Hayao Miyazaki, the famed Japanese animator, announced that he is retiring a few weeks ago. Miyazaki animated and directed one of my all-time favorite movies, one called My Neighbor Totoro.
It is the story of two young girls who live with their father in 1958 Japan. Their mother is sick in the hospital so the family moves into a new home to be closer. As the family gets used to their surroundings, the two girls discover they have a very special neighbor.
It is such an amazingly gentle movie, one very much at odds with the typical hero-worship faire of Western culture. I’ve found with my own daughters, about the same age as Sasuki and Mei, that they have this amazing ability to seamlessly intermix the “real” world with their “pretend” world. Few movies I’ve ever seen embody this ability like My Neighbor Totoro.
The version I’ve seen is the English version released by Disney and voiced by Tim Daly and two of the Dakota sisters. It is definitely available through Netflix or to purchase from Amazon.