Starring: Hitoshi Takagi, Noriko Hidaka, Chika Sakamoto
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Running Time: 86 mins
My Neighbour Totoro is a Japanese film about two young girls who move to the countryside to be near their ill mother, and while they settle into their new environment, they discover magical forest spirits living in the woods nearby.
This film is surely the most relaxing and most adorable I’ve ever seen. Made with beautiful animation, a sweet score, and a fantastical story, this film is the epitome of absolute relaxation, warmth, fun, imagination and beauty, and that’s what makes it so good.
Every time I watch a Studio Ghibli film, I credit the animation for all sorts of reasons. However, this is surely the most effective use of the beautiful drawings in the history of the studio. Rather than making a story overly weird like Spirited Away or Howl’s Moving Castle, this film uses its brilliant information to let you watch in awe at what’s going on on screen.
Then, you’ve got the classically adorable soundtrack. Not only does it fit perfectly with the fun and enjoyment of the story, it really adds to the very serene atmosphere that you get from the film, with the main theme being simplistic, yet catchy and easy to sing along to, and that makes this even more charming to watch.
And then, you’ve got the brilliant story and concept. Although on the surface, it may seem as if very little happens or develops in this story, you’ve got the great story of two young girls exploring a world with a friendly giant, and although it’s ridiculous, it’s hugely enjoyable to watch the girls experience the wonderment of these new worlds they discover.
There’s also one of the best levels of imagination in a film I’ve ever seen. Again, in comparison to the chaotic fantasy of Spirited Away, this isn’t anywhere near as insane, but it maintains those imaginative qualities, and in fact adds a level of simplicity to the whole thing.
Honestly, Totoro (and his two little minion things) are just giant (and small) plush toys, the catbus is just a bus that is a cat, and Totoro’s den is just a little forest clearing, however the simplicity of the imagination in this film makes it all the more adorable and relaxing, as it’s all there just to delight you and give you an extremely pleasant viewing experience.
Overall, this gets an 8.8, because it is definitely one of the most relaxing, pleasant, enjoyable and imaginative films I’ve ever seen.