Back in 2014 my wife and I watched My Neighbor Totoro for the first time ever. Upon first viewing our initial response was “meh.”
Don’t get me wrong. Visually it was a gorgeous movie. But the problem with the film is it ends on sort of a non-climatic ending.
Then in 2015 we found out we were going to be parents. It was a very exciting time in life. I had to take my students to an Anime convention the next day. Wouldn’t you know it the very first toy I ever bought for my unborn child was a…
So fast forward to 2016, we have our daughter, and then she watches this movie for the first time.
What was so incredible about the viewing experience that time is that even though her attention span was about the time needed to cook an egg, she sat there and watched the whole film. I don’t even think she was one years old yet. She just sat with us and watched the whole movie. First time ever doing that.
And that’s when I discovered it.
Totoro is perhaps one of the most whimsical characters in all of moviedom.
Incase you have never even heard of him…
The story features two kid sisters who are coping with the fact that their mother is sick in the hospital. They move out to the country with their Father and try to make the best of things.
They discover that they have a 1,000 pound bunny rabbit/pillow pet hybrid living next door. And by next door I mean down magical forest tunnels and then you take a right past the trail of acorns.
Totoro really has no purpose in the film other than this creature who lives by them. He sort of just chills and goes about his life. At one point he gets on a bus that is actually a cat.
There is a climax of sorts. One of the girls runs off to try and visit her mother in the hospital. The older sister needs Totoro’s help to find her little sister. Totoro aids. Cue Sweet Catbus music and…
Well as the years passed one thing has never changed. My daughter still LOVES this film. So much so that I’ve seen it probably a dozen times now. It really does get better with each viewing.
And again, it all has to do with whimsy.
You almost have to get into that younger mindset to realize that it is an insanely cute idea to have a ten foot stuffed animal living next door to you.
I always thought cute. Until this last time that we watched it a few days ago.
My four-year-old turned to me and, I kid you not, these were her words:
“There should be an evil Totoro that eats them.”
This is where my latest short story idea came from. I’ll be posting on Reedsy for the purposes of a contest that they have going on.
Their direct prompt states:
“Write about someone who has a superpower.”
What power might they have you are probably asking?
Why, the power to vanquish evil Totoro of course.
Check out a link to this story soon. I’m starting to be a bit more careful on what stories I post to this site as I’ve been submitting them for publishing purposes lately, and it is typically frowned upon if editors can find your stories elsewhere before they’ve had a chance to read them.
But for now, you have at least a teaser for a story that is five years in the making.
Happy last day of June all.
P.S. If you haven’t seen the Mac and Me compilation on Conan with Paul Rudd, you are missing out. I will leave that with you.