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My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

My Neighbor Totoro (1988)




Chika Sakamoto

Noriko Hidaka

Hitoshi Takagi



Directed by Hayao Miyazaki

Nothing has plagued my childhood more than this beautiful heartwarming animation. I cannot put a number to the amount of times I have seen this animation over the years. The heartwarming innocence of childhood grace shown in the animation is not like anything you will see else where. You can even see where many other animations get their ideas from. The emotional ride is not the only reason this animation was a critical success, the adventurous plot and the fantasy itself is enough to have your attention.

My Neighbor Totoro is a roller coaster emotional ride of two children struggling with the lack of having their mother around. The animation is laser focused on these two and their life in the new home their father bought. We get the idea from the start that there is more to the house than we can just see with our eyes, and soon we meet the wood spirit. As with many of Hayao Miyazaki animations the lead characters in this Japanese animation are two strong willed and independent girls. Even the four-year-old Mei showed some strong determination, to do her own thing and be her own person.

Set in 1958 Japan, a university professor and his daughters Satuski and Mei move to a new house so as to be close to the hospital of the sick wife.

Soon the two girls start running around the house playing and being children, in a way that only a wonderful writer could have done. You need to see it and you will be teleported to a younger you.

One day when Satuski was in school Mei came across two small wood spirits, she follows them and meets a huge one sleeping. Mei sits on it innocently playing and gave it the name Totoro.

Nobody believes her when she told them of her discovery, but on a rainy day when the two were at the bustop waiting for their father – they see Totoro. On that occasion Mei was sleeping on Satuski’s back when he appeared. They also witness the other magical things in his life before he left, when they saw their father they could not contain their excitement.

 From this point hence, the movie takes an emotional turn which you have to see for yourself to witness the powerful directorial work of Miyazaki.

In the end this animation can be seen to have some influence in many of Studio Ghibli further movies along the years as the Totoro character has been their mascot and has made some cameo appearances in their games and films.

I do not know which streaming platform still has this on their roaster, but I will advise you give your children the thrill of seeing this movie.


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