My favourite wood spirit – Totoro

I have always been a ‘Disney kind of gal’, with all the pretty pink fairy tale endings.  What’s not to like? Independently of who you are, where you come from or what you do, you are guaranteed a happy ending, one ‘and they lived happily ever after’. Of course, we grow older and life teach us that the Brothers’ Grimm fairy tale version is just a tad more accurate! Oh well, that’s life! I’m still a fan and even with no children I love Disneyland, Disney world and Disneysea. Shamefully or not, I’m a proud owner of an Olaf too! And after reading this, I should imagine my husband will be filing for divorce.

Recently I came across Hayao Miyazaki movie My neighbour Totoro.  This is a very popular Japanese animated fantasy, aimed at children but with such a good feeling that makes the harshest adult feel warm and fuzzy.

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There isn’t a villain, a fight or a moral lesson to be learned, however, you follow two young sisters and their father in a journey between the imaginary world and reality. The story develops after this young family moves to the Japanese countryside to be closer to the girls’ mother who is severely ill. Their new rural house is inhabited by spirits, not scary and evil spirits, but small fluffy ones that guide the youngest girl Mei into the forest.

When in the forest, Mei meets a big, buggy eyed wood spirit that she affectionately names Totoro.  He does not talk or sing but does groan, snore and it is always present when she needs him. A big ball of fur with two big eyes and a massive heart; I think this mix between Winey the Pooh and Baymax is what makes him so adorable. A big comfort blanket that you can count on!

In Japan, Totoro is present everywhere: in bento boxes for lunch, in patisserie and even the household pets do not escape.

All through the movie, we can appreciate the beautifully designed characters, the respect for nature which is very characteristic of the Japanese culture and a sense that we may not have a ‘happily ever after’ ending after all. All in all, a movie that belongs in everyone’s bucket list.

And needless to say, my Olaf has now a new neighbour that goes by the name of Totoro!

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