It's such a shame they only show this at the Studio Ghibli museum in Tokyo. I went to the museum hoping to see this but unfortunately they alternate it with 10 other movies so you would be a very lucky person indeed to see this in good quality.
However somebody managed to film a bit of it on their camera phone and uploaded it to the internet so this is the version most people are probably familiar with. It's obviously very bad quality but better than nothing and I really hope that one day Studio Ghibli decide to release this for everyone.
The Ghibli museum is a
wonderful place to visit and I'm sure releasing these short films would do absolutely nothing to harm them, please release them for the world to see!
First of all, keep in mind that this was made exclusively for the Ghibli museum in Japan. It has never been officially released outside of the museum, and the film itself has never been solidly leaked online either. Your only way to watch it is to either go to the museum or watch one of the few camrip versions. The camrips are not pretty, but it's not like they will prevent you from getting any enjoyment out of it. With that said, it's time to review the film itself.
This is a short film that takes place after the events of My Neighbor Totoro. The younger
sister, Mei, meets the child of the Catbus, and they do a little bit of exploring. It's cute, just like My Neighbor Totoro was. However, it is still only a 15 minute short. The "story" is more of a series of short interactions between Mei and various magical creatures. It should go without saying, but there was no conflict whatsoever.
Artwork is well done, in the same style as My Neighbor Totoro. At multiple points during this short film, they managed to include the signature Ghibli imagery of a young girl innocently interacting with something that most people would find to be off-putting. Gives you the idea that she's so innocent that she doesn't know that she's supposed to be bothered by it. I wont give you an example, since it would count as a spoiler, but you'll know what I mean if you watch it.
Sound is greatly lacking. The background music was just some edited version of the intro song from My Neighbor Totoro(which was used as background music throughout Totoro as well) and I found it to be fairly boring, since it was pretty much just repeating over and over over the course of the short film. Also, and this is my opinion which may anger other Ghibli fanatics, Mei's voice acting is poor. It puts me on edge because it is far too loud and abrasive. I know it is meant to mimic the energy of a spunky young girl, but its just too loud for comfort. Again, that is my opinion, and you'll have to watch it yourself to make any final judgment on the topic.
Characters are fine. Mei, Totoro, and Catbus were already established in My Neighbor Totoro, and you get about as much character depth out of Kittenbus as you could hope to get out of a magical cat that lets people ride around in its body.
Enjoyment: I thought it was cute. Its main goal was to drive home the feeling of childish innocence and playfulness, and it succeeded. I enjoyed it as an extra bonus to Totoro.
Overall, I think it's a nice extra. Could it have made a good stand-alone film? Absolutely not. You would be bored and potentially confused if you watched this before watching My Neighbor Totoro. Just watch it if you wanna feel nostalgic about Totoro.
PS: You can torrent the camrip off of Bakabt. The one on Bakabt has fantastic audio and it is subbed. I have no idea whether My Anime List gets angry if you talk about torrents in your reviews, but oh well.
I decided to do a review on this short film because i really enjoyed it and lets just say it did not disappoint from its parent anime film my neighbour totoro.
like all spin offs i thought that this short film would be a let down to its parent film as my neighbour totoro was unique and did not need a spin off however i was wrong the storyline flowed from its parent film aswel as making yet another unique film.However i wished it could have been longer but then again not all things last forever.
secondly the art like all studio ghibli films was just amazing
and the creativeness like in my neighbour totoro just amazed me how they used the art to portray certain events.
thirdly the sound did lack in some areas in my opinion in certain areas in the film i think it could have been more dramatic making a more deeper climax but i think that the art made up for this and balanced it out.
In this short anime spin off the characters had lovely bonds carrying on from its parent anime and i also think this spin off helps the audience gain more understanding in this bond beetween making my neighbour totoro also seem more understood.
as you can probley gather i really enjoyed this anime i would really recommend it if you love anime with nice art qualities,a fan of studio ghibli and if you liked the parent anime my neighbour totoro. However this was a special anime aired at the studio ghibli museum for a limited amount of time and ive herd from alot of people that its hard to find but i think its worth it.
i hope this review helped ^_^