Review: 'My Neighbor Totoro'
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Arts Entertainment

'My Neighbor Totoro' Is A Marvelous Tale Of Two Sisters Exploring Their Imagination

Hayao Miyazki's classic children movie explores the fantasy of adolescent imagination.


Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli create a binding tale for children that allows a youthful audience to empathize with the characters imagination and free spirit. I believe "My Neighbor Totoro" is a wonderful children's movie, as the character Satsuke and Mei move into a new area and explore the atmosphere that surrounds it.

The movie takes the perspective of these two girls, who are waiting at home for their mom who is ill and in the hospital, and later hear a tale of Totoro which initiates their adventure. I believe the director was trying to communicate how a children's imagination is extremely valuable, as having a friendly counterpart and positive spirit in the world of fantasy can lift a kids creativity to a max impacting their emotions as well. The director portrays this movie in an adorable manner, as the level of maturity of the movie is at a peak of cuteness and lovable animation that any age could watch this and come to appreciate the effort of this lighthearted anime movie. Another thing that this movie excels in is its sound effects and aesthetic visuals. The sound effects within in the movie when it comes to specific head jerks, placement of tools and items and the lightly ambient and natural soundtrack all emphasize the childlike atmosphere of the movie.

For example, when Totoro moved his head and Satsuke moved her head, there would be sound effects along the onomatopoeia of "quink quink, boing, tinktonktink." These special effects allowed the more slapstick comedic form of this movie to come alive to the audience. Its youthful tone paints a more innocent picture for the characters and setting. On the other hand, the whole movie followed a specific aesthetic throughout the animation style within the movies. There was a recurring motif of exaggerated eyes and smaller looking bodies, but with exaggerated mouths and simple but creatively designed features. The colors were also very bright in every scene and sometimes resembled a painting with the landscapes and backgrounds in specific scenes. As the movie progressed with its unique art direction and innocently slapstick soundtrack, it all built into the movie.

The innocence of the plot and characters, trying to achieve adventure, happiness, and approval of adults within the story makes it all the more relatable towards parents and their young children embracing their imagination. It pays homage kids who have "imaginary friends" at a young age, as the characters in the movie believe and see it but adults can't, just like how imaginary friends are treated towards children. It's an imaginary friend movie that comes to life for children allowing them to embrace themselves to give in to their creativity and adolescence.

One of the most visually aesthetic and stunning scenes from the movie was when Totoro was next to Satsuke and Mei at a bus stop. This scene shows a shy and adorable interaction between the friendly monster and the sisters as the awkward silences and close-up shots within for both characters creates a positive and cute atmosphere that builds the start of the sisters and Totoro's friendship. The fact that the scene was shot at a bus stop makes it all the more innocent, as they patiently wait in the rain and greet each other through shy subliminal gestures.

Another significant aesthetic scene that stood out for me was the climax of the movie. At the climax of the movie, it involves a chase scene and the sisters' imagination at its peak. This point of the movie maximizes the happiness of the sisters as they use their friendly spirit's magical powers to allow them to find a solution to their main problem within the movie.

Furthermore, this is when the animation starts to excel and build into many different styles and formations as the creation with colors, formation, and shape really embrace the imaginative creativity of the spirits and how they correlate to the sisters like imaginary friends. Overall, this movie takes a role of bringing a story of fictional spirits to life to pay homage to children all over the world who have created an imaginary friend.


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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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