While in Los Angeles to accept an honorary award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, famed director Hayao Miyazaki mentioned that he has a new anime in the works, giving his fans around the globe huge smiles and racing pulses.
With no production timetable yet in place, though, we’re in for a bit of a wait until we can see the new anime. No one’s sure exactly how long that wait is going to be, but it’s probably going to be long enough that maintaining the level of excitement caused by Miyazaki’s comment isn’t going to be good for your heart. So if a few deep breaths aren’t enough to calm you down, we recommend taking a few moments to relax with this adorable Totoro stuffed animal that naps and murmurs in its sleep, just like the anime film original.
We spotted the snoozing forest spirit at the Ikebukuro branch of Donguri Kyowakoku, the chain of retailers that specializes in merchandise based on the films of Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli. While you’ll find towels, mugs, and key chains for all of Ghibli’s films, cuddly, good-natured Totoro is by far the most heavily represented of their collected casts.
Out of the many lovingly crafted scenes in 1988’s My Neighbor Totoro, one of the most memorable comes when four-year-old Mei goes exploring in the undergrowth near her country home. She stumbles upon the den of the title character/Ghibli mascot, who’s in the middle of arguably the most comfortable-looking nap in the history of film.
It’s perhaps the most soothing moment in a film fill of warm fuzzy feelings, and thus a great choice to be turned into a cuddly figure.
While the Inemuri Totoro (Napping Totoro) isn’t big enough for small children to sit on its chest, it is soft to the touch, and incredibly cute to look at.
Of course, if all it did was lie there, it wouldn’t be much different from just knocking a regular Totoro plush toy onto its back. Instead, the Inemuri Totoro moves and sleep talks.
Unlike the movie’s Totoro, which is powered by acorns and whimsy, the toy runs off three AA batteries. Once they’re inserted, squeeze Totoro’s hand, and he’ll come to (drowsy) life.
If Totoro is in a particularly deep sleep, he’ll snore happily as his chest rises and falls. At other times, though, he’ll say his name in his mighty, gale-producing voice, just like when inquisitive Mei asks who he is.
Donguri Kyowakoku sells the Inemuri Totoro for 4,500 yen (US$40). If a visit to Japan isn’t in your immediate travel plans, but owning a snoozing Totoro is, you can also order it online from Amazon Japan or Rakuten, here and here, respectively.
You know, if we’re being completely honest, we’re sort of tempted to call Totoro lazy, since he started that nap more than 25 years ago. Ordinarily, we’d say it’s time to get up, but how can we wake him when he just looks so cute?