Mei Kusakabe
Sova med Mei






Alive, lives at home

Feature Films

My Neighbor Totoro

Mei and the Kittenbus

Mei Kusakabe is one of the main protagonists in My Neighbor Totoro. She is first introduced when she and her family move into a new house.

Plot OverviewEdit

Mei, approximately five years old, moves into a new house with her family. As she and her sister Satsuki Kusakabe explore the house, they discover that the house is inhabited by Susuwatari- soot spirits. She catches one in between her hands while in the attic, and runs to show her sister. When she opens her hands she finds them covered in black dust, as well as her and Satsuke's feet. Granny informs them about soot sprites, and says that the only way to get rid of them is laughing.

During a bath, the three family members are worried that the house will fall down because of the wind. The father begins to laugh, resulting in all three in hysterical laughter. This causes the soot sprites to depart the house, flying into the night sky.

While Mei is playing outside one day, she sees rabbit-like ears in the grass. She follows them, and discovers two small magical creatures. She then chases them through a tunnel up under a camphor tree, where she meets a larger version of the animal, whom she says is "Totoro". Mei tells her family about Totoro, and her father tells her that he is the "keeper of the forest". When she tries to lead them to Tororo, they are unable to find him. Her father says this is because you can only see him when he wants you to. At nighttime, the girls are at the bustop, waiting for their father, and Mei falls asleep on Satsuki's back, missing Satsuke's first encounter with Totoro and the Catbus. Totoro gives her a bag full of Seeds and Nuts before he gets on the Catbus. Their father's bus finally arrives, and they regale him the story of meeting Totoro.

The girls plant the seeds, though are frustrated when they don't appear to be growing. One night, when the girls sleep outside, they both wake up and see the three Totoros doing a dance around the seeds. The girls rush to join in, and the seeds grow into a huge tree. Big Totoro takes the girls and the two smaller Totoros on a magical flying top, and Satsuke remarks, "Now we know what makes the wind blow!". In the morning, the tree is not there, but the seeds have sprouted. Satsuke is certain is was only a dream, while Mei says it was real.

The plan for their mother to visit them from the hospital is postponed, due to a setback in her treatment. Mei follows Satsuke to Kanta's house to use their telephone, despite Granny telling her to stay put at Granny's house. When Mei learns that her mother has a cold and won't be coming home for a short while, she throws a tantrum. Satsuke yells at her, leaving both girls emotionally frayed.

Satsuki och Mei

When Mei overhears Satsuke telling Granny her worries that their mother might die, she grabs an ear of corn that she picked, and runs away to give it to her mother in the hospital. The town people are worried and search for her by the lake, and Satsuke runs off to find her. Finally, as it grows later, Satsuke goes to Totoro for help. He calls on the catbus, which takes her to Mei. Both girls reunited happily, and climb aboard the catbus which takes them to the hospital. Mei leaves the corn on the windowsill and they watch from the trees. They have carved a get well message on the corn, and the parents suspect it was the girls.

The credit illustrations show Mother coming home, Satsuki and Mei playing with other children, with the Totoros as unseen observers.


Mei has light brown hair tied up in two fluffy pigtails with red ribbons. Her skin is light and she has pink cheeks. She wears a knee-length pink dress over a white collared blouse with short sleeves for most of the movie. She also wears yellow shoes. In some scenes she wears a yellow sunhats with a red ribbon, which she believes makes her look like a grownup. In the nighttime tree scene, she wears a yellow nightgown. Her hair is down and about shoulder length. In the last part of the movie she wears a pink sundress and red sandals. In the bus stop scene, she wears a blue raincoat and pink rain boots. In the sequel, she wears a yellow night gown and a white night gown.

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