This may be old news to some, but I just came across this today.
I was looking up some music from “Nausicca of the Valley of the Wind” and “Princess Mononoke”, and happened across this interesting theory regarding “My Neighbor Totoro”.
The idea is that the the whole story is based on an actual occurrence that happened in Japan in 1963, referred to as the Sayama Incident.
Here is a link to an article about the whole thing if you want to read a bit about it- http://my.opera.com/sukekomashi-gaijin/blog/tonari-no-totoro
According to this theory, Totoro and the other 2 spirits that accompany him are Shinigami (grim reapers), whom only people dead or soon to die can see, and the Catbus is the vehicle that takes spirits away to the afterlife. Also, the two sisters, Mei and Satsuki, are both dead by the end of the film, which is why they are able see Totoro and the Catbus.
I’m sure there are a lot of holes in this theory, but I think its interesting all the same. Here’s the link again if you want to read about it some.
Studio Ghibli has denied that this theory is true. But curiously, Hayao Miyazaki started working in the industry in 1963, the same year as the incident that this theory is supposed to be based on. You never know, there could be some truth to this theory…
Every year, right about this time, I start to think about the warm weather, sitting on the beach, surfing, and not having to bundle up every single day. Then I get sad that I still have to wait several months, and then I draw beachy-themed pictures all the time…
I included my initial sketch too.