While lesser known than his acclaimed Spirited Away, My Neighbour Totoro is rightfully considered Miyazaki’s best. The beauty of every Studio Ghibli production is the mesmerising hand-drawn animation. It is this that captures the viewer’s attention over the storylines that are in themselves captivating. My Neighbour Totoro is plain and simply about the childhood adventures of 5-year-old Mei (voiced by Chika Sakamoto) and her elder sister, Satsuki (voiced by Noriko Hidaka). There is no good vs. evil storyline here, as in most children’s films. It is simply about childhood and anyone who can remember the adventures you can have as a kid simply by being placed in a garden is sure to be captivated by this film.
The sightings of Totoro and his little friends must all be fragments of Mei and Satsuki’s imaginations, but they are as real to us as they are to them. The first glimpse of the cat bus hurtling towards Mei and Satsuki before speeding off into the distance makes you jump with excitement. To be honest, every time one of the mythical creatures appear you are just as captivated as the young Mei and Satsuki. It is all part of the magic of this rare film that takes you back to your own childhood and the many adventures you had.
A kid’s film? Nah, a film for anyone who remembers being a kid.