Ruining One Of My Favourite Films

As you may know, I’m a big fan of Hayao Miyazaki‘s awesome animated film, Tonari no Totoro. It’s truly one of my favourite films.

Today I heard a new interpretation of the plot of the film. If you love the frivolity, the joy, the upbeat sweetness and the happy ending that this classic movie has, then really, really don’t read this article about what it could all mean.


  1. Well! Thanks for brightening up my day…

  2. Ele Ele says:

    I’ve always found this underlying darkness when I watch that film, something not quite right. This explains it pretty well.

  3. The Pacifist The Pacifist says:

    No, sorry. Not buying it.

    It begins with the susuwatari (煤渡り) (a.k.a. makkurokurosuke), those little black balls that they find in the kitchen. The story goes that if you see the susuwatari or Totoro, death is close.

    Citation please? All I can find are references to the film. What story is this then?

    The old woman says that adults can’t see the susuwatari or the other mystical beasts. Unexplained though, is why she saw them when she was young. Kanta, the old woman’s grandson doesn’t seem able to see them.

    Okay. So right away they point out the flaw in that theory. And I’ve just checked. Mei doesn’t see them as anthropomorphic until after Satsuki tells her they’re dust bunnies “just like the ones in [her] picture book”. It’s not strange to believe that would alter how she sees them…

    The Sayama incident occured in May 1963. It’s quite an important case for discrimination in Japan.

    Yes, but that’s because they assumed the guy they found was the murderer because of his social class (Burakumin). That doesn’t have anything to do with this story.

    Anyway, the older sister later commited suicide.

    No citation again. The wikipedia page he links to mentions this, but I struggle to find anywhere else that references this.

    For one, the house that the family moved to is also in Saitama

    Oh well. There you go then. That’s proof. Did you know they also have a John Lennon museum in Saitama? And you know what that means, right!?!?

    Written on the box at the back is 狭山茶 sayamacha or Sayama tea. Doesn’t get much more direct than that.

    Shock. They’re drinking local tea. And even if it didn’t take place there, Sayama was (and still is) a huge tea producing area.

    Also, the hospital, 七国病院 shichikoku byouin has (or had?) a real-life counterpart in Sayama

    Again, is it really so surprising that they have a hospital? And they have to go quite a way to get to it anyway..

    The real murder took place in May. Also the youngest child is named Mei (pronounced ‘May’). This could be a coincidence, but the older sister is named Satsuki, which is also another way to say May.

    I was under the impression that the reason they are both called May was because they were originally one character and Miyasaki changed it to two later on…

    The Nekobus (the cat bus) is the cariage [sp] that takes one to the next world (heaven, hell, whatever). This is given a little reinforcement by the above picture, showing the destination as 墓道, the first character means grave, the second meaning road.

    We have cemetary roads in the UK. Does that mean people living on them are dead? And that’s not the destination. It’s one of the SEVEN stops the catbus cycles through before stopping on めい – which suprisingly enough means ‘Mei’ (Not ‘little sister’ as the english dubtitles would have you believe)

    There is a strong belief that after Mei goes missing, she has no shadow, apparently adding to the notion that she is dead.

    Well, when she goes missing it’s late afternoon and when she’s found it’s sunset so it’s darker…

    On a related note, did you know that if you play your albums backwards, you are Satan?

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