My Neighbor Totoro
An example of the beautiful scenery.
Satsuki and Mei open the door to part of the house and lots of strange creatures scamper away. They think these are dustbunnies.
They will have a Nanny to help take care of the house. The nanny says the dustbunnies are "soot spreaders" which breed in old homes. A neighbor kid named Kanta says that Satsuki and the others live in a haunted house.
The soot spreaders leave as the family members are laughing.
Their mother is in the hospital.
Mei meets something.
Suddenly, more than one "something" is involved.
Mei follows them into the huge tree near their house and find another "something" that is quite large. The creature's name is Totoro, which is the name of a troll in one of Mei's books.
They go to pay respects to the forest at a local shrine and find out it's the tree Mei was looking for.
While waiting for their father's bus to arrive, Satsuki and Mei are joined by Totoro.
At night, Totoro and the two other beings who are with him are joined by Satsuki and Mei where they work together to get some plants growing.
Mei runs away when she finds out her mother is not coming home from the hospital when she was expected to. No one can find her, but then a sandal is found in a pond.
The shoe turns out not to be Mei's. Satsuki runs to Totoro to ask for his help.
Totoro calls upon a magic cat-bus to help Satsuki search for Mei.
The book Wrong About Japan: A Father's Journey with his Son, 2004, says this about the movie:
"Tototo finally resolves itself as a charming hymn to animism, a world of ghosts and spirits, in particular the spirit of the forest. ... It is part of Miyazaki's genius that as he celebrates the world of nature, trees, flowers, as the girls look into a stream and exclaim about a fish, he also shows us an empty sake bottle abandoned in the water, and that this is done in some morally neutral way."
"He is not being romantic about the countryside but he is perhaps nostalgic about his childhood, and for a physical world that, while not pristine then, has been seriously messed-up since."
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