The Order of Ghiblis #04 - My Neighbour Totoro
Join us as we watch and rank every Studio Ghibli movie!
My Neighbour Totoro (1988)
Two young girls, 10-year-old Satsuki and her 4-year-old sister Mei, move into a house in the country with their father to be closer to their hospitalized mother. Satsuki and Mei discover that the nearby forest is inhabited by magical creatures called Totoros.
Aah Totoro. Such a huge breakout hit for Studio Ghibli that their mascot and studio logo is now a Totoro, and he's recognised the world over. And on watching it again (and again), for good reason.
The story ebbs and flows from the incredibly slow but touching moments where the 2 girls are exploring their new home to the intense search towards the end when one of them is lost.
It would be quite easy to dismiss this as a kids movie and move on but the reason it has stood out across decades is because of the care and detail that go into it.
The human characters are just that, human and interesting, and the cast of various Totoros are delightful and iconic. And then there's Catbus, the bus who is a cat. The movie glides effortlessly between a 100% real depiction of rural Japan to a spirit and troll filled wonderland without skipping a beat. The soundtrack is also amazing and is defo one of Joe Hisaishi's standout scores.
If you can't tell we love Totoro, we watch it often, we have Totoro pillows, bags, and nick knacks around the house. We went out of our way to go a Totoro cream puff themed cafe in Tokyo. I'd recommend it to families, adults, kids, basically anyone.
HMMMM I WONDER.
Ok it wasn't that obvious, but yes it's definitely better than Arrietty and Cat Returns. So is it better than Whisper? Honestly before re-watching both for this list I thought 'yes obvious slam dunk' but that watch of Whisper really endeared it to me in a new way so it was closer than I thought. However the broader appeal, loveable Totoro, and musical score do just set it apart though. It even still looks incredible despite being 32 years old. So with that, Totoro jumps up to be our new number 1!
NEW FULL ORDER
1.[NEW] My Neighbour Totoro
(I love that the back of the Arrietty case is so perfect for this...)