Studio Ghibli fan-favorite My Neighbor Totoro is often praised for its nostalgic charm as an animated film that simply depicts and innocent and fun romp, with the titular character being the big fluffy friend we all wish could take us on imaginary adventures.

If you've followed the fandom closely, however, you may have heard of a twisted fan theory that was circulated by Japanese internet users, claiming that Totoro is actually a shinigami (死神), or god of death, visible only to those who have passed away or nearing death. The theory is based around the idea that Mei's disappearance in the film ended with her drowning, Satsuki being unable to deal with that dark truth, and encountering Totoro as a god of death. It's backed by certain happenings in the film and even tied to an urban legend of two sisters who died in Sayama Hills (where the film is said to take place), who claimed to have seen a cat ghost before dying.


Source: YouTube

Although it's been denied by Studio Ghibli and more or less debunked, the dark theory has spawned somewhat of a macabre lore regarding the film--with the latest entry being this fanmade trailer for My Neighbor Totoro as a Japanese horror film posted by Twitter user @nobu_llllllllll.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.