Hayao Miyazaki, the legendary Japanese animator who brought us some of the world’s best-animated films never failed us to appreciate more about art, music, and life itself generally, and most of all the beauty of hand-drawn animated films.
One of his most notable works is My Neighbor Totoro which was a 1988 Japanese animated film which he wrote and directed and was produced by Studio Ghibli which starred Noriko Hidaka, Chika Sakamoto, and Hitoshi Tagaki who served as the voice actors.
The story tells about two young sisters Satsuki and Mei who are daughters of a profession who became friends of friendly wood spirits in the rural region of Japan during the post-war. The animated film received numerous awards after it was released which includes the rare and very special award of the Blue-Ribbon Awards.
Because of its popularity, My Neighbor Totoro was dubbed for the passengers of Japan Airlines where it was regularly shown during flights through Streamline Pictures, a year following its release. Troma Films then distributed the dubbed films to the United States which was co-produced by Jerry Beck and was first released in 1993 via VHS and laserdisc under Fox Video and in 2002, it was produced to become available for DVD.
In 2006, Walt Disney re-dubbed the movie and was re-distributed to the American market and in the same year, it was released in Australia. Now that you have known a little background of how My Neighbor Totoro, maybe it is time to mention some of its important lessons that we should learn, aside from the fact that the film totally put us in awe about its rich hand-drawn animation.
- KEEP BELIEVING IN YOURSELF- Although it sounds very cliché because a lot of films wants to send this moral lesson to everyone, My Neighbor Totoro wants to reveal this kind of theme in a different kind of manner. A lot of the film’s characters recognizes that believing in yourself is the most difficult thing to do, and just like in real life, we are full of doubts that believing in ourselves is merely impossible especially if the odds are against us. There were a lot of scenes in the film that wants to send a message about self-confidence like Kiki’s delivery scene, and Arriety who taught his human friend to keep believing on himself despite the problems he is facing on.
- LEARN TO BECOME INDEPENDENT- Another important life lesson the film taught us, is not relying on to someone else when you can save yourself. The best example of that was Naussica’s scene in the Valley of the Wind, where she saved her kingdom from her enemies on her own without relying on anyone else, that was one best example of being independent.
- IMPORTANCE OF FAMILY- The lead characters, Satsuki and Mei who are sisters proved that no matter what happens, it will always be family first. In their scene from the Grave of the Fireflies, they stood together until the end as they faced a lot of crisis. That scene was very touching that a lot of those who watched the movie had tears streaming down their eyes.