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My Neighbor Totoro (Blu-ray)
Blu-ray/DVD Reviews

My Neighbor Totoro (Blu-ray)

Miyazaki’s timeless classic gets the HD treatment it deserves in this fantastic Blu-ray set, filled with special features, remastered visuals, and both English and Japanese tracks.

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Ever since it was first released1988, Hayao Miyazaki’s My Neighbor Totoro has been regarded as one of the best animated films of all-time, and still continues to spread that special magic only Studio Ghibli can make. Now Disney gives this classic the high-definition treatment it deserves in its long-awaited release on Blu-ray in this special two-disc combo pack. Featuring both Japanese and English audio tracks, a remastered presentation, some nice extras, fans will fall in love with it all over again while captivating new viewers with its wondrous look and story.

My Neighbor Totoro follows two young sisters named Satsuki and Mei, who move into an old house near the woods as their father works to keep the family together due to their mother being ill at a nearby hospital. While out exploring the forest near their home one day, they come across all sorts of magic creatures that live there, followed by what seems to be the big, furry leader of them all named Totoro. Here he takes the girls on all kinds of fantastic adventures, from flying high in the sky (a staple of most Miyazaki films) to using magic to help acorns grow into trees. As the girls learn to adjust to their new home and magical friends, some sad elements eventually come into the story which will lead the girls on their biggest challenge and adventure yet.

I’ve always been a huge fan of Totoro, ever since I first saw it back in the day when Fox brought it here to the states and dubbed it. It was one of the films that changed the way I looked at animation forever, as it looks like a sappy kiddy feature at first glance, but is far from it as it tackles some pretty deep topics such as the loss of innocence and more. When I learned that Disney had won the rights to most of Studio Ghibli’s movies and redubbed it back in 2006, I was too thrilled. Now the Blu-ray version of that release is finally here, which made me feel as though I was watching it again for the first time.

As with their previous releases, Disney has made sure everything looks and sounds perfect here, as visuals are clean and sharp, with both the original Japanese and English audio tracks (featuring real sisters Dakota and Elle Fanning as Satsuki and Mei) coming in loud and clear. It’s worth noting the production on the ‘new dub’ is excellent, so even anime purists shouldn’t worry if they choose to skip the subtitles and listen along.

There’s also quite a few special features here for fans to check out, such as insight on what influenced Miyazaki to set the story in a world with little technology, interviews with some of the cast and crew from both the Japanese and English versions, and more that’ll keep most entertained long after the film has ended.

I’m so glad My Neighbor Totoro has finally made its way to Blu-ray, as it’s hands-down one of the best animated films ever made – regardless of country. With great artwork and animation from Studio Ghibli, a beautiful story, spot-on voice acting and some cool extra features, fans of Hayao Miyazaki’s timeless masterpiece will fall in love with this classic all over again while those less familiar to its charms are sure to be won over. I’m almost envious of those who get to watch this for the first time, discovering its special magic for themselves as the gentle story unfolds and everything it has to reveal. There’s never been a better time to introduce this wonderful film to someone you care about.

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05/21/2013

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Disney Home Entertainment

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About the Author: Chris Mitchell