My Neighbor Totoro (movie)
Go back to My Neighbor Totoro main page
The names of Satsuki and Mei actually mean more or less the same thing: the month of May. "Satsuki" is an old-fashioned name for the fifth month of the old lunar calendar, whereas "Mei" (although written in hiragana in the film credits, as befits a pre-schooler) can be read as a Japanization of the English name "May".
Winner of the 1989 Seiun Award in the category Best Media of the Year.
On its original theatrical release in Japan, it was double-featured with Grave of the Fireflies as the film was believed to be too big a financial risk as a standalone release.
The forest creatures and title characters of this movie got their name when Mei, the little girl who first sees them in the film, mispronounces the word "troll". At one point in the original Japanese language version, when Satsuki first finds Mei sleeping in the grove behind their house, Mei tells her sister she saw a "totoro". Satsuki replies, "Totoro, do you mean troll, from the storybook?" and Mei nods in agreement. This aspect of the story was left out of the 1993 Fox English version, probably because the difference between ""to-ro-ru" (the Japanese pronunciation of "troll") and "to-to-ro" would have been lost on English-speaking audiences. The quote is included in the 2006 Disney English version.
Hayao Miyazaki originally conceived the characters Satsuki and Mei as a single girl. He wanted to add suspense to the latter half of the film, and he felt it wouldn't work with just a single girl, so he split her into two separate girls.
The film is partially autobiographical. When Hayao Miyazaki and his brothers were children, his mother suffered from spinal tuberculosis for nine years, and spent much of her time hospitalized. It is implied, yet never revealed in the film, that Satsuki and Mei's mother also suffers from tuberculosis. He once said the film would have been too painful for him to make if the two protagonists were boys instead of girls.
The movie initially did not do well at the box office, and did not break even until about two years after the release when stuffed dolls based on the King Totoro character hit the shelves.
Totoro became the mascot of Studio Ghibli sometime after the release of this film.
|You can contribute information to this page, but first you must login or register|