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The My Neighbor Totoro Detail You Might Have Missed In Spirited Away

Hayao Miyazaki may not like every type of animation, but seeing as he's the man behind many of Studio Ghibli's amazing movies and the co-founder of the company, he's entitled to his opinions about this particular form of cinema. Miyazaki is the visionary director and writer of imaginative animated works that range from the thoughtful musings of "The Wind Rises" to the dramatic fantasy of "Princess Mononoke" and "Howl's Moving Castle." 

It can be tricky to raise any single movie above the others in a filmmaking résumé as stacked as Miyazaki's, but it's probably fair to say that any Studi Ghibli fan is likely familiar with two of his movies — 1988's "My Neighbor Totoro" and 2001's "Spirited Away." While the films have somewhat different tones, they both center around little girls who interact with powerful supernatural spirits. As such, it's pretty delightful that the latter movie includes a nice, hidden tribute to the former. Here's the "My Neighbor Totoro" detail you might have missed in "Spirited Away."

Spirited Away's elevator scene is a homage to Totoro's bus stop meeting with Satsuki

"Spirited Away" features a scene that shows a gigantic, white entity called Radish Spirit entering the bathhouse elevator with Chishiro (voiced by Rumi Hiiragi in Japanese and Daveigh Chase in English). The spirit seems somewhat unnerving at first, but soon reveals itself as a benevolent creature by helping Chishiro hide from a bathhouse worker. If the whole "huge, strange creature that turns out to be friendly" vibe isn't enough of a nod to Studio Ghibli's most famous entity, the similarities between the Radish Spirit and Totoro are made extremely clear with the way the characters are introduced. 

Totoro (Hitoshi Takagi and Frank Welker) famously makes his presence known to Satsuki (Noriko Hidaka, Lisa Michelson and Dakota Fanning) in "My Neighbor Totoro's" iconic bus stop scene, as the two stand side by side in the rain and quietly measure each other up. As Reddit user u/tanNTT has pointed out, the elevator scene between Chishiro and the Radish Spirit pays homage to this Totoro moment by replicating its key moments near-perfectly, right down to the narrow-eyed, measuring glare the respective creatures give to the girls. 

"I've seen both movies so many times somehow I never noticed this," user u/MegaMeteorite expressed their surprise upon learning about the homage. Meanwhile, the meaning of the moment wasn't lost on redditor u/TwelveSilverPennies, who pointed out that the Totoro reference clearly telegraphs the threatening-looking Radish Spirit's true nature. "That's how you know the Radish Spirit is a nice guy," they wrote.