My Neighbor Totoro basically sums up my entire childhood. Being half Japanese, I was heavily influenced by Japanese culture while growing up, and this beloved animated film by Hayao Miyazaki was always my favorite. I must have been about three years old when I first watched it, and from that day on began my borderline-unhealthy obsession. I religiously watched the film and still clearly remember the multiple occasions in which I’d come back from preschool or kindergarten and watch the film in Japanese and then in English back to back. I must have watched it a thousand times. The film follows the story of two sisters, Satsuke and Mei. They had just moved in to their new country home near a mystical forest (superb animation) in order to stay closer to their ill mother. One day, mischievous and curious Mei encounters a strange creature named Totoro and thus their magical adventure begins. Being about the same age as Mei when I first watched the film, my life revolved around being like Mei. I regularly recreated scenes from the film and desperately waited until I could meet my own Totoro. Of-course that never happened, but I’m over that now (kind of).
A while back, there were rumors spreading that Totoro is actually a death god. (You can read the conspiracy here: http://www.kotaku.com.au/2012/07/totoro-isnt-all-cute-for-some-hes-the-god-of-death/) Although I find this theory to be interesting, I do not agree with it. I feel that Miyazaki’s works have depth but are also quite straight forward. To me, Totoro is simply a charming and heartwarming story of two girls and their curious imagination. Even Ghiburi themselves have denied any rumors regarding the conspiracy.
I love all of Miyazaki Hayao’s work. I adore the beautiful, illustrated animation, the charming storyline, the creative characters…there’s so much to love in all his films. Some of my favorites include Howl’s Moving Castle and Spirited Away, but My Neighbor Totoro will always stay close to my heart.