Another Miyazaki flick. This one is sort of odd. It's really charming; the two girls are adorable and their dad is a likable dude. Totoro himself is a fun Miyazaki spirit. The odd part is the movie's plot. It doesn't seem to have one. If I had to summarize it, it would be something like "A family moves into a new home out in the country as they wait for the mom to get better from an unspecified ailment. The two daughters discover that the nearby forest is home to some weird lazy-but-friendly spirits who sometimes do stuff. Mei gets lost one time, but is found by the Cat Bus. The end." It doesn't have a solid story arc. It takes a snippet from this family's life that doesn't have a big problem to solve. You kind of think that the mother is going to be either healed or die, but neither occurs. The movie ends with her still in the hospital exactly as she was when the movie began: not super sick but not well enough to leave.
Miyazaki's staples are present: strong young female protagonist, weird creatures/spirits, environmental message. It should be noted that My Neighbor Totoro doesn't hammer the environmental message that much here, actually, compared to most of his other movies.
The animation for the youngest girl, Mei, was fantastic. The way they captured the behavior of a four-year-old was quite impressive, and made her all the more endearing.
I enjoyed it, but it seemed more like an episode from a series rather than a stand-alone movie.