Il mio vicino Totoro (My Neighbor Totoro) – Acrylic painting on canvas (50×50 cm)
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 film – which stars the voice actors Noriko Hidaka, Chika Sakamoto, and Hitoshi Takagi – tells the story of the two young daughters (Satsuki and Mei) of a professor and their interactions with friendly wood spirits in postwar rural Japan.
The film won the Animage Anime Grand Prix prize and the Mainichi Film Award and Kinema Junpo Award for Best Film in 1988. It also received the Special Award at the Blue Ribbon Awards in the same year.
In 1989, Streamline Pictures produced an exclusive dub for use on transpacific flights by Japan Airlines. Troma Films, under their 50th St. Films banner, distributed the dub of the film co-produced by Jerry Beck.
This dub was released on VHS and laserdisc in the United States by Fox Video in 1993 and on DVD in 2002. The rights to this dub expired in 2004 and so, was re-released by Walt Disney Home Entertainment on March 7, 2006 with a new dub cast.
This version was also released in Australia by Madman on March 15, 2006 and in the UK by Optimum Releasing on March 27, 2006.
This DVD release is 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.
The movie and its titular character, Totoro, have become cultural icons. My Neighbor Totoro ranked 41st in Empire magazine’s “The 100 Best Films Of World Cinema” in 2010, and Totoro was ranked 18th on Empire’s 50 Best Animated Film Characters list.
A list of the greatest animated films compiled by Terry Gilliam in Time Out ranked the film number 1. A similar list compiled by the editors of Time Out ranked the film number 3.
The character made multiple cameo appearances in a number of Studio Ghibli films and video games and is recognized as one of the most popular characters in Japanese animation. Totoro was ranked 24th on IGN’s top 25 anime characters.