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My Neighbor Totoro
It’s in Search of Lost Summertime
Date:31, Dec, 2013
Investigated and Written by Misaka Youhei
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2013 summer was very hot again, sir. Japanese prefectures had each highest temperature like 40.7 °C in Kofu of Yamanashi, 41.0 °C in Shimanto-gawa of Kohchi and so on. It was just as someone who was into a critical condition. Naturally, it was hard for all Japanese to live.

Were Japanese summers that painful? We are going to introduce a 1988 animated movie which rightly describes beauty of Japanese old summertime with entertainment and which becomes a symbol of Studio Ghibli. Yes, it is “My Neighbor Totoro.”


Somewhere in Japanese 1950s, the Kusakabes move to an old-time house. There is a large forest behind. Father and two daughters, Satsuki and Mei, the three of the Kusakabes live there. Their neighbors are almost good and they spend some summer days at peace. One day, Mei plays at their garden and finds two mysterious creatures. She chases them and gets into the big forest and then…

“My Neighbor Totoro” looks subdued, to speak clearly. It does not have any battles to thrill you and is not a tearjerker. They say it went through a rough passage on planning for its mediocrity. Studio Ghibli didn’t call established reputation like the present.

It is true, however, that we can see many mystic fantastic characters. They say they sold over 660,000 stuffed toys of Totoro at the time. Two years later, in 1990, they broadcasted “My Neighbor Totoro” on TV and the dolls became gifts for the audience. There were over 2 million applications to the program.

Likewise, a late film director, Kurosawa Akira loved Neko-bus. It made him choose only “My Neighbor Totoro” among all Japanese animated films on “A Hundred Films Kurosawa Akira Selected.”

The film might look subdued, but it is full of exquisiteness. It shows kind of fresh and kind of lonely, which used to be felt in Japanese old-time summer.

For example, we see Satsuki and Mei play with cold water from their well, which gives us a feeling of our old summertime, not just informs the coldness and the enjoyment. Beauty from being not flamboyant, it fills the animated film. And then, they tenderly bring us our lost property.




about My Neighbor Totoro

・Directed by Miyazaki Hayao
・Originally Written by Miyazaki Hayao
・Written by Miyazaki Hayao
・Running time: 88 minutes
・Released on April 16, 1988
・Distributed by Toho







 

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