となりのトト Tonari no Totoro
Animation | Fantasy
Noriko Hidaka, Chika Sakamoto, Shigesato Itoi, Sumi Shimamoto, Hitoshi Takagi, Toshiyuki Amagasa, Tanie Kitabayashi, Naoki Tatsuta
After moving into a house in the country, two young sisters, Satsuki (Noriko Hidaka) and Mei (Chika Sakamoto), discover that the nearby forest is inhabited by magical creatures and soon befriend them.
Anime isn't my favourite genre, and this is only the second film of Hayao Miyazaki I've seen, but I can see why people love his works so much. However, "Spirited Away" was a lot better than "My Neighbor Totoro", which is still an incredibly cute animated film, but it's definitely a less mature/more childish one.
Following the adventures of two sisters, the story is simple but engaging and keeps you wonder what will happen next. Also it is quite touching and uplifting without being overly sentimental.
Simplicity, however, is not limited to the story. The themes the film deals with are indeed banal and repetitive. Once again it's all about man's relationship with nature, about kids having more imagination - and morality - than adults, and about illness. That of course doesn't mean the film is less interesting. Actually, that's what makes the story suitable for everyone, especially for kids.
And that's it for the complains. Everything else is just spot on, starting from the animation. Even though it is a little bit dated at times - this film is almost 30-year-old though -, the animation is not just beautiful, it's stunningly magical. The Japanese scenery is beautifully filmed as well as the adventures of the two girls.
Also, Hayao Miyazaki's direction is top notch, and the characters are all memorables from the two sisters, Satsuki - in the film there's also her coming-of-age subplot, and the little and annoying Mei, to the magical Tororos.
Ultimately, this is not a masterpiece, but it's entertaining and makes you wish you had a neighbor like Totoro.