January 08, 2010

247. Tonari no Totoro

  • Year of release: 1988
  • Director: Hayao Miyazaki
  • Genre: Animation, Adventure
  • Translated title: My Neighbour Totoro

Our first animated movie is one by the hands of the Japanese Master, Miyazaki. They call him the Asian Disney. Sounds promising enough to me, let's go.

A father and his two girls, Mei and Satsuki, move to the countryside to be closer to their ill mother residing in a hospital. Upon investigation by the two girls they discover the house is haunted. However, the tiny ghost are scared of into the nearby woods. A few days later Mei plays around the house and sees a tiny ghost that somewhat resembles a squirrel bred with a rabbit. The tiny ghost makes a run for it and Mei chases after it into the woods where she stumbles upon a giant, sleeping creature. She nicknames the creature Totoro. It appears that Totoro is the wood's master and has magical abilities like making trees grow and call a ghost catbus. When Satsuki and Mei learn their mother has apparently regressed, Mei disappears. Satsuki and the entire village start a search, but alas, the small girl is nowhere to be found. But with the help of Totoro Satsuki finds her little sister and sees that her mom only had a cold.

"Well, this is awkward..."

The drawing and animation style are beautiful and they really bring the characters to life. Especially Mei has a good design and animation to it. Her playfulness and rather active play style are captured perfectly. Also, the catbus. It's a bus and a cat. Awesome.

The story is simple, but touching. The emotional scenes have really touched me and I was rooting that they would find little Mei. The simplicity of the story was all this movie needed. And the only mystery is left up to the viewer to decide: Does Totoro only exist in the girls' imagination or does he really exist? Doesn't matter, the story is good.

That's all there is to say. It's a good movie.

Buy It

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