Nowadays, it’s no surprise that anime has such a huge following. But the road to its success is paved by classics in the genre like Akira and Hayao Miyazaki’s My Neighbor Totoro.
Though casual Hollywood buffs would probably be more familiar with the Japanese director
’s other award-winning films like Spirited Away and Grave of the Fireflies, Totoro has become the face of Studio Ghibli, the director’s film outfit.
But what makes My Neighbor Totoro so appealing and loved by those who’ve seen it? One easy answer is that, while the narrative is driven by the fantastic, it offers a very human, realist take on family values, as well as tackles concepts like sibling rivalry, loyalty, devotion, and hope.
The plot revolves around sisters Mei and Satsuki, who moves to the country with their dad, a university professor in Tokyo. Soon Mei encounters the guardian of the forest near their new house, Totoro. The huge, cuddly, and magical creature proceeds to help the sisters cope with their situation and solve their problems, burdens which otherwise might be too great for children to bear.
This film is very poignant; while we might be wondering where their mother is, the film takes its time to give
us the reveal. It plays up its central themes of innocence and coming of age very well, leaving us haunted at the end.
My Neighbor Totoro is a must-watch, not only for fans of anime, but for the family and maybe even the entire neighborhood.
Hello! David Berkowitz here. I am a production designer for an independent film production company in Los Angeles, California. This job has been one of my wildest dreams since childhood. Do check out my Facebook page..