Is This the First Totoro Plushie?

Is This the First Totoro Plushie?

Is This the First Totoro Plushie?

Is this the very first Totoro plushie toy ever made? I found these photos online, claiming to be the original My Neighbor Totoro plushies from 1988. I cannot verify its authenticity, but the tag with Tokuma Shoten's information appears to checks out.

This is a very odd plushie, almost experimental, like it was assembled at a junior high school art class or your grandparents' nursing home. It does have a certain, albeit weird, charm. We must remind ourselves that Studio Ghibli was new to the merchandising game, and it took a while to properly learn the ropes.

It was the toys, after all, that made My Neighbor Totoro a success. Its double billing with Grave of the Fireflies was a major bust at the Japanese box office in 1988. Perhaps its style was just a bit too old-fashioned at the time. Remember that Akira was the hot property that year, as anime was going through its rebellious teenage phase. The simple childhood nostalgia of Totoro did not fit into that scene. It would take the growth of the toys, and the success of home video, to turn this hidden gem into a genuine classic.

And making a slightly less creepy plushie definitely helped. This is like that time Barney Gumble was dressed up to look like Krusty the Clown. "I am so Crunchy the Clown!"

1 comment:

Christopher Sobieniak said...

Certainly has the off-model nature to it. Certainly was a start if a start had to happen at all.

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