TV and Movies
My Neighbor Totoro and Howl’s Moving Castle: Blu-ray At Last! PLUS! GHIBLI GIVEAWAY PACK!

Totoro prize pack

Today is a very good day for fans of Studio Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki. At long last, the magnificent masterpiece My Neighbor Totoro, and the marvelous Howl’s Moving Castle, are available on Blu-ray! And as part of the celebration, GeekMom has a fantastic giveaway pack for 2 lucky readers!

But first, let’s discuss Totoro. Released in 1988, this edition marks the 25th anniversary of the film. Let’s all pause for a second while I cry violently over my keyboard, hitch sobbing, “Where did the time go?”

If you’ve been a fan of the film from the start, then you probably remember the first English dub – where, sadly, the main character Satsuki was unfortunately and cringingly pronounced “sat-SOO-ki.” (Proper pronunciation is “SOT-ski.”) The film was re-dubbed in 2005 by Disney, with real-life sisters Dakota and Elle Fanning playing the lead characters Satsuki and Mei. Around these parts, we prefer this re-recording. I was so glad when the film was re-dubbed, but that’s just me. I know many families with children who grew up watching that original run-and-gun dub session, and are absolutely devoted to it.

For me, well… I used to be the writer for a show called Ninja Warrior, otherwise known as Sasuke. So I’m a little touchy about Japanese pronunciation. It makes me crazy when people say “sah-SOO-kay” instead of “SAH-skay.” This anniversary edition of Totoro contains the 2005 re-dub.


Whenever other parents ask me what movies I recommend for a child’s first feature film experience– Totoro tops my list. Totoro was Vivienne’s first film in a movie theater, and last year I spoke with about the importance of Ghibli in my home life. I’m always surprised to discover that despite knowing the Academy Award winner Spirited Away, many people still have no experience with the many other Studio Ghibli films, much less the wonderful, magical Totoro. It’s always a pleasure to introduce someone to the catalog.

Totoro isn’t just a great movie – it can provide you with such an enchanted jumping off point for play-acting with a toddler. You’ll totally see the world in a different manner. Any acorn could have been dropped by a Totoro, any huge looming tree could contain a door to where the spirits of the forest live, and any strong wind might be a catbus flying over your head. A friend of mine recently sent us some lavender seeds in a tiny planting kit that happened to grow quite fast! One foggy morning we checked the pot to find tiny sprouts peeking up out of the dirt, and my daughter exclaimed, “Totoro was here!!! Totoro was here!!”

Totoro at The Ghibli Museum, Mitaka        Photo: Kristen Rutherford

Totoro at Ghibli Museum, Mitaka Photo: Kristen Rutherford

Also available on blu-ray this week is Howl’s Moving Castle. This came on the heels of Spirited Away, and was nominated for an Academy Award.

I have a personal connection to this film – I have a small, cough-and-you’ll-miss-me role in the film. I was lovingly referred to as “Girl C” in the script, and play the girl in blue working at the hat shop in the beginning of the film. You can hear me clearly as the movie starts – I’m the low, raspy voice talking about Howl ripping out a young girl’s heart. As a Miyazaki fan, I about died when I was cast in this film and became part of the Ghibli family. And in case that wasn’t enough, the day I recorded at Disney, the incomparable Jean Simmons came in for her session right afterwards. I was introduced to her, we had a lovely chat, and then I was allowed to stay and watch her perform.


I would officially recommend this film for children who are five or six, but frankly, Vivi has been watching it since she was a little over two, and I have a friend who’s son has been obsessed with this movie since he was very little. You know your child best of all, so as with any film, I would watch it first to see if they would dig it or be freaked out by chickenfooted castles that walk, or obese witches of the waste, and gauge it from there. I love strong Sophie who isn’t afraid to tell people what she thinks, and how she presents a brave face to every challenge thrown her way.

To see these films in HD is a Ghibli fan’s dream. And I’m so excited that GeekMom gets to giveaway not one but TWO packets containing:
• 1 Blu-ray Combo Pack of My Neighbor Totoro
• 1 Blu-ray Combo Pack of Howl’s Moving Castle
• 1 My Neighbor Totoro 7″ Plush
• 1 Paperback Copy of Studio Ghibli: The Films of Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata
• 1 Hardcover Copy of The Art of My Neighbor Totoro: A Film by Hayao Miyazaki
• 1 $20 VISA Gift Card for Movie Snacks

To be eligible for the giveaway, all you have to do is leave a comment below. Tell us who your favorite Ghibli character is! Or tell us if you’re new to the films. Remember to submit and double-check your email address, since that’s how we’ll let you know if you’ve won! The winner will be randomly chosen from all of the entries. The contest is open to U.S. residents from now through Friday, May 24th, and the winner must respond within 48 hours of prize notification or will have to forfeit! Good luck!

Kristen Rutherford

Kristen Rutherford is the Head Writer/Creative Producer of The Nerdist show on BBCA and the host of #parent on the Geek & Sundry YouTube channel. She loves Tokyo, The Legend of Zelda, the Oz books, and hates talking about herself in the 3rd person, so she is ending this madness here.

  1. It’s really hard to tell you my favorite Ghibli character since they are all so great. The main characters are real, not perfect, and easy to relate to. My favorites among wonderful characters is probably Haru in Cat Returns. I can’t even tell you why other than my daughter loves that movie and I have wonderful memories watching Haru turn into a cat!

  2. I’m in Canada, so I can’t officially enter. That said, I want to state that Kiki is definitely my favourite Ghibli character. I think she exemplifies a lot of the traits and attitudes I hope to help my children develop.

  3. Jacquie Christen

    We love Chihiro from Spirited Away (favorite movie to watch on a rainy day). It’s a fun movie to watch, but I especially love how she discovers her own competence and strength.

  4. Flatlander In Vermont

    Oh I hope to be as cool a mom as Sosuke’s mom is in Ponyo. I love that she never discredits what he says even when he is having wild encounters with a little girl who’s really a fish.

  5. Meghan Vidal

    I am a HUGE fan of Ghibli, and I have a strong feeling that From Up On Poppy Hill will become one of my favorites, but I have to say my favorite character is probably the Radish Spirit in Spirited Away. I actually use the Howls Moving Castle theme song to fall asleep…there is something so comforting about it.

  6. Ducky in VA

    Hallie’s favorite is Arrietty because she’s adventurous and curious. Although we both agree that Calcipher is a close second–he’s funny and we like his attitude. Do we increase our chances of winning if we say that we also really like Girl C? ;)

  7. I’m actually new to these films. I’ve heard so much about them and can’t wait to see them! Good luck to everyone!

  8. Since these are the only 2 Ghibli films I’ve ever seen, I’ll have to choose Sophie as my favorite character. She was my favorite character in the book that Howl is based on, and I think she was translated to film quite well.

    • Oh yes! I ended up being bitterly disappointed with how Howl was portrayed in the movie, which soured my overall attitude, but SOPHIE they DID do right, which had been super important to me because she is one of my favorite fictional characters of all time. She’s my #3 Fictional Girl-crush, actually.

      By the way, this isn’t a comment to enter, mostly because my bitterness about movie!Howl would make me unable to enjoy winning it… there’s also the little problem of my not having a Blu-ray player…. I just wanted to chime in when I read this comment, because I adore Sophie so much.

  9. I totally love Totoro! I have written a song about Totoro. I have painted Totoro. I have knit over 20 chibi totoros. My children are in love with Totoro. I have an obsession with Miyazaki. :D

    And sadly, I can’t win this because I’m Canadian, but I will promote this for all to experience the awesome. :D

  10. I love all the films. My family and I have watched them endlessly. Though for me, Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke are my favorites.

  11. Adriana

    It’s hard to pick one, but at the moment, it is Mei from Totoro, because of the wild wonder and excitement in my son’s eyes every time she appears on the screen. He follows me around the house calling me Satsuki and calling for me to “waaaait” so he can “catch up!” He even happily chomps into cucumbers and corn because of her. I can’t wait to see this film on Blu-Ray.

  12. I would have to say No-Face from Spirited Away. Then again I haven’t seen a Ghibli character yet that I haven’t liked. :)

  13. Michelle Fraser-Page

    In our household, it’s Kiki, but Totoro runs a very close second. Love, love, Totoro!

  14. Zack

    Oh man, I remember my first time watching a Studio Ghibli movie. I think I absolutely fell in love on the spot. Chihiro is definitely my favorite character, watching Spirited Away as my first Ghibli movie has nothing to do it with either. Being able to survive after being thrown into a new world? Now that is pretty awesome of Chihiro indeed.

  15. Margaret Sheeley

    My personal favorite is Howl’s Moving Castle. I love Sophie, especially old-lady Sophie, and Markl. But, I’m excited to have my son watch Totoro – I can’t wait for him to be old enough (he just turned one). Also, I love Castle of Cagliostro because it introduced me to Lupin the 3rd. Love love love.

  16. Crispi

    Ohh.. tough question…

    I’ve watched as many of the films from Studio Ghibli as I could get my hands on, and I guess Totoro will still always be my favorite because of its magical charm. And in that film, Mei steals the show. It might be time to show it to my 4 year old boy again…

  17. Scott Svetly

    It’s always funny to talk to people who “learn” Japanese words and phrases by memorizing the japanese words spoken at the same time as the subtitles. I try to gently explain that while the translation is close, the way a sentence is said in Japanese is BACKWARDS to what you are used to. Example:”Today is Sunny” is said as: “Sunny is This Day” in Japanese.

  18. Zap Riecken

    While the kids do enjoy Totoro, Catbus seems to get them WAY more excited. :)

  19. Amanda

    We love Kiki here! But honestly it’s hard to choose just one. Love them all!

  20. Spirited Away was my first intro to Studio Ghibli so I’d have to say Chihiro Ogino. But I’ve a deep love and appreciation for all of them and the fantastic animation.

  21. So, so hard to pick a favorite. I have to go with Howl. I think they did a great job with him, did his character justice. But I’ve always wanted to do one of those run-and-dive hugs on Totoro!

  22. I can only pick one? OK, I will pick Nausicaa. I love the amazing depths of her compassion, and her strength in the face of adversity. And, I want her glider.

  23. Rosemary Coley

    I LOVE Ghibli! I’ve collected all the movies since Spirited Away and even saw Tales of Earthsea when I lived in Japan. My favorite movie is Princess Mononoke, but my favorite character is Baron Humbert von Giggingen (aka. The Baron from Whisper of the Heart and The Cat Returns)

  24. nichole

    We are huge studio Ghibli fans, but Totoro is our favorite!

  25. Tiffany

    I love Nausicaa, love her strength, compassion and courage. The husband and the son both like Totoro.

  26. Erik

    I adore the character of No-Face from Spirited Away. He reminds me of my son – not always seeking attention in the correct ways, but ultimately has good intentions ;-) And I love where the character ends up as the story comes to a close.

  27. Benjamina

    I love Sophie. My #1 son loves Satsuki. My #2 son loves Totoro and my #3 son loves Catbus.

  28. Henriette L.

    Totoro, because of the parody from Bob’s Burgers

  29. I’m new to these films but would love to see them and introduce them to my two sons (aka my geeks-in-training).

  30. Jenny

    I’m fairly new to the films, but I’ve seen a few scenes here and there. Ponyo was a very cute movie!

  31. My favorite character overall has to be Gigi the cat from Kiki’s delivery service. I am a Studio Ghibli nut, but all my copies of the movies are imports with subtitles…..I’ve been waiting for this day to buy the blue rays for my boys….thanks for the giveaway! Oh, did I add Pick me, Pick me?? I should have!

  32. Sarah S.

    Never seen a Miyazaki film but have a new friend who LOVES Totoro. Would love to win this as a way to introduce studio Ghibli to my family.

  33. Heather

    We adore Totoro, in our home. We love all things Ghibli :)

  34. Irene

    I love Kiki’s Delivery Service so Kiki is my favorite.

  35. Lianne

    My favorite character has to be Ponyo!!! I love her!!!

    I am having a little boy in September and I can’t wait to show him these movies! I really enjoyed them as a child and I’m sure he will too!

  36. Adam

    Totoro is the bomb and Ponyo is also a hit with my daughter!

  37. Jesse A.

    I love Kiki’s Delivery Service, great film about growing up and becoming self-reliant. I also always have a soft sport for Nausicaa, since that was my first Miyazaki film I watched and got me hooked.

  38. Melissa Rensch

    I’d have to say my daughter loves Sophie and Ponyo. She’s only seen Totoro once a few years ago, so she might just have a new favorite. Howl’s Moving Castle is only one of a few frequent repeat requests from my daughter, who just turned 6. We’re raising our geekling right.

  39. Rebecca

    I loved Totoro as a child and I’m thrilled that my daughter likes it now!

  40. Jen Traeger

    Spirited Away is my wonderfully weird favorite. But then, I haven’t seen Totoro yet! :)

  41. Angelica DeMent

    Totoro! my little man loves Totoro too :) he even has his little own Totoro costume!

  42. Blake

    My favorite character (from my fave Ghibli film!) is Chihiro from Spirited Away.

  43. Justin Pressnall

    My introduction to the studio was with Princess Mononoke, so I have a soft spot for the characters in that movie, but I love Chihiro from Spirited Away.

  44. Cynthia

    Sasuki is my favorite Miyazaki character. I admire her bravery and positive attitude in the face of adversity.

  45. Jessie Harman

    My soon to be four year old is growing up on Ghibli!! I don’t know if I can pick a favorite, but I do so love Calcifer from ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’!!

  46. stacey

    Ponyo was our family’s first introduction into the studio’s movies and still a big favorite with totoro a close second. I love the mom in Ponyo she is so loving, strong, and laid back. I wish I could be a bit more like her. My girls run around the house singing the theme songs to Totoro and Ponyo all the time.

  47. Linda P

    My favorite from all the Studio Ghibli characters is Howl. Hands down. My fictional character crush :)

  48. Delilah

    My favorite is Calcifer, the witty and snarky fire demon. However my husband’s favorite is Princess Mononoke-hime and will tear thinking about the movie specifically all the things Mononoke-hime has to over come.

  49. Samantha Fisher

    I was always rather smitten with the dog in Howl’s Moving Castle. I knew there was something up with that pup from the moment it entered the scene!

  50. dawn

    I love Gigi most of all but Ponyo and Howl are a close second and third.

  51. I love Totoro. It’s the theme of my son’s nursery and our master bathroom! When we went to the Ghibli museum in 2010 I was able to give them some of my sculpture in tribute to my favorite Miyazaki films.

  52. Kiki’s Delivery Service shot to number 1 when my daughter came running to me during her first viewing and said “MOM! Girls can save the day too!”

  53. My favorite character is Nausicaa. She’s just so darn cool and loyal and courageous. But my favorite Ghibli movie is Castle In The Sky. :)


  54. Sarah

    I have only seen a couple of Ghibli films but so far my favorite character is Princess Mononoke!

  55. Donna L.

    Our family has just discovered studio Ghibli this year. So far we absolutely love totoro, Kiki, and ponyo.

  56. Ryan

    My favorite character has to be Mei from My Neighbor Totoro. “Creepy!”

  57. Donna

    It’s really hard to pick a favorite character from all the movies we’ve seen. My kids have a favorite character in each movie. May from Totoro, Jiji from Kiki, Calicifer from Howl’s, and Ponyo’s Mom from Ponyo (her driving cracks them up!)

  58. Lisa Quimby

    There are so many wonderful characters that it’s hard to pick just one, but one of my favorites is Dola from Castle in the Sky.

  59. I’m new to these, but excited to give them a try! Hubby and I are always looking for good new geeky entertainment for our toddler!

  60. Jennifer May

    Ponyo was our first Ghibli movie so that remains the one near and dear to my heart.

  61. Cristina Gonzalez

    I love Ponyo because The Little Mermaid is my favorite fairy tale.

  62. Cynthia

    I’d have to say “No Face” from Spirited Away. He’s a prime example of the complicated gray-area character that Miyazaki is so expert in creating – a conflicted, flawed, vulnerable, yet far from “bad,” and a wholly identifiable character that so many American children’s media seem to be unable to portray. I’m currently expecting my first and I can’t wait to show her Miyazaki’s films – so many positive and nuanced girl and women characters and heroines!

  63. Heather

    My youngest loves her Ponyo. So much that she has me hold her over my head and give her “Ponyo Kisses”. My older daughter loves Sophie. As someone who works with Seniors, I absolutely adore how Miyazaki portrays elders in his films.

  64. Favorite? Favorite character? How can I pick one??? I love Sophie from Howl’s (but also Calcifer), and Jiji from Kiki’s, and my kids adore Mei from Totoro.

  65. Patricia Lupien

    This may sound creepy, but I live how scary NoFace is.

  66. I dont know anything about the films, but would love to experience new things (other than Disney princess) for my girls. Thanks!

  67. Lori Reed

    Oh man, I don’t know if I could pick just one favorite. I will say that my love for Totoro has been reawakened since I just watched it again the other day. The sisters remind me so much of my son, wild and free spirited but sensitive and sweet at the same time. He is 5 and I think he is ready for these amazing movies, finally! :)

  68. AllyKatt

    I have always been a Totoro fan! For my birthday this year, I got myself a “Hello Neighbor” crossover shirt and some Totoro earrings to match it at a convention!

  69. JRose48

    I love Studio Ghibli films! I would say my favorite character is Sophie from Howl’s Moving Castle (followed by Calcifer). A long long time ago the then Sci Fi Channel would play Anime on the weekends and I would clean my room while I watched all of it. Now I have two children and I frequently show them Ghibli films. My now seven year old son and I saw the Ponyo dub in the theaters and bought the DVD as soon as it came out.

  70. For us, it’s Totoro! We’re all big fans of Totoro in the Oliver home! Thanks for the chance. :)

  71. Melissa G

    I caught Kiki’s Delivery Service as a repeat on TV when I was a kid – never knew it was Miyazaki until I ‘discovered’ Ghibli films in college. Still remember it vividly, so she really stuck with me! Love them all! Maybe Nausicaa as my favorite, and Sophie second, but Spirited Away was my first introduction, and the first that I introduce others to every time, so Chihiro is close.

  72. Liz A

    We love the Catbus! And, omg, just found out that there’s a Kittenbus, in a short film only on view at the Ghibli Museum. Did you get to see it?

  73. David Hollingsworth

    I’m new to Studio Ghibli, but I would love to see “Grave of the Fireflies”.

  74. Oh I would love to win one of these packs. My daughter is turning two this weekend, and this post reminded me that I really wanted to show her Totoro. I think now is the perfect time. Thanks!

  75. Kevin

    Nausicaa – my introduction into the world of Studio Ghibli and still one of my favorites.

  76. Fabia

    I grew up watching Totoro (the first English-dub) and I am obsessed with that movie till this day. My son on the other hand loves Ponyo, he has watched that movie over 15x.

  77. eurydc

    Love love LOVE Totoro! I have a stuffed Catbus on the shelf in my office, in fact!

  78. Stacy H

    I’m a fan of Kiki, I’ve always been partial to magic and she just catches my attention with that hello kittyesque red bow

  79. Ryan

    Our family’s favorite is definitely Ponyo. But now that we’ve got a big sister/little sister situation, I think Totoro will probably surpass!

  80. eugaet

    I love Studio Ghibli! My current fave character is Chihiro!


    My son loves Ponyo (we love her chicken feet!); my daughter loves Castle in the Sky and Spirited Away; I love Princess Mononoke but don’t think the mini’s are quite ready for it.

  82. I can’t choose a favorite! Totoro, Ponyo, and Kiki would be the top three for me, though I love all the characters!

  83. Werna-marie Naude

    we all have our favorites. my daughter loves Kiki and on her 4th birthday insisted on a Kiki haircut and a red bow. my litttle son of 2 loves Totoro and giggles everytime when Totoro cringes up when the raindrops fall on the umbrella. i get teased that i drive as crazy as Sosuke’s mom… but i just think my family is jelous of my superior driving skills lol

  84. Roxanne Smalz

    I love characters like Ashitaka, and I’m very fond of Howl. My 3 year old son loves Ponyo and Kiki!

  85. Laura R.

    I’ve been meaning to watch the classic Ghibli movies. I really want to, but no one wants to share their copies. This would be perfect for me!

  86. Kristin J.

    My daughter answered, “Ponyo!” right away when I asked her. I, personally, love Totoro!

  87. Amanda

    I love Miyazaki movies and although we don’t have them all we have a good collection started. I’m glad I’ve gotten to share them with my girls… So this is tricky trying to pick a favorite character. But I can’t help loving Calcifer.

  88. My kids and I love the soot sprites. No idea why, but we cheer whenever they come onscreen. I was able to find some soot sprites keychains recently, so apparently we aren’t the only fans out there. Thanks for doing this contest!

  89. Malia K.

    Catbus! No, really, it’s Ponyo, but how do you not love the catbus? Ponyo is amazing, though. So open and wonderful. My daughter eats ham because of her.

  90. ruth young

    My favorite is Princess Mononoke, the wolf girl who is powerful without anyone else’s help for the most part, and she defends her family.

  91. Shane Gladney

    Totoror is the core and it all flows from there for my family.

  92. I love Ashitaka from Princess Mononoke! He’s so compassionate and he’s always willing to risk his life for the ones he cares about. He is truly a selfless character. He’s not a perfect human, but none of the Ghibli characters are. That’s one aspect that make their movies stand out from the others. He has personal and selfish issues, but eventually learns to put them aside to do what’s right. He’s not good or evil, he’s both. And that’s what makes him so great. The movie Princess Mononoke itself can be described this way. It’s an amazing achievement in filmmaking and in my top five films of all time. I’ve known about Ghibli for around three years now and my life has been much better because of their films.

  93. Terri

    I love Calcifer from Howl’s Moving Castle. This would be an amazing collection to win!

  94. Brit

    Totoro, Toooo-tooooo-ro. ^.^ I love the soot balls. And Howl’s Moving Castle is the bomb-diggity.

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