"My Neighbor Totoro" is a Japanese animation film that once you watch it, you fall in love with it. Many people can agree to that.
However, what if I told you there is a theory about a dark secret behind such an innocent film?
Satsuki and Mei are DeadEdit
The film is about sisters Satsuki and Mei moving to the countryside with their dad. Their mom is in a hospital due to an illness. Mei meets Totoro, but she is the only one able to see him.
Later in the movie, Mei, the younger sibling, goes missing, and Satsuki, the oldest, looks for her. There is a scene where the old lady next door finds a slipper near a lake. Fearing that Mei may have drowned, the old lady asks Satsuki if the slipper belongs to Mei when she arrives at the scene. Satsuki says "It's not Mei's" and everyone is relieved. However, this is where the theory starts.
The theory is that the slipper did in fact belong to Mei and she has drowned, but Satsuki lied to relieve the adults. Theory backs up this point with the fact that the slipper is the same color as Mei's shoes were.(This will be important later in the pasta.)
Another weird thing is if you look closely at Mei in the later half of the film, her shadow is more transparent than it was in the first half. Her shadows become more faint.
Then, when Satsuki is calling out her sister's name, and running around, she passes by Ojizou-san( the stone statues). These Ojizou-san is usually found near actual graveyards in Japan. Ojizou-san are also said to be guardians of children's souls. If you look at the scene frame-by-frame, there's the name "Mei" engraved in one of the statues.
After that, there's a scene where Mei is all alone, next to 6 Ojizou-san (this will become important later in the pasta). Miyazaki is the creator of the name which translated means ‘shrine cape’. Shrine like the six ojzou-san. Isn't it weird the animators put that scene?
At the end of the movie where the two sisters are united, they leave corn by their mom and they are sitting on a tree with Totoro. The question is, why didn't they directly go to see her? This might suggest that they are dead by this point. And then, their mother says an unforgettable line; "I think i just heard Satsuki and Mei laughing just now". If she's able to hear her supposedly-dead daughters, wouldn't that suggest she herself is close to death as well or is already dead?
Also, the name of the hospital that their mom is at is named Shichikokuyama (七国山病院). In Japan, there is an hospital called Hachikokuyama (八国山病院). Notice how these two hospitals have identical names? Not to mention Hachikokuyama hospital is located in almost the same environment as does the hospital in the movie.
In the credit scene we see the photo of the family, but mom and dad look a lot younger than during the main film. This suggests that the photo was taken before the movie and not after. Thank you.
Connection to Sayama caseEdit
In May of 1963, at a part of Japan called Sayama, a high school girl gets kidnapped. Her older sister desperately looks for her. A few days later, they find the younger sister brutally murdered. It is said her slipper was found near the spot where they found her body and 6 Ojizou-san were near her body.
Satsuki(五月) means May(the month) in Japanese, and the name "Mei" sounds like the english word "May".
Also, at the beginning of the movie when the old lady picks up the box that was dropped, the box is labelled 狭山茶, Sayama Tea. According to the rumors, Tea field is where the older sister delivered the ransom for her sister. Near the end you will notice a man in a field working when Satsuki is searching for Mei.
Totoro=God of Death Edit
The cute-looking racoon-like Totoro actually represents a grim reaper, or the God of Death. In many cultures, grim reapers can only be seen by those who are dead or those who are close to death. So what does it mean that Mei and Satsuki are able to see Totoro?
The Cat-bus destination panel flashes 墓道, which can be translated to "Path of Grave", then the panel flashes the name, めい (Mei), as Satsuki gets on. And then there's the song verse that goes "He comes to you, only when you are still a child". But why can't the next door kid Kanta see him?
At the beginning, Only Mei is able to see Totoro, and Satsuki can see him after Mei goes missing. Satsuki calls out to Totoro, before she can see him, "Mei is all alone and crying. Please take me to her". Immediately Satsuki can see Totoro afterwards. This indicates that she called out to the God of Death to take her so she can be reunited with her sister.
Written by sgy0003