I haven’t seen My Neighbor Totoro since I was a kid and I’ve never seen it on the big screen either. So when Studio Ghibli and Madman Entertainment announced the Studio Ghibli Festival, I leaped at the opportunity to see My Neighbor Totoro on the big screen.
My Neighbor Totoro is a Japanese fantasy anime that follows young sisters, Satsuki and Mei who have moved with their father to a new home in the countryside to be closer to their mother recovering from illness in a nearby hospital. The girls befriend forest guardians they call ‘Totoro‘ and when trouble occurs, the girls rely on the Totoro for help and for hope.
Even though the film was created in 1988, the animation is still so stunning, beautiful and ahead of its time. The plot is strong, mature and it’s refreshing to watch a movie with no evident bad guy. The film focuses more on love, family and friendship. I also never thought that a film would have a different meaning to me now that I’m an adult.
When I was a kid, I loved that the girls befriended the Totoro and I thought it would’ve been so cool to make friends with magical creatures. But now that I’m older, I can see a different interpretation that the children create Totoro as their imaginary friend to help them through hard times with their mother being unwell. Although this may be another interpretation, it still doesn’t explain how half of the things happen in the film. And maybe perhaps what we all need sometimes is to believe in a little bit of magic.
After 29 years, I’m delighted to say that My Neighbor Totoro is just as touching and impressive as I remember. For first time viewers or for those revisiting a film that they watched many years ago, I strongly recommend watching My Neighbor Totoro. Not only is it a beautiful timeless film, but it is Studio Ghibli’s trademark masterpiece.