Blog Post 1: Totoro film poster

Designed by Huang Hai Dec. 14, 2018
Designed by Huang Hai
Dec. 14, 2018

Totoro Film Poster

Qin Yan Tian

       The Chinese version of the Totoro movie poster designed by Huang Hai. The first time of release date on April 16, 1988, in Japan, after 30 years it released in China. The movie has many versions of languages for different states it has a huge number of world fans. 

       Huang Hai’s poster composition is concise, and the concise design includes three main characters. Two little girls wear hats and walk-in prairie. The prairie looks a little strange, there are some gree triangular shapes on the top. Actually, those shapes are patterns of Totoro which is one of the main characters in the movie, thus that two girls walk on Totoro’s belly from another perspective.

       In the original poster, a little girl holds an umbrella with Totoro stand by a bus station. There is only one strong light on the left side toward them, so audiences can not see clearly the woods of the background. If you watched the movie, you will know that the little girl of the poster doesn’t appear in the movie. The original poster design has a story,As the world expanded and the production grew, Miyazaki decided it would be a better narrative decision to split the character of “Mai into two separate characters”(Scintilla, 2019). The different traits of sisters combine together and show more states and reactions of the child, and make the children’s world to be more interesting.

       Although this is first time of release in China, many Chinese audiences have watched the movie before. That audiences of 30 years ago become middle-aged people and review the film again in the cinema. Huang Hai’s poster seems to describe their childhood and they could through two little girl’s versions to enjoy again in a small room together. Hai’s poster makes a beatific feeling for them, and they could feel warmth at first glance. 

       The poster shows the released date bottom right corner, and there have four Chinese words under the date which means hug warmth. The meaning is the theme of Hai’s poster, and the definition of “warmth” is different by everyone. The whole poster does not have many elements and objects that augment imaginary space for people. Two girls walk in a “special prairie” what are they looking for? Are they going to somewhere?  The story narratives children’s life, “The perspective, gazing down on the girls from far above, elegantly reminds us of how young and full of potential they are by drawing the characters as such small representations, with so much of the wide, wonderful world waiting in front of them”(Baseel, 2018). Also, the film story includes many things, such as the love in people each other, harmonious in human and nature, children’s kindness… Huang Hai shows them in the Totoro film poster.

Work Citation

Scintilla, Christopher. “Who Is the Mysterious Girl in the Official My Neighbor Totoro Movie Poster?” Poster Pagoda, 26 Aug. 2019,
Baseel, Casey. “Chinese Poster for Totoro’s First Theatrical Release in Country Has a Beautifully Subtle Secret.” SoraNews24, 1 Dec. 2018,

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