2014 Blind Spot Series: My Neighbor Totoro

What I knew going in: This was meant to be a companion piece of sorts to the insanely depressing Grave of the Fireflies. And I have a ton of memories of commercials for this movie when it was dubbed the first time back in 1998.

I watched this movie with my three year old son. The film follows a family who moves to the country side and finds some friendly spirits in and around their house. Here's a breakdown of our experience.

5 minutes in - "Can we watch Ninja Turtles?"

10 minutes in - "Mommy, Ninja Turtles."

20 minutes in - "Ninja Turtles"

Cat bus appears - 

Kid: "...what?"
Me: "See, that kitty is a bus!"
Kid: "Kitties can't be buses!"
Me: "Yes they can, see."
Kid: "NO!"
Me: *laughs at son's ridiculous response to the cat bus*

Then he got up and walked away so I finished this movie alone like a loser. Despite it not being his cup of tea (and I'm really not sure why, he watches a variety of stuff) I thought My Neighbor Totoro was a very sweet film. It felt so different from any other children's movie I've seen. It was very imaginative and it didn't once get into depressing territory like I was afraid it would. (The girls' mother was sick)

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "I'm not afraid" - Mei (Elle Fanning in the version I watched)

Although let's be real, I didn't like that cat bus either. Mostly because it had windows that were like holes in the cat's body and I don't like holey things and this is getting weird so I'll leave it at that.


  1. This one seems to a popular Blindspot choice. I know Ryan's already selected it for next year and I think there's at least one other person doing it this year as well. I myself have never seen it, maybe just because I've had some bad experiences with anime in the past (long story, back in Grade 6 I got a little too invested in one and things got out of hand and I was bullied mercilessly for it...) tough I have seen Grave of the Fireflies which was an interesting film.

    I guess that just leaves you with Fanny and Alexander for this year... I've never seen it so I can't comment on it. I've just got White Hunter, Black Heart to do next month and then my own Blindspot Challenge will be completed. I've already posted my list for next year:


    1. Kids were unfairly bullied for anime when I was in junior high. I remember a classmate giving a report on a Pokemon character and the other kids laughed at him to the point where he just stopped and sat down. It was so cruel.

      I got into InuYasha when I was probably in 11th grade because it was always on when I got home from work, but I never told anyone about it. Then after I graduated half my friends came out as "closet" InuYasha and Dragon Ball Z fans.

      Anime shouldn't get such a bad rap.

  2. This is great. My son doesn't want to watch anything so I don't even consult him at all anymore.

    I've never seen this one, though my sister vouches for it all the time. I should check it out...though Kitty Bus sounds inherently frightening.

  3. Aww ... I LOVE the cat bus. I can see how it might freak out a 3-year-old, though. I really love this movie. It's tied with Spirited Away as my favorite by this director. I haven't worked up the courage to see Grave of the Fireflies. I know I would break down and sob.

    1. I've never seen Spirited Away either. I'll have to check that out.
      Grave is so depressing. I never want to see that again.

  4. I definitely have this film as a watchlist for next year which is a WIP as of now. I'm still in awe over Spirited Away.

    Which Ninja Turtles movie does your kid wants to see?

    1. He watches the TMNT show that's on cartoon network. Horrible animation, of course. I need to find the original cartoons.

  5. I watched this one when I was a kid and I forgot most of it, except the cute characters! ><

  6. OMG! This is probably my favorite animated movie EVER! I bawled like a baby, but in a more productive and hopeful way than when I saw Grave of the Fireflies, which is probably the saddest movie EVER! My kids loved this, but they watch pretty much everything with me, from Gene Kelly musicals to French movies (although they make me read it to them, which gets annoying) to classic monster movies (my eldest's favorite movie for a good while was 1933's King Kong).

    I'm fortunate...or they're fortunate...one or the other or both.

    1. Damn! I hope mine grows into that. This film was so much better than Grave of the Fireflies, in my opinion. That is easily the most depressing animated film of all time.

  7. Is this from Studio Ghibli? I've only seen one film so far, Spirited Away, but have been meaning to check out more.

  8. Haha, glad you were able to carry on with the film. I loved it, though I think Grave of the Fireflies is even better.

    1. I actually hated Grave of the Fireflies. I don't ever want to see that again. Way too depressing.

  9. Aw, your son's thoughts on cat bus really made me laugh! Great review :)
    - Allie

    1. lol Yeah, he was not having that. I suppose I should expect that from a three year old.


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