I was minding my own business, checking out little modern day warm and fuzzy baking website cutestfood.com, (Sure, I’ve got my blood, vomit and foam at the mouth recipes down, but maybe I have a secret yearning to develop a clean cut Martha Stewart side too) and I’m scrolling through adorable ideas for baking kitten shapped shaped macaroons, growing heart shaped lemons, cappuccinos for your loved ones with a heart in the foam, Fashionista Louboutin stiletto shaped cupcakes, and then…. TOTORO CREAM PUFFS punches me in the face.
Are you kidding me?? This is not the time and place to show me TOTORO CREAM PUFFS. First of all, what are TOTORO and CREAM PUFFS even doing together. Secondly, this reminds me what my dad went through with TOTORO.
Hayao Miyazaki is an incredible Japanese animator, and MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO was the first Miyazaki film to be widely released in the US, and it was released by TROMA! If you know Miyazaki’s work, you know that’s pretty unbelieveably cool, and if you were me, a 12 year old girl attending a preppy girl school, this was EVEN COOLER because FINALLY I was going to have a movie I could show all my friends. A nice kid-friendly animated cartoon! No Boobs, no cursing, just good plain clean animated fun.
To us wide eyed kids, the premier was awesome at a big fancy theater in midtown Manhattan, all three of us kids, dressed up in our best smocked dresses. We had seen the screener a million times at home, and sang the song I remember to this day “To-to-ro, Totooorooo… To-to-ro…”
Now, I don’t know the details, I was only a small pigtailed girl at the time, but sure enough Totoro was stolen from the good people at Troma soon enough. Totoro was a great movie, so good in fact, that the big studios circled around from afar at first, scaring off everyone else. Then they inched closer. They hovered over the theaters, circling, salivating as they glimpsed the movie, but they kept circling, and waiting, scaring away everyone. Then when no one was looking, and unbeknownst to Troma, they swooped in and scooped up the entire Miyazaki library in their long dirty talons, Totoro included.
The deal was announced in the NYTimes, one year before TROMA’s license expired! In fact, according to THIS 1995 NEW YORK TIMES ARTICLE “His [Miyazaki] biggest success in the United States has been “My Neighbor Totoro,” about two girls befriended by a plump, mythical creature.” but there was no mention of dad or TROMA anywhere.
I was so revved up just by the little sight of the TOTORO CREAM PUFFS that I had to call dad to talk to him about this Tromatic event we had been through.
“Disney bought the library but we still had a year on our deal” he recalled “but when they announced in the newspapers they used the artwork, so when we went to the cartoon network, or other television networks, they said ‘hey, what are you trying to pull here? Disney owns Totoro!”
Those studio cream puffs.
“Now you know,” he continued, “for 40 years, we have specialized in doing alot of hard work and making no money, so thanks to Disney we continued this work.”
After this all happened I also remember, dad was so upset with Children’s movies that he locked himself in our family room and watched over and over again the opening scene to SGT. Kabukiman NYPD, where two of us kids are skewered to death…
You can guess what happens next… or find out for yourself!