Title: My Neighbor Totoro (となりのトトロ)
Released: 1988

Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Class Superlative:
 Most Iconic

In a Land of Pure Imagination

Satsuki has just moved to a new house with her father and her little sister, Mei. (This family makes moving wayyyy more fun than it has any right to be.) While the girls wait for their mom to recuperate at a nearby hospital, they discover the friendly wood spirits in the forest.

Adorable Children Alert

Mei is way too adorbs! (With bonus Totoro of every size!) After all, this movie’s supposed to balance out the sadness of Grave of the Fireflies. So we’re gonna need all the cuteness we can get!

Like Kanta’s crush on Satsuki, which is THE GREATEST.

And this includes a non-child, but how cute is this fam jam!?

Lovable Anthropomorphic Sidekicks

ERMAGHERD, all of them!

Starting with King Totoro himself, obvs.

And his tinier counterparts! 

And of course, Catbus!

Don’t forget the soot sprites!

Wait, WTF?

I’m instituting a no-nudity clause. As in, they won’t be official WTF moments — since they’re all perfectly innocent and clearly not sexual. But the North American hang-up over nudiepants being what it is, I feel like I should at least address them, y’know? Anyway, the girls and their dad take a bath together. Their last name is not Dollanganger, so we have nothing to worry about. 

Anyway, my actual WTFery comes from the mom. Why was she in the hospital for so long? I seriously thought things would be taking a dark turn, and it’d be revealed that she was institutionalized. (Grave of the Fireflies has put me in a constant state of fear for animated characters.) But then the dad used the c-word* around her, so I guess not. 

*No, not that one! This is a beloved kids’ movie, for fuck’s sake. I meant ‘crazy’. 

Famous Voices

  • The sisters Fanning: Dakota as Satsuki, and Elle as Mei
  • Superman Tim Daly (as opposed to Tim Curry, which explains why I was waiting for a villain to appear) as the father
  • Lea Solanga (singing voices of Jasmine and Mulan, who, sadly, does not sing) as the mother
  • Frank Welker (ABU! And Fred from Scooby Doo, among other things — including other animals for Ghibli) as Totoro and Catbus
  • Pat Carroll (“Poooor unfortunate souls!”) as Granny

Class Superlative: Most Iconic

Well, Totoro is the Studio Ghibli logo, so it’s obviously a BFD. My Neighbor Totoro is so innocent and whimsical. It’s the kind of film that inspires children of all ages to let their imaginations run wild. 

Exploring the Studio Ghibli Vault


Mandy (she/her) lives in Edmonton, AB. When she’s not raiding the library for YA books, she enjoys eating ice cream (esp. in cold weather), learning fancy pole dance tricks, and stanning BTS. Mandy has been writing for FYA since 2012, and she oversaw all things FYA Book Club from 2013 to 2023.