The film, my neighbor Totoro presents us with how reality can be viewed. Unlike other films, the characters in this book constitute animals. Miyazaki, an author of the book believes that reality can be viewed from a more direct experience. The way the book is organized is an indication of the confidence Miyazaki has in his claims. Miyazaki claims that he is not interested in religion but that he is interested in “spirits” in Japanese way of life (Mccarthy 121). At the superficial value, the statement may look unreligious, an antichrist and associated with cult. However, as I would explore this it would turn out that Miyazaki is right in his own thinking.
The film, unlike other common films has used animals as characters. In the book, children are the main heroes. Miyazaki’s children are believed to lack interior motives. They constitute characters with good values, innocence, alive, active, and wise (Mccarthy 120). The children seem to have direct encounters with nature and life this is because they have values that are still “clean.” Allies to these children are the elderly. The mid life individuals are excluded due to some reasons that I would explore. The plot of the film is flowing. Vegetable have been used to describe the general plot. This has been associated with the daily life knowledge embodied in farming (Mccarthy 121). Plot describes the care of one another. The aspect of voice is highly stressed, the film beliefs that it is the voice and not language that matters. It believes that voice is an expression of inner strength, determination, and power.
Beliefs, values, and ethos
According to this film, reality or life lies within every individual. The truth can be only found if we can understand ourselves. The use of children as the main heroes has its symbolic significance. Unlike other film, it would be realized that what we normally think as truth may actually turn out to be false, what we normally thing as legitimate may not be as legitimate as such. In other words, life may not be what we expect. Just as the Miyazaki puts, that he is not interest in religion but he is interested in Japanese way of life, we would realize that being in a certain religion might not qualify someone to be religious. Religion is just a term used to describe an organization of people with a common belief (Miyazaki & Watsuki 67).
The film believes that the search for truth or rather reality does not require any profession. Any common person can get it. Actually, each one of us is entitled to a certain power and strength. This power lies in the minds. The minds are thus a powerful tool through which we can explore, understand, and make sense of our environment. Through our mind, we can see beyond the horizon. On the other hand, our minds can be easily manipulated by the worldly desires and materials. A manipulated mind would then interpret things to us according to the kinds of manipulation it underwent. That is why the film did not include categorize the middle aged as important characters. The use of animals, children, and the elderly has a very important significance as far as the theme of the film is concerned. To make this point clear, this work would analyze the relevance or the significance of each character separately (Miyazaki & Watsuki 47).
In the film children appears to be the heroes of the film. The main reason being that the director of the film wants to pass the realty the way it is. Just as we know, children constitute a group of individuals whose minds are still “clean and clear” in other words, children can perceive the environment directly. They do not choose or judge whatever they encounter. Their minds are very “sterile” and “creative.” It is only through a sterile mind that we can get the truth. The truth or reality does not require a very complex mind or an excellent academic performance. The truth can only be elucidated through a direct encounter between a sterile mind, free of choice and judgments. Children’s minds thus represent minds, which are relatively sterile. The minds of the middle-aged individuals on the other hand have been contaminated with the worldly desires, accumulation, association, and imitation. Therefore, they cannot perceive the truth in direct way. They are very choosy and judgmental. They judge situations basing on the imitation and accumulation they have had in their lifetime (Miyazaki & Watsuki 107).
Elderly on the other hand tend to have mature minds. They no longer are swayed by the desires of this world. Therefore, their significance in this film is that they can be valuable in guiding the children. The use of animals as characters is very significant as far as the theme of this film is concerned (Miyazaki & Watsuki 117). From ecological standpoint, animals and human being fall under the same category of living things. They share the same biological properties. The only distinguishing feature is that human being is rational. However, the film tends to encourage the mutual existence between the animas and the human beings. The fact that human being is rational should not bring any division between animals and human beings. With sterile mind, a mutual coexistence is possible. However if we become judgmental, it would be impossible for us to exercise this kind or relationship (Miyazaki & Watsuki 97)
The aspect of voice or sound also comes out clearly. According to the Miyazaki, sound is very important aspect of life. It signifies the inner strength and power. In other words, it is the inner strength which matters a lot and that with this inner strength, life can become very feasible and real. Actually, the author is trying to pass out information that we should rely in our inner strength (Miyazaki & Watsuki 27).
Mccarthy Helen. Hayao Miyazaki: Master of Japanese Animation. Stone Bridge Press. 1999. Pp.
Miyazaki Hayao & Nobuhiro Watsuki. The Art of My Neighbor Totoro. Viz. The University of
Michigan. 2005. Print