Duration: 86 Min
Genre: Animation, Family, Fantasy
Right away when the movie started I knew I would like it. I can’t believe I never watched it when I was younger! I recently watched Princess Mononoko from the same director (Hayao Miyazaki) and really enjoyed that story line as well. Let me know if you’d like a review for Princess Mononoko! 🙂
Anyway, in My Neighbor Totoro, a small family of four (father, mother, 2 very young daughters) move to the countryside into a well-known rundown house in the corner of the road by the forest. Nosy neighbors in their village who see them moving into that house are frightened by this family because they know of the horror stories, but the family is not afraid and actually managed to make the rundown home quite cozy. The first thing that the little girls (Satsuski and Mei-chan) are in charge of is finding the stairs to the house. When they do, they find little black creatures called soot spirits. Satsuki being the eldest daughter is not afraid, but Mei-chan who is just 4 years old imitates her older sister and pretends to not be afraid. These soot spirits will eventually move out if they think the new owners are good people, and they eventually end up moving out.
Mei-chan trying to conquer her fears by grabbing a soot spirit.
Mei-chan is quite a mischievous little girl and always gets herself lost. One day while playing in the fields she finds these weird bunny-like creatures and she follows them into their fantasy forest land. She trips and lands on this massively huge creature who tells her he is named Totoro. Satsuki comes home from school in the evening and finds out that Mei-chan is missing, and she and her father goes looking for her. They eventually find her halfway in the hidden forest, and Mei-chan tries to tell them that she met Totoro, but dad and sister think she’s just dreaming and ignores it.
The movie is full of everything a family drama would have: two sisters with different personalities and different values would include them ending up fighting, right? That’s exactly what happens near the end and Satsuki has to go out of her way to find Mei-Chan, who went missing trying to walk to the hospital to deliver a freshly grown corn for her mother who is a patient. Totoro comes to the rescue and Satsuki has to accept the fact that he is there willing to help her, and open her heart.
It’s definitely a feel good movie. I recommend having the full experience with having Japanese audio with English subs. If you are new to anime and don’t know where to start, this is a great beginner’s anime film for you!
Give it a try, you won’t regret it 🙂