Little Known Infos About "My Neighbor Totoro" Preproduction
Chances are, you may have seen this poster from the iconic Ghibli film:
However, you may remember as well, that there are in fact two female lead characters in My Neighbor Totoro, Satsuki and her little sister, Mei.
The girl seen in the most widely produced form of the movie poster, became the hybrid for the two girls that you are familiar with in the official film poster, here:
Satsuki Kusakabe (草壁サツキ, Kusakabe Satsuki)
A 10-year-old girl. Satsuki is Mei's older sister. Satsuki is the traditional name of the fifth month of the Japanese calendar, the equivalent of the English May. Mei Kusakabe (草壁メイ, Kusakabe Mei) Satsuki's four-year-old sister. Her name deliberately echoes her sister's, May being the fifth month, reflecting the fact that the story originally featured one girl, who was then divided into an older and younger sister. The widely-distributed promotional image for the film of a girl standing next toTotoro at a bus stop reflects the earlier conception with a single child.
Also, interestingly enough, there is a sequel to my neighbor totoro, called "Mei and the Kittenbus" it is about a fourteen minute film shown exclusively at the Ghibli Museum, in Japan.
By the way, I just came back from this children's museum exhibit (in my town now), portraying Japanese art in its many forms, from scrolls and wood block to manga and anime, called "Jump to Japan". They had a replica kittenbus there, as you can see in the picture. Photos to come soon!
More at the Totoro wiki. Thanks, Kayla.