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YMMV: My Neighbor Totoro
  • Broken Base: There's no real unanimous agreement over which is the best way to see the film: with the Japanese version, the Troma/Fox/Streamline dub, or the Disney English dub? As with most hotly debated dubs, you'll have to decide for yourself.
  • Ear Worm: The ending theme may not immediately be ear-wormy, but it can take time to grow roots.
    • Whether you like it or not, it can easily get stuck in your head.
  • Epileptic Trees: There is a certain theory about this movie floating around on the Internet that will change your perception of the movie forever. (It has since been Jossed by Studio Ghibli, although some think Miyazaki may be lying because family video sales are huge and the twist renders this film slightly family-unfriendly.) If you don't mind potentially tarnishing your happy memories of the film, go here. (DEAD LINK)You've been warned.
    • Reading the comments that debunk said theory make everything ten times better. Really.
    • And some of the theory's points are easily proven rubbish by just watching the movie carefully.
    • And even assuming the theory is what? Things could be worse than a bright, loving afterlife stewarded by friendly, gentle guardians.
    • One response to that theory is that, if it's true, then the film may be Miyazaki's way of giving those poor girls the happily ever after they deserved.
  • Magnum Opus: Possibly one for Miyazaki. But he has enough great movies that the subject divides his fans.
  • Memetic Mutation: The visual of Satsuki with Mei on her back waiting at the bus stop with Totoro is often redone with characters from other series by fan artists.
    • Miyazaki's Syndrome, which first appeared in this movie—during the scene Mei plays with the sleeping Totoro rather than displaying the slightest bit of fear or even hesitation. That Dude in the Suede describes it as "all children losing every sense of self-preservation and only experiencing childlike wonder and amazement."
  • Moe: Both Mei and Satsuki.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Elle Fanning voiced Mei in the Disney dub, along with her sister as Satsuki. A few years later, she would go on to play Aurora in 2014's Maleficent (though she also had other roles between that film and My Neighbor Totoro).
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks: Many fans' reaction to the Disney dub.
    • Or Nostalgia Filter. If you watched the Troma/Streamline/Fox dub as a child, the Disney dub can feel a bit jarring. Of course, viewers who have seen the Disney dub of Totoro first and the Troma/Streamline/Fox dub later could very well have the same reaction!
    • Could also count as a case of Bias Steamroller, as many of these naysayers were prepared to write off the Disney version no matter what, simply because of the Fanning Sisters. Many fans of the FOX dub have unfairly excoriated their performances, declaring them as "butchery." In truth, however, most professional reviewers have been quite complementary of the Fannings.
  • Values Dissonance: You will not believe how some people jump to the conclusion in the scene where the father and his daughters are bathing together that it must be pedophilia when that situation is considered perfectly normal and wholesome family time in Japan and many other countries. Including some parts of the US, actually (although usually when the children are very young, i.e, not Satsuki's age).
    • Even worse, the end credits feature a scene where the girls do the same thing with their mother. Nobody seems to have complained about this.
    • On a more positive tack, the sequence of where Mei gets lost attempting to deliver an ear of corn to her mother includes her sitting by some statues. In Japan, those particular kind of statues have some spiritual significance of gods who are protectors of children, so the director was trying to convey to the audience that Mei is in no immediate danger while her sister and King Totoro come for her in the Cat Bus.
    • There is a scene in the middle of the movie where Mei and Satsuki are helping clean tatami mats. It's an unremarkable scene for anyone from Japan (or anyone with a knowledge of Japanese culture) but viewers from other regions were often left confused as to what the two girls were doing.
    • When the film was first translated to English, Studio Ghibli negotiated full editorial rights (after a Macekre of Nausicaš of the Valley of the Wind) over the translated versions and indicated that the film was to be faithfully translated and shown with no censorship, alterations, or script changes. The translators nonetheless requested the removal of the Furo Scene and the tatami-cleaning scene, citing Values Dissonance as their reason. Ghibli's response was to send them a katana with a note attached saying "No cuts!"

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