Tuesday, 15 May 2012

My neighbour Totoro review

Beginning note

Today I will be reviewing My neighbour Totoro, the first Ghibli film I ever watched. This Ghibli film is the ninth in the Ghibli collection and was introduced to the USA in 1993, though it has been re-dubbed since then. Because Miyazaki (studio Ghibli creator) didn't want the film to alter from the Japanese, the name of Totoro remains unchanged. 

The basic introduction

Totoro in Toy Story 3
My neighbour Totoro came out in Japan in 1988, alongside Isao Takahata's production of Grave of the Fireflies which was animated by studio Ghibli. It was one of the films that truly brought Japanese culture to the Western world, probably due to Miyazaki's reluctance for the dubbing team to alter the original film. It is said to show a positive attitude towards village life and the outdoor environment. The plot itself revolves around a young girl who goes into the woods and finds a world of different creatures, called Totoros. The girl's mother is ill and the Totoro also helps in this regard. The big Totoro, who is grey, plays a big part in the film and it is a common mistake to think that he is Totoro and the rest are not. The grey Totoro is actually in Toy Story 3, as seen above. 

The review

When re-watching this film, I did notice things that I hadn't noticed before. This includes the presence of Soot Sprites later in the film as well as in the beginning. Soot Sprites are, in my opinion, the most adorable creatures ever! Although they are just tiny balls of fluff, they have cute googley eyes which make them more adorable, especially when they aren't in a ball together. 

Totoros are also quite adorable, and the discovery of the grey Totoro by Mei (the four year-old) within the film leads to both the girls having an adventure. This adventure shows the girls being both childish and adult in their nature, as well as leading us to know more about Miyazaki's views on the environment.

My neighbour Totoro is a beautiful example of Miyazaki's work and Japan's culture. It shows the influence of people on nature and vice versa. One example of this is when the group of Totoro grow tiny acorns into a giant tree. I genuinely love this anime, the characters are adorable and the story doesn't need any conflict, unlike many films created in America and other Western countries. 

One of my favourite moments in the film is probably one of the more simple ones, where the two girls are waiting in the rain for their dad at the bus stop and the big Totoro stands next to them. He is waiting for the Catbus and while he does so he has a leaf on his head which is dripping water onto his nose. Satsuki, the older sister, notices that he is getting wet and hands him her father's umbrella. Totoro is highly amused by the rain dripping on the umbrella from the trees, so makes all of the water droplets come off of the trees by jumping heavily on the ground. That scene genuinely led to me having a laughing fit the first time I saw it!

My neighbour Totoro, when placed within the context of Ghibli films, does not have as much of a plot as films such as Spirited Away. This could be because My neighbour Totoro is aimed at a younger audience than other Ghibli films. 

My neighbour Totoro is a film for the entire family, with characters that are easy to relate to as well as a story that can charm the hearts of many. I recommend it to both people with young children and also people that are young at heart. 


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