Released in 1988, "My Neighbor Totoro" is a classic Japanese animated film directed by Hayao Miyazaki and produced by Studio Ghibli. The film has captured the hearts of people around the world with its magical portrayal of childhood imagination and its depiction of a charming forest spirit named Totoro. However, despite its fame and popularity, there are still some fascinating secrets about the film that not many people are aware of. Here are five of them:
- The Double Feature Release
Despite being such an iconic movie, "My Neighbor Totoro" wasn't released as a standalone film. Instead, it was initially released as part of a double feature alongside "Grave of the Fireflies." These two movies, with their contrasting themes, were intended to complement each other and showcase the diversity of Studio Ghibli's cinematic offerings.
- The Inspiration Behind Totoro
The character of Totoro, the lovable forest spirit, was inspired by a religious concept in Shintoism, a traditional religion of Japan. In Shintoism, spirits are believed to reside in trees, rocks, and other natural objects. Miyazaki was fascinated by this concept and used it as the inspiration for Totoro.
- The Real-Life House That Inspired the Film
The house that the main characters move into at the start of the film was based on a real house that Miyazaki visited in the countryside of Japan. He was so impressed by the house's unique design and picturesque surroundings that he decided to use it as the basis for the movie's setting.
- Financial Difficulties during Production
Although "My Neighbor Totoro" is now recognized as a masterpiece, its production faced significant financial difficulties. Studio Ghibli was a relatively new company at the time and was struggling to make ends meet. Miyazaki himself had to personally fund parts of the production, and the film's budget was so tight that the animators had to reuse some of the background art from previous Ghibli productions.
- Totoro's Voice Actor Was Just A Child
Finally, the voice actor for Totoro was not a professional voice actor, but instead, a young girl named Chika Sakamoto. Miyazaki wanted a child's voice to play Totoro to enhance the character's childlike nature, so he cast Sakamoto, who was the daughter of a friend.
In conclusion, "My Neighbor Totoro" is a film that has captured the hearts of many people around the world, and these five secrets help to shed some light on its unique origins and production. From the film's original release as a double feature to the real-life house that inspired the movie's setting, these fascinating facts provide a glimpse into the creative process behind this magical and beloved film.