Hayao Miyazaki is the greatest animation director of all time. That said, every movie he has directed or even has been connected to is a glimpse into the world of drug addiction. Three type of people watch his movies: the clinically insane, children, and former flower fighters from the sixties looking to retain some type of buzz from a mushroom ingested forty years ago. The quality of every piece he does, however, is unquestionable. His movies contain beautifully drawn characters with well detailed background and angles inspired by everyday life. He is, of course, crazy but not in a bad way. More of an "I can predict the weather using the machine fashioned with my toenails that I removed with my own tongue" type of crazy.
My Neighbor Totoro is the story of a father who testifies against an organized crime family and, under the threat of death, decides to flee to a new town where he enters a witness protection program and, at night, shoots his two daughters up with heroin in order to watch them dance with the devil. All right, it is a kid's movie and the actual plot is toned down a bit, but one must read between the lines in certain situations. The story revolves around two young girls who move to a new town in order to be closer to their hospitalized mother. Everything seems normal until this giant Totoro shows up on their lawn, thrusting his pelvis in order to make trees grow. What is a Totoro you ask? Well, Totoros are mystical creatures that inhabit the world, protecting children and opening them to the world of magic. The catch, of course, is that Totoros only appear to good children, which disqualifies all of us. When the younger of the girls is lost, the main Totoro, using his magical cat bus, travels across electrical wires and safely finds her. In the end, the family is brought together and the world is returned to its natural state. Now pass me the bong.
It's a kids movie. So automatically, sense and rationality are thrown to the dogs. The film itself subscribes to the theory of barraging the viewer with a collection of annoying voices and music composed by the decomposing hand of Walt Disney. Watching this piece is like being in a car accident. In the beginning, it seems fun enough but eventually you understand that attempts to escape without harm are, of course, in vain. The movie raises several questions and never really gets around to illuminating on any type of answer. Why is the mother in the hospital? What, if not human souls, do the Totoro feed on? Why is an eighty something woman still farming? Why do I own the DVD and insist on watching it while lying upside down playing pong with my lips and a medicine ball?
If you took all of the cocaine from Scarface and mixed it with the latest release from Sigur Rós, the result would only be a fraction of a second from this movie. The only benefit is the sedation that follows from the mind trying to process what exactly is going on. This movie extends itself beyond the boarders of rational thought and will leave you stuttering to yourself as the music inspired by the karaoke styling of Carrot Top blares in the background. If you have ever wanted to commit a crime but were afraid of getting caught, this movie would serve as an excellent defense at your trial. It remains as one of my favorite movies, which means that my soul is safely in the possession of something evil and my mind is somewhere floating on the astral plane of purgatory searching for a decent Philly cheese steak.
Things you should look out for:
Your Daily Dose of Insanity:
"Mei and I had something incredible happen today. We both met Totoro. I really saw him and he even gave us a gift. It was a package wrapped up in bamboo leaves and tied in dragon whiskers. We opened it as soon as we got home and guess what was in it? Magic nuts and seeds!!!"
A Lesson Learned: Maybe the world isn't really filled with giant cat buses or mystical beings that watch over us. In this cynical world of color coated terrorism, maybe the dreams of our childhood and our children's dreams are dead. Hope however remains, and is always worth fighting to keep. Or maybe the world is filled with giant invisible creatures who control the weather and keep the elves from below the Earth's surface from causing the economic collapse of Canada. I'll leave that decision up to the reader.
Like unintentional drug flashbacks mixed with Japanese animation:
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