Like the rest of the Miyazaki anime we have started to collect -- we have Spirited Away, Nausicaa, Princess Mononoke for starters -- Totoro has a magical, loopy and endearing story quality that just fascinates us. Totoro is one of his earlier films, so for me it is like him cutting his teeth on the style of story he tells. I love it.
I have fond memories of my sisters and I watching it together for the very first time many years ago. I can remember us sitting in front of the TV in the living room; I think we had rented it from the video store back then. I remember being fascinated by the quality of the animation, and feeling like I was peeking into the Beauty of Life from the Japanese point of view.
So Chris and I watched the subtitled version first. I think there really is no replacing the original actors' voices when you watch a foreign film. I love reading subtitles and hearing the voices. The inflections add so much to the mood of the piece.
But on the other hand, we watched it a second time in English. The two little sisters in the movie were dubbed by Dakota Fanning and her little sister, Elle. I was so impressed with the two little girls' dub work. After having watched it in Japanese, I find they did an exceptional job. I also felt they caught the spirit of the story in a lovely way. They were JUST adorable!
If we ever travel, I would so love to visit Japan and visit Miyazaki's Studio Ghibli ...