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YMMV / My Neighbor Totoro

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  • Ensemble Dark Horse: With all of the fanart and merchandise, you'd think that Catbus was a main character rather than one who only appears in a couple of key scenes. He even got his own short film made exclusively for the Ghibli Museum in Japan.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff:
    • The film is very popular in the United States thanks to FOX distributing the VHS tape in the United States and Roger Ebert giving it a glowing review. The film is so huge there that it's been referenced in everything from The Powerpuff Girls to Toy Story 3.
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    • 80% of the film's worldwide gross comes from the December 2018 release in mainland China, despite the film having several Direct to Video releases beforehand. Merchandise of Totoro can be found just about anywhere in that country as well, with a good majority of it being unlicensed.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • The visual of Satsuki with Mei on her back waiting at the bus stop with Totoro is one of the most popular and oft-parodied scenes in all of animated film.
    • Miyazaki's Syndrome, which first appeared in this movie: during the scene where Mei first encounters the sleeping Totoro, she plays with it and eventually falls asleep on its belly with no 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."
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  • Moe: Both Mei and Satsuki.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The Catbus. That smile and the glowing eyes...its hollow body. Good lord, how is that thing not terrifying?!
  • Poison Oak Epileptic Trees: The notorious "Death God Totoro" fan theory that Mei actually drowned in the pool and Satsuki lied about the sandal not being hers out of denial, meaning that Mei (and according to extreme versions Satsuki and their mother as well) are ghosts in the final scenes and end credits. This got enough traction that Ghibli specifically denied it, stating that the girls' lack of visible shadows in the final shot (which had been used to justify it) was an artistic choice and not meant to be meaningful.
  • Retroactive Recognition: In the Streamline dub, Cheryl Chase, who would later play Angelica, voices Mei.
  • Signature Scene: The scene where Satsuki, Mei, and Totoro are waiting at the bus stop.
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  • Subbing vs. Dubbing: 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. Of course, plenty of people just Take a Third Option and come to the conclusion that all three versions are good on their own merits.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Many fans' reaction to the Disney dub, even though critics greeted it with favorable reviews. Also doubles as Critical Dissonance. That said, some fans have argued that both dubs have their merits and that either is an acceptable way to view the film.

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