It has been 20 years since Hayao Miyazaki wowed the world with My Neighbor Totoro. The iconic film is part of why Studio Ghibli was launched to fame, and Totoro still stands as one of the most popular mascots ever. Now, Miyazaki is reflecting on his time with the film, and the artist is delving deep into its often unseen past.
Recently, Studio Ghibli published a book titled The Place Where Totoro Was Born. The piece houses a special interview with Miyazaki, and the director offers plenty of details about how My Neighbor Totoro was made.
To begin, Miyazaki said he was inspired to make the film after he thought up one of its most iconic scenes. The artist thought up the scene of Mei waiting in the rain for the bus, and that was what prompted Miyazaki to come up with a creature who could accompany her.
When it comes to the film’s setting, Miyazaki said he based it on the city of Tokorozawa. The setting came to mind as Miyazki lived in the Saitama prefecture with his wife shortly after they married, but My Neighbor Totoro refrained from using any specific locations. Rather than use actual places from Tokorozawa, Miyazaki drew places in the film based on his memories of how rural life was in the 1960s. (via ANN)
There is only one place My Neighbor Totoro recreated specifically, and that is the hospital where Mei’s mom was admitted. Miyazaki admits he based the hospital on the Shin Yamanote Hospital as his own mother was admitted there previously.
As the book continues, Miyazaki says he feels as if the spirit of My Neighbor Totoro has left Tokorozawa, but one of Studio Ghibli’s producers disagrees. When asked about the film, Toshio Suzuki felt the spirit was still there and has found it in places like Hachikokuyama Park.
Miyazaki takes a moment in the book to address whether or not Studio Ghilbi could recapture the charm of My Neighbor Totoro today. The director said the creatures made for the film were so perfect as Miyazaki “did not overthink it”. Replicating that sort of inspiration is plenty difficult, but fans are hoping it will strike again. After all, Miyazaki is working on a new feature-length Studio Ghibli flick, and the anticipated movie is expected to be the climax of the director’s filmography.
So, do you think it's about time you re-watched this Studio Ghibli classic? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB to talk all things comics and anime