Exploring Influences: My Neighbor Totoro

This week, we’re taking a look at one of my favorite movies: My Neighbor Totoro.

Hayao Miyazaki’s movies often receive a lot of praise, and not without good reason. They’re excellent films that appeal to a broad audience. With Disney’s updated releases of a number of them, the fanbase only continues to grow.

Of course, when I first saw Totoro, it was back when VHS tapes were a thing. The movie was enchanting and endearing, presenting a sweet tale of the way children cope with troubling times.

It’s a film that blurs the lines of fantasy and reality, something I’ve always enjoyed doing, but it does it while keeping the message easy to understand and child-friendly for those who watch as a family.

It’s hard to say whether the Totoros, soot sprites or cat bus are real or just the imagination of two lonely girls, but the subtle hints that all of them might exist is what really creates a lot of the charm. Growing up, my mother always gave us reason to believe in gnomes and fairies, so seeing the same sort of whimsy presented with Asian flair is sure to do nothing but delight.

Last week: Dragonriders of Pern
Next week: The Legend of Zelda

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