On Tuesday, Disney is finally releasing their 2-disc set of "My Neighbor Totoro" here in the United States.
Sounds like they've done the release justice.
"Totoro" was the first film my Hayao Miyazaki that I was ever exposed to. While I'd seen Americanized anime before ("Battle of the Planets," "Robotech," etc.), this was my first "pure" anime.
My father picked up the original Fox release on VHS, brought it home, and had the family watch it. Even at the jaded age of 14, this movie left me with a lump in my throat and a positive feeling in my heart that it hard to describe.
I still find it hard to imagine this movie as a double-header with "Grave of the Fireflies," a movie which is almost suicidally depressing to watch. However, the two combined really show the range and power of Studio Ghibli. I find it a bit odd that "Grave of the Fireflies" wasn't included in the Disney licensing pact. While I'm the first to admit that it's a movie that I would be shocked to death to see under the Disney label, I don't think that it's a movie that should be held back from American eyes. Fortunately, "Grave" has been licensed for release in the United States and has a spectacular dub.
It's odd. I own "Totoro" and watch the Fox dub about three times a year with my wife. I own "Grave" and have only watched it once with my wife. As strong as I may think I am, I still question myself every time I pick that DVD up. In an earlier post, I said that when I play video games, I prefer to play as a female avatar because I'm more protective of them. Well, I'm even more protective of children...and to see what happens to the children in "Grave" just makes you feel so helpless...
Anyway, pick up "Totoro." If you are intrigued by what I've said about "Grave," pick it up first, but don't watch it alone, and be sure to have "Totoro" ready to pop into the DVD player. "Grave" may sink your soul down to the deepest depths, but "Totoro" will lift it up again.