko Hidaka: Satsuki Kusakabe.

The 2005 World Expo in Japan featured a "Totoro" house which was a recreation of the house in which Satsuki and Mei lived in the movie. (TCM aired the dub as well as the original Japanese with English subtitles.). The Turner Classic Movies cable television network held the television premiere of Disney's new English dub on January 19, 2006, as part of the network's January salute to Hayao Miyazaki. The world premiere for the Disney version was on October 23, 2005 after the premiere of Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang.

The Disney version is slated for DVD release on March 7, 2006, but it appeared in the 2005 Hollywood Film Festival and on television prior to this. Fox and Troma's rights to the film expired in 2004. In 1993, Fox released the first english version of "My Neighbor Totoro", produced by John Daly and Derek Gibson (the producers of The Terminator) with co-producer Jerry Beck. It is believed Hayoa Miyazaki made the film because he was tired of good-and-evil conflicts, and decided it was time just to have fun.

In the Disney dub, they are referred to as "Soot Gremlins". In the word "makkurokurosuke" (used when calling the 'Soot spirits' in the Fox dub), makkurokuro would mean "pitch black black" and "suke" is a common element in boys names. In limited stores (in North America and Japan), collectable "My Neighbor Totoro" toys are on sale. In fact, he asserted that the girls would never see the Totoros again (chiefly because he believed that if the girls retreated into the world of the Totoros, they would never return to their own world), but that the Totoros would always be around and watching over them. Pavilion reproduction of Satsuki & Mei’s House in Japan. .

During the closing credits, Miyazaki purposely inserted art of Satsuki and Mei playing with other human children and not with the Totoros. In fact, Gainax reportedly invited the animator who did the original key animation for Totoro to work on that scene, although they never revealed the animator's name. The character of Totoro made a cameo appearance in one episode of the Gainax TV series Kareshi Kanojo no Jijo (His and Her Circumstances), which was likely director Hideaki Anno's way of paying tribute to Miyazaki (Anno worked as a key animator on Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind in 1984 and considers Miyazaki a mentor). In the Japanese version, their father's position in his university is not explicitly given by Satsuki as in the English dub.

Satsuki is the old Japanese name for the month of May, and Mei's name comes from the English name. Satsuki and Mei were both born in the month of May. Ken Jennings, the winner of the most games in the history of the TV game show Jeopardy!, carries a small plush "Totoro" figure in his pocket for good luck. Satsuki and Mei's mother's implied suffering from spinal tuberculosis (also known as Pott's disease) is somewhat autobiographical, as Hayao Miyazaki's mother suffered from the same illness.

Bake neko are mentioned in several Ghibli films. The Cat Bus is a bake neko that saw a bus and decided to become one. The Cat Bus originates from the Japanese belief that if a cat grows old enough it gains magical shape-changing powers and is called a bake neko. Incidentally, the late Yoshifumi Kondo provided character designs for both films.

Another theory is that "Grave of the Fireflies" (directed by Miyazaki's longtime colleague Isao Takahata) was believed to be too depressing for audiences as a stand-alone product, and thus needed a lighter animation to accompany it. My Neighbor Totoro was released as a double feature with Grave of the Fireflies. There are two theories for this: one was that Totoro would not be successful. The main Totoro has become a mascot for Studio Ghibli, gracing the studio's logo at the start of their films. The name Totoro is Mei's mispronunciation of "tororu", Japanese for troll, which she saw in a story book (Three Billy Goats Gruff) and decided was the same kind of creature.

Catbus or Nekobasu - a cat that has become a bus. "Nanny" - Kanta's grandmother, who sometimes takes care of the girls. Kanta - A preteen boy of their village, ambivalent towards Satsuki. Small Totoro (Chibi Totoro) - The white, smallest (about 20 centimeters tall) one, with the power of invisibility.

Looks very similar to King Totoro. Medium Totoro (Chū Totoro) - The blue, medium-size (about 60 centimeters tall) one. Ō in that case means "large" but the English dub calls that Totoro "King Totoro". She tried to say "tororu", the Japanese word for troll.

Mei has a habit of mispronouncing things. King Totoro (Ō Totoro) - The grey, friendly forest spirit who is the largest of the three (at least 3 meters tall); when someone says "totoro", they are usually referring to him. Totoro - 3 Totoro appear in the film:

    . Professor Kusakabe - The girls' father.

    Mei Kusakabe - Satsuki's younger sister, pre-school age (4 years old). Satsuki Kusakabe - An 11-year-old girl.

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