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My Neighbor Totoro [VHS]

My Neighbor Totoro [VHS] Lowest new price: $49.91
Lowest used price: $22.97
List price: $9.98

My Neighbor Totoro is that rare delight, a family film that appeals to children and adults alike. While their mother is in the hospital, 10-year-old Satsuki and 4-year-old Mei move into an old-fashioned house in the country with their professor father. At the foot of an enormous camphor tree, Mei discovers the nest of King Totoro, a giant forest spirit who resembles an enormous bunny rabbit. Mei and Satsuki learn that Totoro makes the trees grow, and when he flies over the countryside or roars in his thunderous voice, the winds blow. Totoro becomes the protector of the two sisters, watching over them when they wait for their father, and carrying them over the forests on an enchanted journey. When the children worry about their mother, Totoro sends them to visit her via a Catbus, a magical, multilegged creature with a grin the Cheshire Cat might envy.

Unlike many cartoon children, Satsuki and Mei are neither smart-alecky nor cloyingly saccharine. They are credible kids: bright, energetic, silly, helpful, and occasionally impatient. Filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki makes the viewer believe the two sisters love each other in a way no American feature has ever achieved. My Neighbor Totoro is enormously popular in Japan, and some of the character merchandise has begun to appear in America. The film has also inspired a Japanese environmental group to buy a Totoro Forest preserve in the Saitama Prefecture, where Miyazaki's film is set. --Charles Solomon

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Dragon Ball - Fortune Teller Baba - Five Warriors (Uncut) [VHS]

Dragon Ball - Fortune Teller Baba - Five Warriors (Uncut) [VHS] Lowest new price: $14.95
Lowest used price: $14.35
List price: $4.98

Dragon Ball - Fortune Teller Baba - Five Warriors (Uncut) [VHS]

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Pokémon: The First Movie [VHS]

Pokémon: The First Movie [VHS] Lowest new price: $7.25
Lowest used price: $1.35
List price: $10.99
Brand: Warner Bros. Kids

This is the first movie of Pokemon and also includes the first battle between Mewtwo and Mew!

The world domination of Pokémon begets their first theatrical movie. This adventure is a little more complex and dark than the popular TV series, but kids who live for the show will gobble up this film and ask for seconds. Those baffled by the show's popularity, however, will see nothing better here. Mewtwo, a new type of Pokémon designed by scientists to be the ultimate fighter, decides he wants to rule the world and challenges all the great Pokémasters to battle. Of course, our intrepid heroes Ash, Misty, and Brock are there to tangle with Mewtwo and spoil his devilish schemes. The film is a tad more emotional than the show (that is, there is some emotion), with Ash sacrificing himself to defend his beloved Pikachu (but don't you worry, Ash will be just fine).

Would you really expect the makers of this worldwide phenomenon to radically change its winning formula? The feature is only 55 minutes long, but there's also a 20-minute short, "Pikachu's Vacation." For the Pokémon novice, this escapade will truly baffle: the narrated tale has virtually no dialogue except Pokémon speaking their names (Bulbasaur, for instance, will only express emotion by using variations of his name: "Bulba, Bulba-SAUR!"). It's a real curio. --Doug Thomas

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Digimon - The Movie [VHS]

Digimon - The Movie [VHS] Lowest new price: $1.90
Lowest used price: $1.00
List price: $9.98

When a powerful new Internet Digimon hatches and begins to consume data at an alarming rate, the Digidestined - kids chosen to save the digital world - must put an end to the destruction before the damage becomes irreversible and worldwide communication halts forever. As computer-based missiles are launched, and a wayward Digimon kidnaps the Digidestined, only the combined efforts of a worldwide network of kids and a new group of "Digidestined" can rescue the others and stop global disaster.

Like the similar Pokémon craze, the animated Digimon TV series has spawned a full-length theatrical film. The two phenomena are similar: kids collect monsters and go on adventures. While Pokémon has a sense of odyssey and a wisp of a moral, Digimon is flat-out rough-and-tumble adventure. Can an adult figure out the digi-details of the digi-world? Here's a digi-shot. That world is full of evolving monsters that live and fight in their own ways. The digi-world and real world can intermix, and one of the portals is the Internet. So kids sit at their laptops and fight with their digi-monsters in an abstract environment that looks like something from Tron but with none of the cool. The first 50 of 83 minutes is backstory that takes place eight years earlier. So everyone is grown up (as the time frame leaps over all the original Digimon TV shows), and Digimon and humans interact on Earth. A bad digi-virus is bent on revenge, and it will take more than a laptop to defend the planet. That said, if the end of the world ever looms, a golden digi-egg will be a good thing to have. (Ages 6 to 12) --Doug Thomas

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Fist of the North Star [VHS]

Fist of the North Star [VHS] Lowest used price: $5.63

EXCELLENT MOVIE!!!!!!

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Pokemon - Mewtwo Returns [VHS]

Pokemon - Mewtwo Returns [VHS] Lowest new price: $9.78
Lowest used price: $0.01
List price: $10.99

In this direct-to-video sequel to Pokémon: The First Movie, Ash, Misty, and Brock continue exploring the Johto region, then have to rescue Pikachu after Jessie and James of Team Rocket kidnap him. The search leads them to the hidden plateau where the redoubtable Mewtwo has established a haven for the cloned Pokémon from the previous film. The evil Giovanni is plotting to recapture Mewtwo and renew his efforts to create an army of bio-engineered Pokémon. Aided by the reluctant Meowth, Ash and his friends defeat Giovanni and his henchman in a battle that is less over the top than the original feature but more intense than the program's usual adventures and lessons in sportsmanship. The result is a mildly amusing, not particularly involving film. Mewtwo's angry brooding and some of the action may be too scary for very small children. Unrated; suitable for ages 6 and up. --Charles Solomon

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Castle in the Sky [VHS]

Castle in the Sky [VHS] Lowest new price: $24.94
Lowest used price: $16.50
List price: $19.99

The magic touch of master animator Hayao Miyazaki is visible from start to finish in CASTLE IN THE SKY -- an imaginative tale full of mystery and adventure. The high-flying journey begins when Pazu, a mining apprentice, finds a young girl wearing a glowing pendant and floating down from the sky. Together, they discover both are searching for the legendary floating castle, Laputa, and vow to unravel the mystery of the luminous crystal around her neck. Their quest won't be easy, however. There are air pirates, secret agents, and astounding obstacles to keep them from the truth -- and from each other. With spectacular animation, a fabulous musical score, and the voice talents of Anna Paquin (Sheeta), James Van Der Beek (Pazu), and Cloris Leachman (Dola), CASTLE IN THE SKY is an animated masterpiece you'll never forget!

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Kiki's Delivery Service [VHS]

Kiki's Delivery Service [VHS] Lowest new price: $14.88
Lowest used price: $4.91
List price: $14.99

In Hayao Miyazaki's magical Kiki's Delivery Service, a 13-year-old girl meets the world head on as she spends her first year soloing as an apprentice witch. Kiki (Kirsten Dunst) is still a little green and plenty headstrong, but also resourceful, imaginative, and determined. With her trusty wisp of a cat Jiji (a gently subdued Phil Hartman) by her side she's ready to take on the world, or at least the quaintly European seaside village she's chosen as her new home. Miyazaki's gentle rhythm and meandering narrative capture the easy pulse of real life (even if his subject is a girl flying high upon a broomstick) and charts the everyday struggles and growing pains of his plucky heroine with sensitivity and understanding. Beautifully detailed animation and the rich designs of the picture-postcard seaside town of red-tiled roofs and cobblestone streets only add to the sense of wonder. This charming animated fantasy is a wholesome, life-affirming picture that doesn't speak down to kids or up to adults. --Sean Axmaker

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Dragon Ball Z - The Frieza Saga (Boxed Set III) [VHS]

Dragon Ball Z - The Frieza Saga (Boxed Set III) [VHS] Lowest new price: $211.99
Lowest used price: $50.00

The Frieza Saga is the second major arc plot of the Dragon Ball Z anime.

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Sonic the Hedgehog: Movie [VHS]

Sonic the Hedgehog: Movie [VHS] Lowest new price: $138.87
Lowest used price: $13.98
List price: $7.98
Brand: ADV Films

Run time 60 minutes.

True to its Sega video-game roots, this futuristic 60-minute movie includes a lot of yelling, crashing, and exploding on the way to saving the world. Sonic and his sidekicks are determined to thwart a plan that would turn their Land of the Sky into the equivalent of The Land of Darkness, which lurks beneath the surface (and is obviously the former planet Earth). So they plow through to the center of the planet and the ancient city of Robotropolis (the former New York City?) to do righteous battle. The big question of the day is whether the usually evil Dr. Robotnik is telling the truth for once or sending the good guys into a trap. The tape's producers suggest viewers be at least 7 years old because of its violence, but the rudimentary nature of the animation will probably make it appealing only to hard-core action fans among the older-kid crowd. --Kimberly Heinrichs

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