Supposedly, there is a particular fan theory about My Neighbor Totoro that claims Mei and Satsuki are dead towards the end of the movie and that the titular Totoro is a death god. Avid conspirators seem to have based the rumor on the production quality of the movie, particularly in regards to Mei and Satsuki allegedly not having visible enough shadows.
Toshio Suzuki, the producer of the beloved film, regularly speaks on Tokyo FM. They have a weekly program named Toshio Suzuki’s Sweaty Ghibli, during which Suzuki elaborates about his experiences. In a recent conversation with Miori Takimoto, who provided the Japanese voice of Naoko Satomi from The Wind Rises, Suzuki put down the rumor once and for all. The meat of the story is here:
“Everyone, please put your minds at ease. The rumors of Totoro being a death god, Mei being dead, and others rumors of the like are absolutely not true…Someone made them up because they sounded interesting to him or her, and it seems to have spread around the Internet. In regards to comments that “Satsuki and [Mei] don’t have shadows in the final scene,” it was merely decided that is wasn’t necessary to draw when producing the animation. We hope that people will not believe the rumors, and the PR department would like to officially announce that here.”
Admittedly we still do not know who or what Totoro and his friends really are. We do know that they are not gods or deities of the underworld. We can probably rest assured that, if there were kids talking about meeting up with Totoro, they would still come back in time for dinner.
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