This essay will examine the relationship between mankind and nature in My Neighbour Totoro (Hara & Miyazaki, 1988). It will also analyze the characters’ interactions with one another and explain how they affect our engagement with the film’s larger themes. The film’s larger themes which would be analyzed are nostalgia and environmentalism.
Nostalgia is described as a sentimental longing for the past (Tang, 2014). As a matter of fact, the larger theme of My Neighbour Totoro (Hara & Miyazaki, 1988) is reminiscing the strong essence of childhood in children and adults alike in the late 1980s. The film starts off with the Kusakabe family - Mei, Satsuki and Tatsuo sitting in a moving van, going through the Japanese…show more content… This is one of the most poignant lines from the film which strongly represents environmentalism. Intrinsically, environmentalism is another theme predominant in My Neighbour Totoro (Hara & Miyazaki, 1988). Environmentalism is defined as the way man interacts with nature (Okuhara, 2006). According to ancient Japanese beliefs and practices, gods and spirits are in everything. The Japanese belief system, Shinto, has influenced most of the film in practicing environmentalism because it believes that mankind should live in harmony with nature (Yuen, 2012).
This can be seen in the scene where Satsuki and Mei are eager to learn about their new environment when they move into their new home. They explore the nature surrounding them by running around and identifying things they see which helps them develop an empathy and a bond. This is evident throughout the film as they perceive the nature surrounding them as affable, mystical and enticing. Thus, Totoro is reckoned to be the protagonist or better known as the “king of the forest” in the film because he represents nature and is seen helping the family when Mei goes missing as they are respectful to him and his friends (Hara & Miyazaki,