After the unforgettable “The Day I Bought A Star” (星を買った日), Mei and the Kitten Bus (めいとこねこバス) was the 2nd anime short that I caught on my next trip to Ghibli Museum. Located in Mitaka, the museum is a brisk 30 minutes cycle from where I live in West Tokyo.
Unlike “The Day I Bought A Star”, which some of my blog readers have commented is a tad hard to understand, Mei and the kitten Bus is exactly as the title suggests – Mei’s encounter with a kitten bus that has wandered into the house and their short but wondrous adventure that follows, ala Totoro lite. Indeed, Miyazaki-san himself have commented that “This piece was made specially for children.” – and the child in all of us, I believe. The short does require you to have some prior knowledge of the characters, so if you have seen the original Totoro film, (who hasn’t ?) you will be greatly rewarded.
(above) What a buckload of Totoros ! A total of about 15000 animation drawings were necessary to complete this 14 minutes short, with the most massive scenes taking place in the forest – I though this might be an opportune time to mention the Totoro Forest Project.
(above) Sakamoto Chinatsu, now aged 50, reprises her role as Mei some 14 years after the original – quite a testament to the amazing talent of anime voice actors/actresses. (below) The one and only Joe Hisashi writes and conducts the music for the short.
Availability : This book is only available for purchase from the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, Japan.
The original Totoro film was never screened in theatres in my hometown Singapore, so watching Mei and the Kitten Bus on the big screen was in a way, a small dream come true. For those who saw this at the museum, what were your afterthoughts ?