I am a rabid, card-carrying Miyazaki fan and love everything this contemporary mega-genius has ever done. The idea that he is such a tremendous writer, and such a childlike soul AND a world-class artist would drive me to envy except for my abject admiration.
"Totoro" is much less popular than the adventure films like "Swept Away" and "Castle in the Sky" and the under-appreciated "Porco Rossa", in between that style and the "real life" adolescent films that Westerners pay no attention to. Very seminal to TREETOPS, however. As soon as I stopped frisking around with these extraterrestrial furballs in the woods and considered human contact, Totoro's little buddy came to mind immeadiately: I saw the adorable, gutsy little toddler clamboring painstakingly up a flight of stairs and silently commiserating with her bizarre, silent spirit pal and created Lissy to be the confidant of the spacefuzzies. The idea that she shared much with them, such as homelessness, solitude and religious persecution came afterward but don't eclipse, for me, the simple humanity of Miyazaki's little charmer.