Even though I've been running Ghibli Blog for nearly a decade, I never spend nearly enough time talking about My Neighbor Totoro. You'd think I would take the hint and spend my every waking moment talking about Hayao Miyazaki's most famously-known movie. So here are several screenshots from one of my favorite scenes, where Mei tumbles into Totoro's lair.
I'm always impressed at how the little girl climbs onto the belly of a giant monster, and she's not afraid at all. It's the monster who's scared of her. He just sits there, silently staring, slightly puzzled. And then he goes back to sleep.
I can't think of an American animated feature that would portray such a meeting with such gentleness and quietness. The overwhelming temptation by the Hollywood studios would be a) make the big Totoro scary and frightening; b) play the scene for slapstick comedy; c) have Totoro voiced by some loud-mouthed comedian who wants to be Robin Williams; or d) have Totoro voiced by Robin Williams.
Thank God Hayao Miyazaki doesn't work in Hollywood. And Thank God for the background artist, Kazuo Oga. The artwork in this scene is absolutely gorgeous. Yeah, I really should be writing more about My Neighbor Totoro.