After writing and filming Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984) and Castle in the Sky (1986), Hayao Miyazaki began directing My Neighbor Totoro for Studio Ghibli. Miyazaki's production paralleled his colleague Isao Takahata's production of Grave of the Fireflies. Miyazaki's film was financed by executive producer Yasuyoshi Tokuma, and both My Neighbor Totoro and Grave of the Fireflies were released on the same bill in 1988. The dual billing was considered "one of the most moving and remarkable double bills ever offered to a cinema audience".
In 1993, Tokuma Japan Communications' US subsidiary released the first English-language version of My Neighbor Totoro, with the title My Friend Totoro. However, because of his disappointment with the result of the heavily edited English version of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Miyazaki would not permit any part of the movie to be edited out, all the names had to be remain the same (with the exception being Catbus), the translation had to be as close to the original Japanese as possible, and no part of the movie could be changed for any reason, cultural or linguistic (which was very common back then) despite creating problems with some English viewers, particularly in explaining the origin of the name "Totoro". It was produced by John Daly and Derek Gibson, with co-producer Jerry Beck, and was available on VHS and laserdisc. This was the only United States home video release of the film from Tokuma (20th Century Fox would release all upcoming English-language releases of the film until Fox and Troma's rights to the film expired in 2004). Disney's English-language version premiered on October 23, 2005; it then appeared at the 2005 Hollywood Film Festival. The Turner Classic Movies cable television network held the television premiere of Disney's new English dub on January 19, 2006, as part of the network's salute to Hayao Miyazaki. (TCM aired the dub as well as the original Japanese with English subtitles.) The Disney version was initially released on DVD on March 7, 2006, but is now out of print. A reissue of Totoro, Castle in the Sky, and Kiki's Delivery Service featuring updated cover art highlighting its Studio Ghibli origins was released on March 2, 2010, coinciding with the US DVD and Blu-ray debut of Ponyo.
As is the case with Disney's other English dubs of Miyazaki films, the Disney version of Totoro features a star-heavy cast, including Dakota and Elle Fanning as Satsuki and Mei, Timothy Daly as Mr. Kusakabe, Pat Carroll as Granny, Lea Salonga as Mrs. Kusakabe, and Frank Welker as Totoro and Catbus. The songs for the new dub retained the same translation as the previous dub, but were sung by Sonya Isaacs.
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