Terrifying Urban Legends of My Neighbor Totoro



My Neighbor Totoro harbors various urban legends. Whether you believe them or not is up to you

“My Neighbor Totoro” is often considered one of the leading Studio Ghibli films beloved by children.

With the responsible older sister and the slightly disobedient and selfish younger sister, many people can relate to the characters and their dynamics.

Additionally, the fantastical elements of the story enhance the charm of this film, inspiring countless boys and girls who wish they could ride on a Catbus just like that.

This article has been translated using ChatGPT. Please be aware there may be some awkward phrasing.

Theory: The story of “My Neighbor Totoro” is the father’s delusion.

Theory: The father of Satsuki and Mei is diligently writing in his study at home, surrounded by many books. What do you think he is writing about?

In reality, he is writing the story of Satsuki and Mei.

This is one of the urban legends surrounding “My Neighbor Totoro.”

According to this theory, before moving to this new place, Satsuki and Mei had passed away in some way. As a result, their mother suffered both mentally and physically and ended up hospitalized. The father, imagining how his daughters would have enjoyed their lives if they were still alive, is writing the story based on this delusion.

There is a theory that “My Neighbor Totoro” is based on the Sayama Incident.

The Sayama Incident

The Sayama Incident” refers to an unsolved case of a missing girl that occurred in Sayama City, Saitama Prefecture in 1963. At that time, a 5-year-old girl disappeared from her home, and extensive search efforts were carried out, but she was never found. This incident shocked the entire country and remained unsolved, becoming a longstanding urban legend. The theory of “The Sayama Incident” serving as a motif in “My Neighbor Totoro” suggests that elements of this unsolved case were incorporated into the story

The Saya-mura Incident occurred on May 1, 1963. In English, May is referred to as “May,” while in Japan it is called “Satsuki” or “Satsuki-zuki.”

Furthermore, the victim of the incident was the younger sister of the siblings involved.

The large box had the words “Sayama Tea” written on it…

The setting of “My Neighbor Totoro” is said to be in Sayama City. The hospital where the mother is hospitalized is called “Shichigokuyama Hospital,” which is said to be modeled after a hospital located within the Hachigokuyama Green Space on the eastern side of the Sayama Hills.

By the way, in the scene where they are unpacking after the move, there is a large box behind Grandma with the clear words “Sayama Tea” written on it.

There is a theory that the Totoros in “My Neighbor Totoro” were actually death gods.

In “My Neighbor Totoro,” there is a line spoken by Satsuki that goes, “Totoro? Is that a troll from a picture book?”

In this scene, Satsuki directly refers to Totoro as a troll.

Trolls are mythical creatures that are passed down in various cultures around the world. They are often depicted as fairy-like beings, with some versions portraying them as adorable creatures, while others depict them as terrifying and monstrous entities.

In countries where trolls are portrayed as grotesque beings, they are said to cause mischief, abduct people, and even devour them.

Considering that legend, it can be speculated that Totoro is actually a death spirit or a fairy-like entity that leads to death.

It is possible that Satsuki and Mei encountered a mysterious fairy and were enticed towards death in the story…

The theory suggests that Satsuki and Mei from “My Neighbor Totoro” are deceased.

The theory originated from the observation that “Satsuki and Mei’s shadows are not depicted in the latter half of the story.” While the shadows of other villagers are shown during Mei’s disappearance, Satsuki and Mei’s shadows are absent.

There is a common perception that “no shadow equals ghost equals deceased.” Therefore, it is believed that Satsuki and Mei have passed away at that point in the story.

May falls into the pond and tragically passes away, and Satsuki realizes what happened and hurries to Totoro’s side.

As mentioned earlier, there is a hidden theory that Totoro is a death god, and this event further enhances its credibility.

When Satsuki tells Totoro to “find Mei,” it essentially means that she wants to be taken to Mei’s location, which is the afterlife…

In the final scene where they visit their mother’s hospital room, Satsuki and Mei are simply observing the room from atop a large tree.

Despite the great effort they made to deliver the corn, they don’t directly meet their mother and instead quietly leave the corn behind before returning. This may seem plausible for a sensible character like Satsuki, but for a stubborn and deeply affectionate 4-year-old girl who loves her mother, it seems unlikely.

Therefore, it can be natural to consider that meeting their mother directly was physically impossible… that they had become spirits or ghosts.

In conclusion,

Finally, in this article, we have explored several urban legends surrounding ‘My Neighbor Totoro.’ These urban legends have spread among fans, sparking discussions and interpretations about the deeper aspects and mysteries of the film. However, it’s important to remember that urban legends are products of fans’ imaginations and interpretations and may differ from the official storyline.

‘My Neighbor Totoro’ is a captivating fantasy work that has captured the hearts of both children and adults. It allows each viewer to enjoy the story in their own way, creating a unique and personal experience. This is one of the remarkable aspects of anime and movies.

That concludes our presentation on urban legends. I hope you have enjoyed it.”