|Image: "Totoro" By Amal FM: flickr.com|
Totoro is a Studio Ghibli classic, but for many, it was the first Japanese animation film to introduce them to the world of anime, since it became famous.
Totoro is a beautiful film about family and nature. While watching this touching film, the character who stood out the most to me and who quickly became my favorite character, is sweet adorable little Mei; Mei Kusakabe. Mei as a character is quite diverse and she has many different sides to her. She is sweet and cute as well, so today, I will analyze her character and show you her sweetest moments in the film.
Mei is a young child, so she has a lot of energy. She loves to explore the world and the environment around her. She is very inquisitive, so she finds herself in places that others would not be in. Having a sick mother who is in the hospital, and a hardworking father, Mei is generally left to her own devices. Many would see Mei's father as negligent, while others would see him as a father who is trying to raise two girls while also balancing work and a sick wife. Regardless though, being alone, Mei does risky dangerous things without seeing the danger in them. For example, she explored the forest all by herself. Forests are so big, that it is easy to get lost in them. There are also dangers in them, such as wild animals.
For Mei though, anything new, interesting, and foreign is fascinating, so when she sees Totoro in the forest for the first time, instead of being frightened by his large size and his big teeth like many other children would have been, Mei instantly attached to him and adored him. Mei reacts to Totoro as if he is a pet or a cuddly stuffed animal.
Being a child, Mei is very open to others as well as to her environment. She is also quite fearless. Exploration is part of a child's nature and it is how they learn, so Mei personifies all of these child-like attributes, but to an even greater extent that is unique to her personality.
Mei as a character is very loving sweet and adorable with a smile that is moving and infectious. Though Mei is also fearless, we do see moments where she is vulnerable and surprised by the things around her in the environment she finds herself in.
Despite having a sick mother, Mei also seems to be a very happy child. Mei is excited by life. She is full of joy and eager to help others. She has an enthusiastic and hopeful outlook on life. So there are moments in Totoro where Mei seems more grown up, and others where she is very much a child. She gets tired and exhausted more easily at times, and she is very dependent on her older sister, Satsuki.
More than her father, Satsuki seems to take on a motherly and sisterly role with Mei, since their mother is sick. When Mei is upset, scared, or sad, the person she needs and searches for is her big sister. When her sister is not an option because they fought, Mei prefers to be alone, instead of going to her father for comfort the way other children would, so Mei is a very independent child.
There is still another side to Mei that we see in Totoro. Mei can be very stubborn and determined. She does not like to give up. She does not like to hear things that are discouraging and which go against her beliefs and the things she is hopeful for. Mei's drive, determination, and fearlessness is so strong, that she even went a long distance from her home and family in order to try to get to the hospital by herself to see her mother. Mei is a practical child though. She realized that she made a mistake on her own, so she sat somewhere and waited to be found. Mei also kept herself calm for a while, so she is a very smart child and she can think through stressful events; something that is very difficult for young children to do.
Throughout Totoro, we see Mei bond much more with mother-like figures. She seems closer to them than with her father. This makes me think that Mei spent most of her time with her mother growing up, which makes sense because her father works a lot. So naturally, the parent she spends more time with would feel closer to her.
Mei's loving and trusting nature makes others adore her and feel close to her. Her very personality makes her a magnet for others. Mei is someone that you naturally want to be around and who is hard not to love. In anime, Mei is definitely one of the cutest, most adorable children in anime.