Studio Ghibli’s famous animations became well-known inside and outside Japan. Movies like Howl’s Castle, Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke are not regarded as ‘children movies’, though Ponyo and Totoro seem to be more for a younger audience. Which does not mean that adults can not enjoy it as well!
As most fans are familiar with one of Studio Ghibli’s most famous work, ‘My neighbour Totoro’ (となりのトトロ), various theories have been discovered by the audience. Whether these theories are true, or not, they will definitely give you the creep.
The following theory is surely the most devastating: some believe, that Totoro is not the friendly forest spirit but the God of death.
Advocates of this rather dark theory say, that Totoro, the ‘god of death’, can only be seen by dead people. So when Mei, the little sister and one of the main characters goes missing, she drowned in the nearby pond. The sandal, that was being found is actually hers, though Satsuki, the older sister denies it. Satsuki can not face the truth and when searching Totoro, she access the world of dead and finds her sister. In the end, when the two sisters visit their mother in the hospital, the mother is the only one who had a feeling, her children were near. That is because she is, at that moment, very close to death, too.
Though Studio Ghibli denies these theories strongly, it is interesting to notice that in fan based theories, Sayama incident (狭山事件 Sayama Jiken) is often mentioned. It is about a murder case that happened on May 1st, 1963, where two sisters were involved and one murdered. The connection to Totoro is by this case’s circumstances, ‘a school girl goes missing on her way home’, and when inspecting Totoro’s main characters: both children are named after the month “May”, with the older one being named ‘Satsuki’, which is the old Japanese name for the month of May, and her younger sister ‘Mei’, which is pronounced same as the English word ‘May’.