Before the electric mouse came into existence, Japan and anime fans around the globe during the late ’80s idolized another forest creature, and its name is Totoro. News broke today on Chunichi that Japan would be receiving a new theme park that would resemble the likeliness of the beloved Studio Ghibli film My Neighbor Totoro.
This new experience would be included as part of the Aichi Prefecture which hosted the 2005 World Expo near Nagoya. This newly renovated part of Aichi Prefecture is expect to open around early 2020. In the spirit of Studio Ghibli and its pro-environmental themes, the park is said to create the world of My Neighbor Totoro without disturbing any of the wildlife, including the felling of trees.
My Neighbor Totoro was Studio Ghibli’s third feature film and the second from director Hayao Miyazaki. The story captures the innocence of childhood when two girls, Satsuki and Mei, move to the countryside and meet rabbit-like spirits who lead them to a forest guardian they call “Totoro”. They go on epic adventures high in the sky, ride a Catbus, and perform ceremonial dances.
For the uninitiated to the wonders that is My Neighbors Totoro, check out the trailer from the original 1988 animated feature film:
As you can see, there are plenty of options from the film that the theme park can cull from. Perhaps they’ll build a ride similar Disneyland where instead of riding on Dumbo you ride on the back of a Totoro. In particular, I just want to ride a Catbus. Already within the Aichi Prefecture lives a life sized recreation of Satsuki and Mei’s house. Inside, visitors can catch a glimpse of Japanese life in the mid to late ’50s complete with a Goemon bathtub.
If you want to catch My Neighbor Totoro back on the big screen, Fathom Events is hosting a Studio Ghibli Fest starting at the end of the month with with Totoro kicking off the marathon.