by Siti Fatonah
Kutub.id – Environmental issues are not only of environmental activists or observers’ concerns, but also the attention of filmmakers. Many films specifically raise the said issues. Learning about that becomes enjoyable while presented in an exciting media. One of them is an animation film entitled My Neighbor Totoro.
My Neighbor Totoro (Tonari no Totoro) is a 1988 anime produced by Studio Ghibli and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. Although it was long produced, the issues brought are quite relevant to the current concern where the climate crisis became a huge topic and was presented to be the main concern in many countries, some of them were presented in UN legal instruments.
The story begins with the family of a young professor, Kusakabe and his two daughters, Satsuki and Mei, who moved to a countryside near a hospital where their mother was treated. The professor’s family occupied a house close to a large sacred tree which is believed to be inhabited by a forest guardian spirit.
Once upon a time, Mei entered the tree and met a strange creature which she called Totoro. Satsuki and Mei are children open to imaginary creatures such as gods and fairies, thus, they can be good friends with Totoro who is believed to be the guardian spirit of the forest.
Personally, I like the friendship that Satsuki and Mei have built with Tatoro. The depiction is so warm, the interdependence built seems to tell the audience that humans and nature are an inseparable unity. It was illustrated in the scene when Satsuki lends an umbrella to Totoro while raining and he runs in the rain to his house. Once returning, Totoro gave Satsuki a magical seed that grew into a green plant. Their friendship symbolizes a harmonious relationship between humans and nature.
Tatoro himself is described as a creature with a large body and has quite unique characteristics, such as having thick fur, a cat-like mustache, small and round eyes, a couple of tiny ears and feet. He is actually a strong and kind-hearted forest guard. His depiction is quite funny but sometimes scary when he smirks. Totoro has a hobby of sleeping under a lime tree and his roar produces a great gust of wind.
Like other anime films, My Neighbor Totoro contains elements of fantasy with a high level of imagination on my sight. But don’t worry, Sahabat Kutub will not need to think it heavily as the plot is presented to be light and has no heavy conflict.
Miyazaki’s work, which is identical with family, friendship and the environment’s theme, is depicted in its entirety in the film. The characters that I like are Mei and Satsuki’s parents who believe in their children’s stories about the spirit of the universe. Of course, the adorable Totoro too which can only be seen by Mei and Satsuki. Their parents often remind them to respect and appreciate the spirits of the universe by protecting the environment.
My Neighbor Totoro is not just a children’s film, but more than that, it is a reminder for all of us about building unity with nature. Once we take care of nature, nature will take care of us. As depicted by the interactions between the Mei-Satsuki sisters and Totoro, when they are in trouble Totoro definitely helps and vice versa.
So are Sahabat Kutub interested in watching it?
Happy watching! Let’s together protect the nature we love for the future!
Original title : Tonari no Totoro
English title : My Neighbor Totoro
Audio/language : Japanese
Genre : animation, comedy, family (IMDb)
Ratings : G (parents guide)
Release date : April 16, 1988
Duration : 1h 26m
Director : Hayao Miyazaki
Producer : Toru Hara
Production house : Ghibli Studios
Read original article in Indonesian language here