Monday, June 2, 2014

Totoro!!

After I admitted in my last art roundup that I'd never seen Totoro, you guys REALLY took me to task. So much so that within just a few hours I found myself buying the DVD set.

Last night I got John to agree to watch it with me. It went something like this:


John, picking up the DVD case: "Wow. I am already so, SO bored."

John, two minutes in: [HUGE SIGH]

John, 15 minutes in: [playing with his phone]

John, 25 minutes in: "Aww."

John, 35 minutes in: [silent, rapt attention]

John, 45 minutes in: "Ok, I admit it. I am completely captivated by this movie."

(Those times are approximate, but the captivating moment was the bit with the seeds, for those of you who know the movie.)

In the end John and I were both blown away and thoroughly smitten with all the characters, so I have to thank you guys for the positive peer pressure. It's a refreshingly gentle story, but with so much unexpected goodness packed in! I will DEFINITELY be watching this again. And again. Yep, today, a new Totoro fangirl has been born! (And judging by John's cooing over Catbus, a new fanboy, too. Ha!)

Oh, and I learned I've been saying "Totoro" wrong all this time. Oops. (It's TO-to-ro, not To-TO-ro.) That's going to take some getting used to!

And because with great fandoms comes great new shopping opportunities...

Totoro Necklace, $16.77 (plus $10 for shipping)





Totoro Cameo, $14.67 (Plus another $11 for shipping)

Not to mention all the Totoro art and jewelry I've already featured in the past! Woot!
(Ok, Jen, STEP AWAY FROM THE ETSY. I repeat, STEP AWAY.)

Thanks again, guys!

66 comments:

  1. Awesome.

    Y'know Hayao Miyazaki has never considered his movies to be proper anime. They were simply the stories he has wanted to tell and a medium he told them in.

    I highly recommend Spirited Away. Please watch it. It soothes. Just listen to the music. It's exciting and calm and beautiful and funny and you would LOVE Chihiro. The Japanese version is slightly better, and only because it had the direct direction from Miyazaki. But the English version was really well done.

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  2. I love Hayao Miyazaki movies. My favourite has to be Spirited Away, followed closely by Ponyo. <3

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  3. I second the recommendations for Spirited Away. Also, I have to ask, did you watch in English, or Japanese with subtitles?

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    1. English. Pretty sure I would have lost John completely with subtitles. ;)

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    2. You know, even as one of those "omg must watch subtitles!" kind of people, I do have to say that Disney has done a really remarkable job with the translations. The originals and more direct translations are still better, but the dubs are high enough quality that it's nothing to scoff at.

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    3. Storm the KlingonJune 3, 2014 at 3:02 AM

      But if you don't watch it in Japanese, you'll miss my very favourite moment; in Japanese, the Soot Sprites are called the Black Soots, and when the sisters yell at them to prove that they're not scared, they scream "BLACK SOOTS! BLACK SOOTS! COME OUT! COME OUT! WE'LL POKE YOUR EYES OUT!" And somehow, when the little one screams "AHHH! STUPID SISTER!", it's just funnier in Japanese.

      I used to have a Japanese roomie, and he watched both versions with me; he said that the English translation was the truest he'd ever heard, but that you do get a little more story and context from the original. (shrug) Your mileage, as they say, may vary.

      You'll never see a yellow schoolbus they same way again, you're ruined for life. ;)

      Cheers,

      Storm

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  4. So you can join the rest of the Totoro fandom, now you can add visiting the Ghibli museum http://www.ghibli-museum.jp/en/welcome/ and seeing the exclusive showing of the short "Mei and the Baby Cat Bus" to your bucket list.

    AnnatheRed put me on that one and though I have never met her, I will probably never forgive her for it either. Here's the post that got me: http://www.annathered.com/2010/11/19/japan-2010-day-03/ I don't know when I'll ever get to go to Japan, but this museum is definitely incentive. (check out her Ghibli posts - they're quite fun)

    Although I adore Spirited Away, I also think you'll enjoy "Castle in the Sky". It's got a bit of a steam vibe to it.

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    1. My husband and I almost went to the Ghibli museum on our college trip to Japan. Our sensei told us it was "mostly for kids" and that we shouldn't go. Now I wish we hadn't listened to her! But we plan on going back someday. ^_^

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  5. I had a dream about Totoro last night! Also, Spirited Away is brilliant. Must watch!

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  6. You can't go wrong with any of his films. My favorite is Howl's Moving Castle

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  7. I think a catbus would be a very comfortable thing to ride! Glad you guys finally watched it. :)

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  8. I literally JUST ordered the blu ray for this because I haven't seen it yet. My hubby loves the studio ghibli so we are slowly building up our collection. I know it must be good because I see fan stuff all the time. I'm hoping we can find some time to watch it this week.

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  9. DON'T buy the Soot Sprites. They are ridiculously easy to make. I've made several (along with a few Totoros). Patterns are readily available on Ravelry.

    If you don't knit or crochet - learn! You'll be so glad you did, I promise.

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  10. I second the above recommendation of Castle in the Sky. I never thought about this factor before, but it's VERY steampunk-y. Not to mention it's got a really interesting plot.

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  11. I've never seen Totoro, but one of my favorite Youtubers posted this video and now I really feel like I need to order it. Spirited Away is one of my favorite movies and it seems like Totoro is right in the same vein.

    ~Esselyn

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  12. The Soot Sprites are also in Spirited Away. Cloud Castle has the strange spider man, if I remember correctly and is also a lovely movie. Howl's Moving Castle is wonderful. Do not, however, watch Grave of the Fireflies. It is powerful, but so terribly sad it will break you. It's a very early piece and it's about Hiroshima. Porco Roso is an ... odd... movie, also early. Princess Mononoke is odd and eerie and has some beautiful bits but the way everything changes so dramatically and then... goes right back to the way it was before everything happened is very peculiar.

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  13. It's good to see you finally getting to this beautiful movie. However, I did want to point out that the film is actually called "My Neighbor Totoro". The films of Miyazaki are very special to my family; my husband's love of Kiki's Delivery Service made me fall in love with him, and My Neighbor Totoro was his first gift to my children.

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    1. Oh yes! I'd forgotten Kiki's Delivery Service! How silly of me. And I'm not sure why I remembered Castle in the Sky as Cloud Castle.

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  14. So glad you got it! Love Miyazaki and second Spirited Away as the next one.

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  15. Although Totoro will always be my favorite, Nausicaa and the Valley of the Wind is a close second. My husband and I have also made the side trip to the Ghibli museum when we visited Tokyo several years ago. I highly recommend it!

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    1. Storm the KlingonJune 3, 2014 at 3:11 AM

      Too right, Erin! I saw "Nausicaa" on the big screen years ago, in a double feature with the classic "Galaxy Express 999"; I went in with no idea what it was about, and came out exhilarated! The word "empowering" is thrown about an awful lot these days, but it's the only one I can think of to properly describe it.

      Fun Fact: The alien race on "Star Trek" called the Nausicaans (the big scary guys with the teeth) are named after "Nausicaa", though why they named such a fearsome race after such a relatively gentle character/story is anyone's guess.

      Cheers,

      Storm

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  16. Haha, I love the timeline. It's so true. I show this to my grade 4 students (at the end of our "Music of Japan" unit) and that's pretty much the reaction every time. (And yes, my school does have legal permission to show the movie, I promise. :) ) My grade 5s are begging me to let them watch it again this year. :)

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  17. Will you watch more Studio Ghibli? (you totally should btw, a lot of them are wonderful films). Definitely check out Castle in the Sky, Howl's Moving Castle (and then read the book because it's awesome), Arrietty, and Ponyo :)

    But I will second the votes to avoid Grave of the Fireflies. It's apparently incredibly sad.

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  18. If you haven't watched Kiki's Delivery Service, watch it next. You will LOVE it. I promise.

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    1. Ooh, yeah, Kiki is a wonderful character. Plus, she has an awesome cat!

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  19. So glad you saw it! Everything you said is spot on. I am such a big fan, my hubby got me an awesome bag for my birthday that I use as a diaper bag. Love bringing Totoro with me everywhere. I can't remember what other Ghibli movies you have seen, but I love so many of them. Howl's Moving Castle is nothing like the book but I find that I like them both individually. Anyway, welcome to the Totoro fan club!

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  20. I love Studio Ghibli - through my Disney Movie Club membership, I've acquired almost all of them, but have yet to watch a few, My Neighbour Totoro is one I haven't watched yet. Thanks to your review, it's going in my DVD player tomorrow. I grew up with Japanese anime style shows that were in constant rotation on the CBC in Canada, so it is slightly nostalgic to watch this style of film.

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  21. Yay!! I'm so excited to hear to watched it! I really hope you'll continue on with more Ghibli and Miyazaki films. I'd highly recommend Spirited Away. It is an absolutely GORGEOUS movie and the story is very empowering to young girls in regards to finding strength within oneself. It's also my personal favorite Miyazaki film. :D

    Howl's Moving Castle is also great. It has a few minor differences from the book (I feel like I remember seeing you do a book review on it at one point? Maybe?), but it also has a lot straight out of the source material so it's fun. I also recommend Ponyo on the Cliff (or just Ponyo usually in the English translations). I know a lot of people don't think it's one of Miyazaki's best films, but I thought it was a very sweet story about young love. Princess Mononoke (going back to your original art post) is a more serious film but still beautiful and worth seeing.

    Re: Grave of the Fireflies- I don't know that I'd avoid it at all costs, but you should definitely go in prepared if you're going to watch it. It is a completely serious film about a teenage boy and his young sister, and their struggle to survive in Japan during WWII. It's beautiful and powerful but not happy. Seriously, I sobbed so hard during the last 30 minutes or so (and about an hour after I finished it) that I lost my voice. So yeah, worth watching...but be prepared to be seriously affected by it. (Also worth noting that GotF is a Studio Ghibli film but not one of Miyazaki's.)

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    2. Yes, I'm not easily stopped by a powerful movie but... Grave of the Fireflies did me in. I just couldn't finish watching it - and I could finish Pan's Labyrinth, which is almost as harrowing. I agree about Ponyo, maybe not his best but certainly worth watching.

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  22. "Howl's Moving Castle" is hands down my favorite Studio Ghibli/Hayao Miyazaki film. & I also recommend the book by Diana Wynne Jones. There are some distinct differences between the 2, but both are fantastic!
    I also highly recommend the following:
    "Spirited Away" (a young girl & her parents get trapped in the spirit world & she strives to free them.)
    "Castle in the Sky" (a young girl & boy team up to find a floating lost city & uncover its secrets. they're aided by air pirates & chased by an evil government agent (voiced by Mark Hamill in the English Dub))
    "Kiki's Delivery Service" (coming of age story about a young witch. got my nieces hooked on this one.)
    "The Cat Returns" (a young girl's journey of self discovery - which is a terribly brief description but avoids spoilers. includes the voice work of Anne Hathaway, Cary Elwes, & Tim Curry in the English dub.)
    "Princess Mononoke" (a beautifully moving historical fantasy about the battle between the spirits of nature & the industrial revolution. English voice actors include Claire Danes, Gillian Anderson, Jada Pinkett Smith, & Billy Bob Thornton)
    & last but most certainly not least "The Secret World of Arrietty" (based on the book "The Borrowers")

    I've also heard wonderful things about "Grave of the Fireflies" (written & directed by Isao Takahata, Miyazaki's co-founder of Studio Ghibli), but have not seen it myself. I've also heard the warning that it is one to watch because of its power & beauty, but you might not watch it again b/c it is *very* sad. It takes place in Japan at the end of WWII & the story is told by the ghosts of 2 children.
    My hubby is also quite fond of "Tales from Earthsea" (directed & partially written by Hayao Miyazaki's son, Gorō).

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    1. Isn't The Cat Returns a sequel to one of the other movies? I can't remember which one though

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    2. It is tied to "Whispers of the Heart." Not exactly a sequel, but they both involve The Baron. :)

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  23. So glad you've joined the Miyazaki fan club :) His movies are just magical!

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  24. Please don't hate me, Spirited Away fans, but I just don't like it! It falls into the "little too weird" category. But I really love My Neighbor Totoro. Jen, you need to see Ponyo if you haven't already!

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    1. Lol, and I personally find the forest guardian Totoros and Catbus of My Neighbor Totoro much weirder than the bathhouse gods of Spirited Away. ^^ Agreed on Ponyo though!

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  25. My 'rule of thumb' for Japanese words is: Try not to emphasize any syllable, but if you can't then emphasize the first one. There are rules, I'm sure, but I don't know them so I go with 'most likely to be correct 95% of the time' approach. For example: sakura; most English speakers would pronounce that as sa-KU-ra. Technically it's no emphasis, but SA-ku-ra can be acceptable.

    Glad you enjoyed the movie! Studio Ghibli made some incredible films.

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    1. Japanese is tricky, but putting the emphasis on the first mora (syllable) of anything that starts with a consonant and the second when it starts with a vowel will usually serve you well. Though as Uldihaa said, what emphasis there is should be subtle. Unlike Spanish, where how hard you hit a vowel can change the whole word, in Japanese how *long* you hold a vowel (or hit a consonant) is what will get you in trouble. The difference between Auntie and Grannie is the difference between obachan and obaachan. That doubled 'a' in the second word is important. It's not said differently, just held longer. By the same token, a doubled consonant (in the romanized transliteration) is almost tripped over.

      On the upside, there are only 2, count 'em, 2!, irregular verbs. Their verbs may occasionally be mouthfuls (and grammatically correct sentences in and of themselves), but they always follow the rules (excepting the 2 oddballs and considering that they are 2 of the most used words -- to do and to say -- you'll take their quirks to heart quickly).

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  26. I haven't watched My Neighbor Totoro yet, but I have seen most of the other popular Hayao Miyazaki films. My favorite is Howl's Moving Castle. Gotta love Calcifer. ^_^

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    1. I love Calcifer!!

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  27. Yay! You have just stepped into the wonderful animated genius of Miyazaki! You should definitely watch the rest of his works. Be careful with Grave of the Fireflies (though not Miyazaki, it is animated by Studio Ghibli) though. It is one of the most powerful anti war movies I have ever seen, and it will make you blubber like a baby, You will not watch it and remain unchanged. I hope you enjoy the rest of Miyazaki's works when you get the chance to see them. :)

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    1. Totally agree, watched it on a friends recommendation and cries ( I never cry at movies)

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  28. Spirited Away, Ponyo, and Totoro get played pretty regularly in my house and EVERYBODY (15 year old, 12 year old, 10 year old and 6 year old, hubby and me) all sit there quietly every time start to finish. Studio Ghibli makes great movies for all ages.

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  29. Yay! So glad you and John liked the movie. I read this post to my husband just now. He asked, "Does John like airplanes?" You see, hubby LOVES airplanes. And his favorite Miyazaki/Studio Ghibli move is one called "Porco Rosso". It's not quite as cute as Totoro (but what is, really) but it's a sweet movie none the less. It's set around WWI and has biplanes and air pirates (with hearts of gold).

    Another recommendation is the PS3 game, Ni No Kuni. Also done by Studio Ghibli. The art and animation are great and the plot is interesting. There's even a bit of steampunk thrown in there.

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  30. Oh, my heart. I've been watching this movie for ten years and I still see new details when I watch it, such as the ramune bottle under the house when Mei stoops down to peer under it.

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  31. My husband and I were just re-enacting the seed growing part for our two-year old daughter this morning. We just planted seeds yesterday. We're going to show her at least that part of the movie tonight so we can all do the seed dance around our garden!

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  32. I recently finished a Totoro themed nursery for my second child (due in July). The soot sprites in this post are adorable. I got the pattern for my aunt and she made a dozen for me to hang up all over the nursery. A little more cost effective than the $10/ea for the premade ones. But they come out looking exactly like the listed pic. There are also some fabulous Totoro wall decals on etsy.

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  33. I named one of the kittens we rescued after the soots! They are so cute for such a simple character. Totoro is one of the few miyazaki movies I have yet to watch, but I have the dvd from Netflix currently waiting for me because I was also gently peer pressured ;)

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  34. Next you have to watch Death Note, Jen!

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  35. Like this one, but Howl's Moving Castle is my favorite. The book is adorable, too, but I rather prefer the movie - for once!

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  36. Huh. I tried replying to a couple of comments above, but it kept doing weird things so I'll just put it down here instead.
    First, YAY!!! You've just experience the gateway drug that is Totoro. Now on to the rest of the collection! I agree with what Erin Schlief said about "Fireflies"- it needs to be watched, but not unless you're in the mood for a good cry. My daughter (who doesn't ever cry in response to movies or tv) sobbed watching it.

    I also join the the folks who say put the Studio Ghibli Museum on your bucket list. It is so beautiful and magical it made me weepy.

    So glad you (FINALLY!) joined the Ghibli nerd brigade. :D

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  37. YEAH! Totoro all the way! My kids have loved it since they were very young and they still absolutely freaking love Totoro. And honestly what is not to love. They are all adults now. :)

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  38. I've always thought the characters were cute, but I've never seen it either! I'll have to get on that train. Good to know!

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  39. We have a stuffed Cat Bus hanging in our truck. Our old diesel suburban was affectionately called the Cat Bus.

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    1. We were lucky enough to snag a CatBus pillow for my oldest son who is in love with Totoro. If you're ever in Disney World, head to the Japan part of Epcot and search in the gift shops for awesome CatBus memoribilia!

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  40. My childhood is Studio Ghibli. My Neighbor Totoro was a great place to start. I highly recommend Castle in the Sky, Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, and Kiki's Delivery Service. (Actually.... just watch them all. All Ghibli films are worth watching.)

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  41. I must admit, I've never seen Totoro either. And I'm a huge anime nerd, I don't know how that one has slipped by! It's on my computer though, so one of these days I'll get around to it. Maybe soon, now that I can add your glowing review to the massive stack of glowing review :)

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  42. I love all the Studio Ghibli movies too, apart from Pom Poko, and would suggest people give that one a miss. As to absolute favorites, well we own them all and watch them often, but I love Castle Cagliostro for if I ever need cheering up, and Porco Rosso if I feel introspective, and Nausicaa and Mononoke if I feel like some heroine action and have my emotional levels up since both can be pretty fraught. Ponyo is sweet and funny. Spirited Away is so quirky. Oh heck, yes just watch them all, except Pom Poko.

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  43. Oh and for anyone into Amigurume ( I kinda got into it at first just because i wanted to crochet a Totoro!) how about this crocheted catbus? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DpqbZDg-KAE

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  44. You have to watch Castle in the Sky! I warn you now you will probably cry for a robot... just sayin.

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  45. Welcome to the Miyazaki fandom! Howl's Moving Castle and Spirited Away are my two all time favorites. Nausica of the Valley of the Wind might appeal to you as well. There lots to enjoy, but pace yourself and savor each film for its own loveliness. :)

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    1. Oh! And Porco Rosso! Such elegance! Gah! Now, I must go rewatch my whole collection. <3

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  46. I have never seen Totoro, either. I know my sister loves it. I should really get around to watching it....

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  47. Totoro is a family favorite at my house and has been my 8 year old's favorite movie since he was 2. My 4 year old loves Ponyo. Each of these movies is easily watched at least once a week with rapt attention in my house. We have just also been able to watch Miyazaki's last ever movie at an Indy film fest "The Wind Rises". I was completely blown away once again by the beauty and amazing detail that was put into the movie. I have not yet seen Nausica or Porco Rosso, though we do own the movies. Guess I should make that a priority. My absolutel favorite movie would have to be Spirited Away followed by Howl's Moving Castle. Princess Mononoke was a little too much for my tastes, but as a Miyazaki fan, you know it is in our collection. From Up On Poppy Hill was really good too!

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  48. That is oddly timely. I don't read my blogs daily so I hadn't seen this yet! But I just posted a link to my daughter's Totoro party on your FB page. Isn't Totoro darling? There is something completely sweet and endearing about the moving. Miyazaki is definitely a gentle spirit.

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