My Neighbor Totoro: The Spirit Next Door

My Neighbour Totoro is a Japanese animated fantasy film directed by Hayao Miyazaki. The plot focuses on a family that moves to a new house, which is also home to a number of spirits. The two young girls of the family Satsuki (Noriko Hidaka), and Mei (Chika Sakamoto), make friends with the spirits and their colourful leader Totoro. The film deals with the interactions between the family and the spirits.

This film is childhood innocence incarnate, the girls and their relationship with Totoro is so wholesome and pure it reminds me of all the fun I had with my imaginary friends when I was child. Totoro himself is both huge and terrifying, but also cute and cuddly. He is one of the most interesting animated characters I have seen in a long time and that is mainly because we don’t know a lot about him.

Despite all this sweetness and light, there is a hidden darkness behind it all. The mother of the girls is in hospital for unspecified reason and there is a constant threat that she is going to die; which is heart-breaking for the girl’s sake. There is also a scene in the film where it looks like the little girl might be lost or hurt and it genuinely puts you on edge. I think this added aspect gives older people something to enjoy, which makes it a good film for parents and kids to watch together.

There is one scene in the film that bothered me, I don’t know why it was there and it made me uncomfortable. This is of course the bathroom scene, where the dad and two girls are naked in a draw out scene, you don’t see anything, but it is incredibly unnecessary. The scene adds nothing to the film as a whole and it makes you question why it was left in the final cut.

Finally, I loved the colour and animation style of this film and I thought that much like the other Studio Ghibli film I have seen recently Princess Mononoke, every scene could be a painting. The art style is different enough to give to a distinct personality, but there is also a familiarity to it.

Overall, I liked this film it reminded me of my childhood, my only issue with it was that one-bathroom scene that I thought was totally unnecessary. Totoro is incredibly cute.


The art style.

The child-like wonder, but also the more adult moments.

Totoro himself.


That scene.

The cat bus thing was scary and haunting.


Reviewed by Luke

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