Totoro is the God of Death.
Hayao Miyazaki is known for his beautiful, sprawling animated films that wrestle with some pretty hefty topics. And in kids movies that deal with spirit worlds and what not, it makes sense that the idea of mortality might lurk somewhere in the background. But HOLY SHIT, THE GOD OF DEATH?!
The idea here is that when Mei goes missing, she actually drowns. And since Totoro helps Satsuki find Mei, he is thus a gatekeeper to the realm of the dead. Therefore anyone who can see him is actually on the verge of receiving his wrath. But… they also find Mei at the end. And everything’s OK. AND Totoro then makes a tree grow really big really fast. Last time I checked, trees tend to be a pretty common symbol of life. Which makes him a pretty terrible GOD OF DEATH. Look, not everything has to be a reflection of our universal fear of mortality. So can we all just cool it? Let us ENJOY the goddamn movie. And go to therapy. Keep Reading