Will you be my Neighbour? Totoro

Have you heard of Studio Ghibli?

I was introduced to them back in 2003, when my then boyfriend suggested we see this animation called ‘Spirited Away’ at one of Bristol’s small art house cinemas.

I still remember being blown away by the depth of the artwork, the sumptuousness of the scenery and the depth and breadth of a story where you get transported into a bath house for spirits!

Studio Ghibli are a Japanese animation studio and have been producing films since 1985, their most well known director/animator and founder of the studio is Hayao Miyazaki . He is responsible for some of Ghibli’s best known titles including ‘Howls Moving Castle’ (based on a story by British author Diana Wynne Jones – btw Howl is a play on the Welsh boy names Hywel) and my go to film ‘My Neighbour Totoro ‘

So maybe you’re thinking “oh animation! that’s not my cup of tea!” But hold on a moment, because animation isn’t just a genre for kids (those who have Castlevania may agree!). The majority of Ghibli’s films are made for everyone -they are always beautiful to look at , many are based on Japanese folk tales, many incorporate themes about man’s disrespect for the environment and the old ways and the damage he wreaks, about the loss of family but always the main themes seem to be above love in all it’s different forms.

Movie poster for My Neighbour Totoro

When round my niece and nephews about 2 years ago I put ‘My Neighbour Totoro’ on the television, i wasn’t sure if they would like it-it is all after all a 1980s film and TV is so different these days. But to my delight they both adored it,. The story centres around 2 young sisters Satsuki and Mei who have moved to the countryside with their Father to be closer to the hospital where their Mother is at. It’s a gentle film full of beauty and mystical creatures including the main character Totoro who is a woodland spirit who plays the ocarina. Every time I watch it I get transported away to this beautiful depiction of rural Japan, traditions and the world of tree spirits and the beauty of childhood wonder. The theme tune tends to bring a tear to my eye.

Another favourite of mine, is the beautiful film ‘The Tale of Princess Kaguya’. The film, which was nominated for an Academy Award’ is based on a 7thC Japanese folk tale. Again it’s depictions of old Japan are awe inspiring and the tale is so very enchanting though very sad.

Then there’s the lovely film Kiki’s Delivery Service about a little witch who delivers baked goods on her broomstick!

There’s an amazing chap going by the name Marvelous Media Machine who’s been making 3D renderings of zoetropes /musical boxes of Ghibli films which are absolutely stunning.

And lastly one more video to demonstrate the beauty of Studio Ghibli films (and the music!)

So please, if you’ve never seen anything by Ghibli then do (they have a bunch on Netflix now), I’m sure you won’t be disappointed

14 Comments

    1. Totoro is amazing! yeah, i’ve watched The Cat Returns many times! it’s quite scary! i recently rewatched Howls Moving Castle as i didn’t really like it first time round, but did like it much more when i rewatched

      Liked by 1 person

  1. 🙂 I send your article to my son.
    I like Mononoke hime, Hauru no ugoku shiro, Kaze tachinu too.
    I keep in mind the 2019 Tokyo tragedy, while our family was there on holidays…
    KyoAni fire: arson attack at Kyoto Animation studio in Japan

    Liked by 2 people

  2. To be honest Tortoro would be hard for me to watch right now because its only been 7 months since my mums passing but I will definitely watch it! The beauty in these images is very calming I must say ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The 3D animations are charming. When my son was young we were at a loose end and decided to go to the cinema. I saw the magic words ‘ ‘animation’ and so we saw Spirited Away, not knowing much about. It was breathtaking, I could hardly speak afterwards. My son loved it and gobbled- up all Studio Gibli films. No Face reminds me of the Groke in The Moomins.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I. haven’t seen much Ghibli beyond Howl’s Moving Castle (I love Diana Wynne Jones’ books) and My Neighbour Totoro, but those are ace.

    I have a plush blue Totoro that I rescued from work years ago – someone was going to put him in the bin, the horror!

    Liked by 1 person

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