My Neighbor Totoro is the Closest to Replicating Child Behavior

I think my biggest sin in my participation in this community is not having seen all the Ghibli films. And I fully intend to, but I am in no rush. It’s not because the movies don’t impress me but I’ve watched enough to get the gist of how Ghibli works. So while I expect the grand majority of them to be great films; I don’t feel the need to hang myself watching them.

With all that said, I recently watched My Neighbor Totoro. Wasn’t an awful movie but it wasn’t what I’d call a “classic”. In fact, it was maybe only a little bit higher than average. Y’know, I thought that my expectations were probably set too high because I remember the show being mentioned to me not long after I first watched Spirited Away with my ex and it looked like it carried a similar idea. So, I was excited about that. But watching it felt like nothing was happening. Totoro, as a character, wasn’t included enough and it was definitely one of Ghibli’s least intriguing aesthetics which I feel is a huge appeal of their works. It just wasn’t as whimsical as something like Howl’s Moving Castle or Spirited Away; both films absolutely mesmerized me. Highly recommend them if, by some chance, you haven’t watched those. You should. (laughs)

Totoro had some niche moments that I was humored by. But the only general concept I was able to really take in was how realistically portrayed the children were. I mean, they’re clearly the forefront characters that we’re supposed to pay attention to so it’s no surprise Miyazaki went to such great lengths to make these specific characters as organic as they should for characters of their age. The way the smaller sibling, Mei I believe her name is; the way she followed the older sibling is a very common dynamic between actual siblings and I know a lot about that considering I followed two older relatives all the time in my youth. The parents played a big part in this as well; specifically the Father. The way he’d basically lie to his kids with the intent to protect them or keep them from feeling sad set the tone really well. Like, it wasn’t even just specifically lying to them but he’d do just these small things to make them feel positive. When they were scared he’d just start laughing so they would laugh and it helps me understand his point of view even if we don’t really see the movie from that angle.

Anyway, I thought that part of the film was great. But besides that, it really felt like not much happened. Was pretty boring, especially around the end. Worst Ghibli film, so far.


4 thoughts on “My Neighbor Totoro is the Closest to Replicating Child Behavior

  1. Wah, surprised by your ultimate conclusion about the movie, but to each his or her own! It definitely lacks the whimsy of Spirited Away and Howl’s—the earlier feels like an exploration of the spirit world which is just introduced in Totoro (think of the sprites present in both films)—but the centeredness in the real world is part of what makes it special. This is a child’s story presented through children’s eyes and as moving for them as a fantastic adventure, as discovering Totoro and dealing with a mother’s illness, moving to the country, and becoming lost are as devastating experiences as a child could possibly imagine. I think it’s one of Ghibli’s five best, the equal of Spirited Away.

    Liked by 1 person

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