My Neighbor Totoro

My Neighbor Totoro ★★★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Part of the 15 Favorites project.

So big surprise My Neighbor Totoro is on here. I’m sure you know how much I love Ghibli and, spoiler alert, this is not the only Ghibli film on my 15 favorites. In fact, I think I put 4 (whoops). What is there to be said about this film that hasn’t been said already? To be honest with you guys, I always have trouble writing reviews for Ghibli films. Their magic manages to leave me speechless. Which is why I have trouble writing on them. For me, it’s hard to put into words why I love these movies so much. I could say stuff like, “oh, the music is so amazing”, and, “It’s so charming and warm,” but I don’t think I’ve ever written something that hasn’t been said.  Simply put, My Neighbor Totoro is one of the most charming, magical and beautiful films ever made. You can see the detail and work that went into each shot, the magic of this film spills through the frames of it and overflows you with happiness. Everything about this film is charming. It’s just pure magic. I’ll most likely keep this short, because as I said, I have trouble writing on this, but here we go!


I think the animation is a great place to start. For me, nothing is better than the hand drawn animation of Studio Ghibli. Nothing comes close really. It’s so charming and I could look at it all day. My favorite thing about it is just the fact that it’s all hand drawn. You can see the detail in every single shot. Every frame is perfect. It’s all so pretty and nice. It’s touched up to perfection. Miyazaki manages to make a animated film seem real with how it’s drawn and that’s not an easy task. But the way it’s done it’s simply beautiful and you just stare in awe at it. Other animated films from the 80’s haven’t aged well, take Disney’s for example, but this, this looks just as good as ever. In my opinion, better than a lot of things that come out today. And every time I put it on, I’m impressed by it and fall in love with it all over again. Only Ghibli can do that for me.


I’m always tossing up what’s my favorite Ghibli soundtrack, and just soundtrack in general, but it’s so hard to pick one. Whenever I think about it though, I always come back to this film. Joe Hisaishi’s score for this film is upbeat, cheerful, snappy and puts a smile on your face any time you hear it. “The Village in May” has this snappy, farm sounding feel to it, it captures the essence of this section of the film. What do you think of when you hear this song? The village life. With music in films, you strive to be able to paint a vivid picture with this song to where whenever you hear the music, you have the image of the scene in your head. This is something Hisaishi does wonderfully, better than anyone else. As you listen to the soundtrack, you’re able to pick out the songs and image the scenes that go with them even if it’s been awhile since you’ve seen the movie, it’s just that memorable. You hear “Mei and the Dust Bunnies” you can image Mei and Satsuki running around the house looking for the soot gremlins. You hear “The Path of the Wind”, you’re taken back to the scene where Mei, Satsuki and the Totoros are trying to get the sprouts to grow. Anyway, you get the picture (literally). Moving on! (Probably rambled one too much, my bad.) 


One of my favorite things of the Ghibli films is how simply some of them are. They’re simply on the outside but all of them are actually really deep, even the ones that seem simply like Totoro. Films that try to be really deep often fail for me because of how hard they try. With Ghibli, it’s a simply approach, but if you look and you pay attention, you see these things that even the deepest films can’t touch. My Neighbor Totoro’s story is simply, just 2 girls moving to the country side with their father. One of them finds this big Totoro and everything goes from there. The part when Mei runs away to give the corn to her mother at the hospital is always when it strikes me that this movie is a masterpiece. Even the little things like when the girls wake up after growing the trees in the night time only to find that they’ve just sprouted is a beautiful thing. They see them and they are so incredibly happy. And the ending pulls it all together. I always manage to tear up at it. We see that Mei delivers her corn to her mother and is hanging up in the tree. It’s just such a sweet moment, her mother sees who brought this corn and there’s a smile on her face as she notices the girls up in the tree. That’s a beauty that never ceases to amaze. The ending song plays and that’s a wrap. 


The characters in a Miyazaki film are always amazing and My Neighbor Totoro is no exception. Mei and Satsuki are extremely lovable from the start. What I love so much about them is how real they are. There’s no false feelings, they act just like you’d imagine 2 young sisters would. I have 2 younger sister that play around together and they act just like Mei and Satsuki, it makes me smile to think of both. How the younger one copies the older one and how the older one is basically in charge. That’s a simply thing that isn’t the biggest thing to some but I find it rather charming and it always has me smiling. 

Well, I think I’ll end it there, I’ve said a bunch of nothing for the most part. Studio Ghibli is a studio I could truly never get tired of and they have made some of my favorite films of all time, so expect to see more part of this 15 Favorite project (a few more haha). My Neighbor Totoro is a magical movie and if you haven’t seen it, please go experience the beauty of it for yourself, you won’t regret it.
Take care, everyone!

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