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My Neighbor Totoro and a sense of foreboding

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My Neighbor Totoro and a sense of foreboding

Postby Narg » Sun Oct 13, 2019 11:10 pm

I thought it would be interesting to see if anyone else experienced this while watching My Neighbor Totoro. For a large portion of the film I felt a very strong sense that something was going to go badly wrong for the characters. The mysterious illness of the mother, the father arriving back from work after a worrying amount of time being late, the disappearance of the little sister. Each of these scenes felt like the movie was perilously close to something bad happening, but then it is revealed to have not been a dangerous situation in the first place. The mother really did just have a cold, the father missed his train, and the sister was found uninjured. This seemed to me like the film was making a deliberate gesture towards the possibility of tragedy in the story, but then pulled back each time. This feeling wasn't just me recognizing that the film was at least partially about fearing the death of a family member, but was me genuinely believing that the film was going to include a death of one of the family members. I'm guessing that this feeling is not exclusive to my experience with the film and is partially responsible for the "Totoro is a death god" theory. Was this just me interpreting the film differently or was this feeling intentional on the part of Miyazaki?

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