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Totoro

Totoro

Yes, Totoro. My Neighbor Totoro is one of the most famous animated movies ever created. Everyone knows it, and everyone has seen it. It’s a right of passage for Japanese children, and it probably has one of the most lucrative toy lines around – seriously, who could deny a life-sized cuddly Totoro!

I want one

I want one

 

It’s so famous in fact, that a restaurant about a block from where I’m renting slapped a Totoro onto their banner.

The Totoro seal of approval

The Totoro seal of approval

 

Totoro is everywhere. He is undeniable. We all love him. But… I have a confession to make. I had never seen the movie until yesterday! That’s right – yesterday night, for the first time, I saw Totoro. It was an amazing experience. It was invigorating and delighting, and for the first time in ages I felt like a kid again. It was just a purely happy movie – it sets up perfectly for a sad twist, but… it doesn’t twist. In the scene where there is an emergency telegram from the hospital, I was genuinely worried and sad – I was almost certain that their mother had died. In reality everything was fine, with Totoro and a magical cat bus saving the day.

Totoro and Catbus, the dynamic duo

Totoro and Catbus, the dynamic duo

 

Apart from the pleasant storyline, this movie has some amazing animation quality.  It’s hard to believe that such high quality animation came out of 1988 – simply brilliant. The rural setting seems so tranquil and peaceful – I constantly found myself in envy of their lives. It seemed like a tough life, but such a pleasant and simple one that’s in such sharp contrast to the city life I’ve become accustomed to

The rural scenery is relaxing

The rural scenery is relaxing

 

 

And the soundtrack is just perfect. It has the perfect combination of childishness and mystique. In particular, I can’t get this out of my head:

There is something so simple yet mysterious about that track. I feel like this is a movie I will go back to again, and if you haven’t already watched  it, I recommend that you give it a try. It may seem childish, but I really feel that it’s not at all. It’s pure relaxation and magic – studio Ghibli at it’s best.