My Neighbor Totoro – Studio Ghibli

For people who born before 1988, you should have seen, heard or even met this giant creature at least once in your life. May be some have ever imagined Totoro could be their real neighbor. Tho, for the younger generation, they might not known or have under estimate the Totoro heatwave back in the date as well as how this Totoro from Studio Ghibli influence the anime industry. Dearly loved and critically regarded worldwide, the magical My Neighbor Totoro is a heart-warming tale of innocence and the power of belief that will delight viewers of all ages. Whether you have known him for long or you just think this fluffy gray animal doll is cute, I guess you want to know more about ” My Neighbor Totoro “.


For those of you who unfamiliar with Totoro, he is actually a character from an animated film titled “My Neighbour Totoro“made back in 1988 by the amazing Hayao Miyazaki. I’m guessing however if you found this post you are already familiar with the movie. If not, you should stop what you are doing and go watch it, it’s a timeless classic that’s just as enjoyable for adults as it is for kids.


As history is history, this post is more about the movie itself. Either you want to know My Neighbor Totoro in details or refresh your memory, keep reading…!


My Neighbor Totoro


My Neighbor Totoro (となりのトトロ Tonari no Totoro?) is one of the signature and iconic anime film created by Hayao Miyazaki and it is his best-loved films.


The story is about Totoro – a forest spirit / animal that little Mei, and later her older sister Satsuki, encounter in a giant camphor tree near their new home in the countryside. Satsuki and Mei, have moved with their father, a university professor, into a new home in the country, while their mother recovers from some unnamed illness in a nearby hospital. To their surprise, they soon discover that they share this home with some rather unusual creatures and even stranger neighbors – forest guardians that the girls dub Totoro. When Mei hears that her mother’s condition may be worsening, she resolves to visit her all by herself. When everyone realizes she’s missing, only Totoro knows how to find her! Whenever trouble occurs, their new friends will help them rediscover hope!


To watch a movie trailer, here you go


Behind the movie

My Neighbor Totoro  is a 1988 Japanese animated fantasy film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki and produced by Studio Ghibli. The film – tells the story of the two young daughters (Satsuki and Mei) of a professor and their interactions with friendly wood spirits in postwar rural Japan. The film won the Animage Anime Grand Prix prize and the Mainichi Film Award for Best Film in 1988.


The film was released on VHS and laserdisc in the United States by Tokuma Japan Communications’ US subsidiary in 1993 under the title My Friend Totoro.

In 1988, Streamline Pictures produced an exclusive dub for use on transpacific flights by Japan Airlines and its Oneworld partners. Troma Films, under their 50th St. Films banner, distributed the dub of the film co-produced by Jerry Beck. It was released on VHS and DVD by Fox Video. Troma’s and Fox’s rights to this version expired in 2004. The film was then re-released by Walt Disney Pictures on March 7, 2006 and by Madman on March 15, 2006. It features a new dub cast. This DVD release is the first version of the film in the United States to include both Japanese and English language tracks, as Fox did not have the rights to the Japanese audio track for their version.

Art director Kazuo Oga was drawn to the film when Hayao Miyazaki showed him an original image of Totoro standing in a satoyama. The director challenged Oga to raise his standards, and Oga’s experience with My Neighbor Totoro jump-started the artist’s career. Oga and Miyazaki debated the palette of the film, Oga seeking to paint black soil from Akita Prefecture and Miyazaki preferring the color of red soil from the Kantō region. The ultimate product was described by Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki: “It was nature painted with translucent colors.”


Oga’s conscientious approach to My Neighbor Totoro was a style that the International Herald Tribune recognized as ” the traditional Japanese animist sense of a natural world that is fully, spiritually alive”. The newspaper described the final product, Oga’s work on My Neighbor Totoro led to his continued involvement with Studio Ghibli. The studio assigned jobs to Oga that would play to his strengths, and Oga’s style became a trademark style of Studio Ghibli.


The opening sequence of the film was not storyboarded, Miyazaki said, “The sequence was determined through permutations and combinations determined by the time sheets. Each element was made individually and combined in the time sheets…” The ending sequence depicts the mother’s return home and the signs of her return to good health by playing with Satsuki and Mei outside.


The storyboard depicts the town of Matsuko as the setting, with the year being 1955; Miyazaki stated that it was not exact and the team worked on a setting “in the recent past”.


The film was originally set to be an hour long, but throughout the process it grew to respond to the social context including the reason for the move and the father’s occupation.

Do you know there is a My Neighbor Totoro 2?

Not exactly a continuation, but a anime short named Mei and the Kittenbus. To know more about it, here you go!

( source:, wiki, google)

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