Book-to-DVD Review of “To Be Or Not to Be With Love”

To tell someone you love them, most people say, “Tento,” which is from the Japanese words “tota” and “ai,” both meaning “person.” The phrase originated with the Kansai culture of Japan, where fortune tellers told fortunes. Telling fortunes with a Tarot deck is still possible in the Orient, though the use of more modern methods has brought it back down to earth in modern Western society. Telling fortunes with a Tarot reading isn’t a sure thing. You are simply using a tool to help you understand the forces of the universe.

Toto in Japanese is a boy. In the original story, Toto is an orphaned boy who lives in a bamboo grove. The boy’s older sister, Ono, takes care of him but the children are too poor to support themselves and are forced to sell eggs in the local market. One day, Toto appears on the scene, carrying a lantern, looking for work. As luck would have it, Ono recognizes Toto and his magic lantern, and they become friends.

Over the years, Toto has become more than just a simple bamboo worker. In the present day, he’s a plumber who travels to distant places on business; he’s a kindly grandfather who gives Dorothy his advice; and he’s a wise old man who teaches Dorothy to read. In some interpretations, Toto is the wizard Dorothy needs to rescue from the witch of Oz, and in others he’s merely a supportive friend. Regardless, Toto appears throughout the films, and is portrayed as a kind, old, wise mentor who gives Dorothy wisdom and knowledge that she needs to be a successful, wonderful girl.

Both the original Japanese version and the American TV adaptation of the original novel are great outings for the young girl in your life. The original version features the adorable Toontae Toscano as the little girl, while the TV version has Sally Field as Toto. Both versions feature the delightful voice of Holly Golightly as the wise old frog. In a later episode, Sally Field’s voice is also replaced by Lisa Kritzer, who plays the lead role in the TV series. While these changes might not be enough to make your child want to see the series, they are cute and fun additions, and will keep your little girl wanting to watch toons of Toto.

While the books are great stories of heroism and courage, and the characters very familiar to anyone with a kid’s book or who has seen any of the Disney animated films, the best feature of Toto is its voice. The lovable and endearing Toto is played by Hiroyuki Takahashi, and his story is interwoven with the plotline of the books. In the Japanese version, Toto is called “Kan” (although he is called Toto in the English version), and he is a young orphan who works at a fish processing factory. When the owner’s wife is killed in an unfortunate accident, Kan takes his father’s place, and works hard to get his father’s fortune back.

The other half of the cast is the ever exciting Yutaitsu (Yuta is simply a shorten version of Yuta, which means luck). Yuta is a foul and conniving punk, who is half starved and half mischievous. This man has a plan to save the world, and he is strong enough to accept the challenge of Kan. The two of them become a great team, and the boys learn to work together to help the boy succeed.

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