My Neighbor Totoro

My Neighbor Totoro ★★★★

"To-to-ro? You're Totoro!... I bet you're Totoro..." - Mei Kusakabe

This is the first time I've dipped my toes into the Studio Ghibli pond, and I'm glad I did! What a lovely adventure 1988's My Neighbor Totoro is.

When two girls move to the country to be near their ailing mother, they have adventures with the wondrous forest spirits who live nearby.

What I love about this movie is how unique the story is, I don't want to spoil what happens but I love how fantastical the film feels and you never know what will happen next. It's an incredibly magical and heartwarming film. The visuals throughout are just beautiful, and some shots are just a work of art thanks to Hisao Shirai's cinematography.

Meanwhile Joe Hisaishi's music is just pure bliss. Easily one of my favourite film soundtracks. I love the ambient, calming and soothing nature of the music used and just makes you feel at peace. Hayao Miyazaki shows he is a masterful storyteller, and it's no wonder that many Studio Ghibili films have received such overwhelming praise thanks to Miyazki at the helm for most of their productions.

I'd say the only fault I have with this film is that a bit of the English voiceover work sounds a bit iffy. I know many do like watching Japanese media with the original voiceovers in Japanese, but I'm not one of those people. I remember when I used to watch NJPW (New Japan Pro-Wrestling), I'd watch that with English commentary. The voiceover work is still solid and all the characters are nicely written, and the two main girls Satsuki and Mei are likeable. Also Totoro and all the other spirits I just love.

Overall this makes me want to check out more of Studio Ghibli's work, seeing as 1988's My Neighbor Totoro is such a nice family adventure and just makes you happy. If you want dip your toes into the Ghibli pond then I'd say start out with this one, and make sure to watch it at night-time for the best experience.

8.5/10

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