I loved this movie when I was young, but my view of it shifted dramatically post-puberty. Themes that flew over my head suddenly made sense, and where as a kid I saw a wildly fun fairy-tail, I now saw a nostalgic and bittersweet ode to the magic of childhood. Leave it to Miyazaki to make a coming-of-age allegory that changes for a viewer coming of age ("You only see him when you're very young...")
Great film. Though I must say I enjoy his other films a lot more. It also feels slight, like it could have gone further. However, it is very impressive that it avoids cliches and easy conflicts; fostering a plethora of healthy themes like environmentalism, family, friendship, altruism, and perseverance. I do love it and maybe it will grow on me more upon a re-watch or two. A great kids movie. In Miyazaki we trust.
By my reckoning, Miyazaki's most perfect film. Almost bruising in its tranquility. It captures long-forgotten sensations of childhood. Mei is such an adorable little frog. Surely everyone feels a slight shock of panic when the shoe is discovered in the lake and a jolt of sadness when Satsuki shouts at her that their mother is going to die. Totoro doesn't need to be a death god for the film to be melancholy and wise.