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My Neighbor Totoro Blu-ray Review

My_Neighbor_Totoro-blu-ray-coverU.S. Release

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: Japanese, English, French DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (48kHz/24-bit)
  • Subtitles: English, English SDH, French
  • Subtitles Color: White
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: G
  • Discs: 2 (1 x Blu-ray + 1 x DVD)
  • Digital Copies: N/A
  • Run Time: 88 Mins.
  • Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: May 21, 2013
  • List Price: $39.99

Overall
[Rating:4.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(The below TheaterByte screen captures are taken directly from the Blu-ray Discs and losslessly compressed in the PNG format. There should be no loss of picture quality with this format. All screen captures should be regarded only as an approximation of the full capabilities of the Blu-ray format.

The Film

[Rating:4.5/5]

 My-Neighbor-Totoro-BD_01

Not initially a theatrical success, Hayao Miyazaki’s My Neighbor Totoro would eventual find great success in the broadcast aftermarket and has gone on to become one of his most beloved creations. A paean to childhood wonder, naiveté, imagination, and the traditions of Japanese country living, the film focuses on 12-year-old Satsuke and her inquisitive little sister Mei who move with their father into an old house in the countryside to be closer to their mother while she convalesces in hospital. In the peace of the countryside, the two sisters find themselves in a magical world filled with magic – dust bunnies, forest spirits, and the big, furry, lovable forest creature Totoro.

Part fantasy and part coming of age story, My Neighbor Totoro is a magnificent slice of family life. Even more fascinating is how at every turn the wonderful imagination of the young girls is encouraged and Miyazaki offers such an intimate and loving portrait of family life. But, the film never lapses into the saccharine either, as we are always aware with the very real-life issues facing each of the girls as they confront the reality of their mother being in the hospital and, perhaps, never coming home again. Through the beautiful artistic vision that transforms woodlands into wonderlands and homes into fantastical places of exploration as well as the warm center of the family unit, My Neighbor Totoro reaches across all lines, all boundaries, for an immediately enjoyable and recognizable triumph of the spirit.

The English-language version features sisters Elle and Dakota Fanning in the voice roles of Satsuke (Elle) and Mei (Dakota).

(Editor’s Note: Portions of this review not related to this specific release were previously published as our My Neighbour Totoro [UK] Blu-ray Review. All screen captures were taken from their respective releases.)

Video Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

My-Neighbor-Totoro-BD_02

Previously reviewed here as a StudioCanal release on Blu-ray from the UK, this US edition from Disney, in comparison, is crisper, with a little more natural grain, a slightly stronger sense of three-dimensionality, and a bit more pop to the color palette. It arrives in an AVC/MPEG-4 1080p/24 encodement on Blu-ray from Disney.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

My-Neighbor-Totoro-BD_03

Disney has provided My Neighbor Totoro with the original Japanese-language soundtrack and the English and French dubs in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (48kHz/24-bit) stereo tracks. All three sound great, with good stereo panning and natural dynamic range that captures the beautifully evocative score of Joe Hisaishi with a natural breadth and smooth high end. Dialogue has just the slightest hint of clipping on some of the loudest passages, but is otherwise clear and intelligible.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:4/5]

My-Neighbor-Totoro-BD_04

This release from Disney retains all the same supplements from the StudioCanal release minus the clean opening and closing animations.

The supplements:

  • Storyboards –  Watch the entire film in storyboard form.
  • Creating My Neighbor Totoro (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:02:58) – Miyazaki tells how and why he decided to develop My Neighbor Totoro.
  • Creating the Characters (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:04:23) – A discussion of the evolution of the various character designs and their origins is offered by by Miyazaki.
  • The Totoro Experience (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:02:00) – Miyazaki and producer Toshio Suzuki discuss the secondary success of Totoro in the television market.
  • Producer’s Perspective: Creating Ghibli (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:01:23) – Suzuki tells how the name Ghibli came about.
  • The Locations of Totoro (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:28:38) – An exploration of the various locations around Japan where My Neighbor Totoro takes place.
  • Scoring Miyazaki (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:07:18) – The wonderful compositions of Joe Hisaishi are explored in this featurette.
  • Original Japanese Theatrical Trailers (1.78:1/1.85:1; 1080p/24; 00:00:53)
  • Behind the Microphone (1.33:1; 720p; 00:05:39) – A peek behind the scenes at the English voice cast.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4.5/5]

My-Neighbor-Totoro-BD_06

Miyazaki’s joyous classic, My Neighbor Totoro is a fascinating journey of youth, family, and imagination that everyone can enjoy. Beautifully animated and scored, the film arrives on Blu-ray with a reference quality transfer that is just a notch below the release available in Japan.

Additional Screen Captures

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My-Neighbor-Totoro-BD_07

My-Neighbor-Totoro-BD_08

My-Neighbor-Totoro-BD_09

My-Neighbor-Totoro-BD_10

My-Neighbor-Totoro-BD_11

My-Neighbor-Totoro-BD_12

My-Neighbor-Totoro-BD_13

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Purchase My Neighbor Totoro  on Blu-ray Combo Pack at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3.5/5]

 

 

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4 COMMENTS

  1. The first screenshot would imply that the English title underneath is hard coded onto the disc but does the film have the original Japanese title and credits on their own?

    • It has obviously been a while since I reviewed this specific title, so I would have to hunt this disc down in my collection to confirm this, but I believe the Ghibli’s have separate artwork specific to Japanese and English audiences for signs and title cards depending on which language you select. The title card captured here is from the Japanese audio track title card. The method used at the time to take the screen captures made it very difficult to distinguish which program on the disc was English vs. Japanese and vice versa. It would have been too lengthy a process to go back and redo the caps just to specifically get the English ones for the purposes of this review especially given that both the quality of the resulting images and the quality on disc is identical. :-)

      • I got the disc and was pleased to find out that English title underneath was only with that soundtrack and the Japanese text was exactly what I wanted. I’ve never seen a blu ray where the picture changes depending on the soundtrack.

        • Glad it was what you wanted. To your final point, many, if not all, of the Studio Ghibli’s will change some of the signs, etc. to English with the accompanying English dub. In fact, if you look at the data content it is not uncommon to see multiple versions on there, probably owing to the seamless-branching and the way certain programs handle viewing that as data. :)

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