My Neighbor Totoro is a 1988 Studio Ghibli film that explores interesting avenues such as the fun of living in the countryside, animism, Shinto symbolism, and environmentalism.
See, I feel there is a special energy that surrounds this storyline from top to bottom. Therefore every time I watch the film, I come across these 10 mystical questions that generously define the plot of the movie rigidly.
So, these are my 10 questions from My Neighbor Totoro. Go through the same one by one and check do you have the same curious questions in your bag or not. Let us get going with-
Table of Contents
10 Interesting Questions From My Neighbor Totoro Which Hovers Around The Movie Defining It
1. What about the soot spreads?
When Satsuki and Mei open the door at the back they accidentally stumble across the soot spreads. Their father calls them Dust Bunny which was a very simple explanation to an inexperienced sight. But when Satsuki and Mei meet the granny from next door, the granny elucidates that the black dusty flurry creatures are nothing but soot spreads.
She defines the entity as soot spreads, which the children can only see. Like the Kusakabe sibling, the granny was also able to see the soot spread when she was a kid. The creatures breed in old and empty homes, spreading soot and dust all over. The lough and smiles of a family, have the capacity to make them leave their houses.
Although I have the answer, still, the concept seems very magical to me!!!
2. Kanta informs out loud that The Kusakabes are living in a haunted house…
After Mei and Satsuki encounter the Soot Spreads in the abandoned house standing all alone, I was a bit spooked. But can’t ignore the fact that, every time, the subject ‘Horror’ popped up, the father along with Satsuki showed excitement.
To add the cherry on top, Kanta the grandson of the old helping lady, shouts out loud that they are living in a haunted house. Now, my question is, was it a warning thrown in front of Satsuki by a normal human? Or was it just a simple act to be tough in front of the new girl in his village?
3. The sudden weather change
After the whole moving-in thing, the family gets involved with their dinner preparation. Satsuki runs out to collect a bunch of wood for the fire. Just then surprisingly, the weather turns grim, and strong wild winds start blowing. The house from no angle seemed strong and solid.
So, when the strong winds started blowing, I felt that the house might collapse. In fact, when the family was taking a shower after their long day, Satsuki was forced to find shelter with his father and sister inside the bathtub. Their whole house shook.
To lighten up the grim atmosphere both inside and outside, the father loughs hard which encourages his firstborn to join him too. Surprisingly their loud laughs uplift the ambiance which forces out the soot spread from their home, just like the granny said.
The family sleeps peacefully at night and the moon shines brighter, symbolizing that the family is protected, safe, sound, and content. Everything seemed, positive and nice for the Kusakabe.
So, the weather changed, it transformed into something dramatic, and then their love and laughter were enough to restore the peace inside and outside getting rid of the negativity from their new abode. Well, this is my theory, what’s yours…
4. Being extremely happy about the house being supposedly haunted
As I mentioned earlier Tatsuo Kusakabe was happy, every time he heard about the home being haunted. I just want to know what’s so exciting about staying in a haunted house. From all the horror movies I watched to date, what I perceive is that there is nothing good or happy about being in a haunted house.
Further, we also watched the mother who was informed about the same by Satsuki was also pretty happy. She wanted to get well soon and experience the thrill. I appreciated that Mei was the only one who acted normal, by telling everyone that she was not scared which I believe is not a lie.
5. Mei’s learns about Totoro
In her own time and space, Mei discovers two mystical creatures walking around, in their yard collecting nuts. The white one was in fact surprised to find that its visibility is open. The curious kid follows the mystical creatures around, and her journey lands her over to a huge big mystical creature.
The entire montage was so nice and magical that, kept me wondering if Mei was the only girl who found Totoro first in that village. I can assume that the little creatures lurked around in the house as well, and the definite evidence are their collection of nuts.
Mei is a four-year-old kid who is an embodiment of purity and innocence. In fact, I believe she never lied in the movie for once. She blindly trusted her sister and followed Satsuki around. Her beautiful unimpeachable nature is what led her to watch the spirits closely and clearly.
Later when she encounters the big one, she is not scared at all. She is at her own tune, enjoying every second of her time. She smiles a lot, plays a lot and relaxes with Totoro, and falls asleep ultimately.
I feel, Mei’s positivity, and innocence is what made Totoro and the little ones, appear effortlessly in front of her. She was allowed to enter their mystical realm without any challange at all.
6. Mei identifies the Forest Spirit as…
Mei after waking up talks about her magical and playful experience with her elder sister Satsuki. After teasing and pulling her legs, Satsuki along with her father believes every word uttered by Mei. Now, Mei identifies the forest spirit as Totoro because, in her picture book there is a troll named Totoro who looks just the same as this forest spirit.
Now my question is, did the forest spirit actually look like Totoro? Or was it Mei’s energy that transformed the forest spirit’s appearance, to look like the troll from her picture book?
Since Satsuki had the idea about the troll from Mei’s picture book, she also visualizes the forest spirit in the form of the troll from the picture book.
N.B- Did you notice, during the credits, that when Mei and Satsuki sleep beside their mother, their mother reads them a picture book that has a troll who looks like Totoro? So, the audience has the answer, in regards to Mei’s curiosity at least.
7. Why Tatsuo Kusakabe bought the house?
Tatsuo Kusakabe, the father of these two amazingly energetic girls, bought the house because he was fascinated by the magnanimous tree in the shrine that stood there for years and years. He adds that trees and humans used to be friends. Therefore, just when he saw the camphor tree standing strong, he decided to buy the house.
The family pays their respect and thanks the tree for protecting Mei all this time, and heads home for lunch. While they leave and Mei returns to get her fun hat back, the camera angle is focused from up above a tree branch. It seemed that someone was watching the new family closely and was pleased by them. Well, this is again my theory on the narrative particularly about this juncture.
8. Where was Totoro heading to, riding the Cat Bus?
In the later part of the movie, we see that Totoro can travel using a spinning top. But during that rainy evening, while Satsuki and Mei wait for their father, we see that Totoro also arrives at the bus stop to take the cat bus.
As per the change in location announced on the bus, Totoro takes the bus to the infirmary. I was wondering why was he visiting the infirmary. Judging by his appearance he seemed all good. So, was he meeting some of the other spirits from his realm? Anyway, I am intersted to know.
9. Was it really a dream as Satsuki believes?
After the siblings enjoy an energetic night where all the Totoros come and magically sprouts the seeds into huge big trees, the next morning turns out to be one of the happiest days of their life. The Kusakabe siblings have the saplings ready to grow big.
But Satsuki believes their comprehensive magical experience of the previous night was just a superb happy dream. However, Mei was sure that these were all real since she had a similar experience during the daytime.
So, who is telling the truth???
10. Satsuki and Mei can only see the cat bus. But Why???
Satsuki and Mei saw the cat bus twice in the movie effortlessly. It is clearly invisible to other people. I can’t be sure about other kids from the village though. But I am pretty much confirmed that the Kusakabe siblings can see the cat bus with their open eyes.
But why??? I did not conclude with any answers to this idea. But, if you have please do let me know in the comment section below.
So, these are my top ten questions from My Neighbor Totoro, that strangely open up every time, whenever I watch this beautiful Studio Ghibli product. I love the film and I can rewatch the same even more 100 times.
Now, tell me do you find my questions reasonable too? Did you find these questions strange or are you also seeking the answers to these 10 questions? Also, do you have more questions in your bag? Comment down below.
But, this is it for today, hope to meet you all very soon for my next publication on Wednesday.
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