Why are the majority of Ghibli film theories always so dark?
1. My Neighbour Totoro is a retelling of Alice in Wonderland
This theory suggests that My Neighbour Totoro is an unofficial retelling of Lewi Caroll’s Alice in Wonderland. The similarities that have been made between the two to support this theory is that there is a shapeshifting cat (CatBus vs Cheshire Cat), there’s a ‘rabbit’ (Totoro vs White Rabbit), there’s anamorphic plants and animals that disappear in puffs of smoke (Spirites vs most things in Wonderland), there’s small passages that characters through and a young female protagonist. Another similarity that people have thought of is that both stories have young children who space reality and enter into a more magical world for a period of time. What do you guys think of this theory?
2. Ponyo is an angel
This theory explains that everyone in the seaside village died in the flood. The boats that everyone are on carry them in one direction, and some fans have thought that this water is meant to represent the Sanzu River (a Buddhist religious belief that states that this river must be crossed by the dead on their way to the afterlife). Tunnels are often used in Ghibli films as a way for characters to travel ‘between worlds’ too, and Ponyo and Sosuke do travel through a tunnel in the movie. But none of these characters are seen travelling back through the tunnel or in the opposite direction of the river again, so perhaps they were taken to the afterlife then…
Another point for this theory is that Ponyo goes back and forth between the sea and the land, or between ‘Heaven and Earth’ because she is an angel.
And then to add to this, some fans believe that the soundtrack song Flight on Ponyo is influenced by Ride of the Valkyries, which is a song that’s strongly associated with death and destruction.
Essentially, this theory states that Ponyo is guiding Sosuke through to the afterlife…
3. San wears the corpse of her dead sister
In Princess Mononoke San is raised by wolves after her parents abandon her while running away from the wolf goddess. The wolf goddess tells the story as, “I caught her humans parents defiling the forest. They threw their baby at my feet as they ran away.” When the question was then raised about where San got her fur coat and the wolf teeth necklace she wears from, a link was drawn upon. We are never specifically told what San’s parents did to ‘defile the forest,’ so this theory suggests that what they were did was hunt the wolf goddess’ pups and kill one of them. When the wolf goddess then caught San’s parents, the goddess killed them as punishment for their brutal actions but spared San because she was just a baby, and then decided to replace her late pup with her. To then help San feel more at home among her wolf family, the wolf goddess gave San the fur and teeth or her deceased pup to wear.