I never knew her name but I have loved herwork. Japanese animator Makiko Futaki of animating powerhouse Studio Ghibli passed away this month at age 57.

You may not recognise her name but you may recognise some of the films she worked on –  My Neighbour Totoro (1988), Akira (1988),  Princess Mononoke (1997), Spirited Away (2001) and Howl’s Moving Castle (2004).

In honour of Futaki redmangoreviews will be reviewing five of her films over the next five days in chronological order beginning with My Neighbour Totoro.

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Fun time

I had been hearing about this movie for awhile now and finally decided to sit down and watch it. And my goodness this movie is enchanting. I felt like a kid reading a story book and being wrapped up in a world of imagination.

The story is simple enough. Young sisters Satsuki and Mei move to an old house with their father, a professor, to be closer to the hospital where their mother is recovering from an unspecified illness. In the woods near the house they meet the magical wood spirits called Totoros; two small ones and one very large one. They also meet a cat bus whose eyes are headlights. I LOVED the cat bus. He was too cool.

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All aboard!

The colours are bright and vivid and the animation is breathtaking. Strong Satsuki and curious Mei are adorable. The big Totoro is odd, silly, playful and wondrous. The scene when Satsuki bounces on his belly and when he “makes it rain” are personal favorites.

The movie really captures a feeling of childlike awe and innocence. There is no villain or menace but a sense of adventure and discovery abounds.

RATING: For the beautiful animation and childlike sense of wonder My Neighbour Totoro gets 4/4 crazy cat buses.

So have you seen My Neighbour Totoro? What’s your favorite Futaki film? Feel free to hit me a comment below.

For part 2 where we review iconic cyber punk flick Akira you can click here and for part 3 where we review fantasy adventure Princess Mononoke you can click here. For more fantastic movie posts you can follow me @suprememango012.

I’m outie like a navel. L8rs