That’s a fairly accurate assessment, albeit that the parts of the totoros are played by irrepressible rogues and goblins that have to rise far above their natures in order to do good.
The set up for A Letter to Momo is somewhat darker than My Neigbour Totoro. The main character is an 11 year old girl Momo whose last interaction with her father was a nasty argument . Unsurprisingly Momo isn’t really handling her father’s death well (or at all really), particularly having found an unfinished letter that from her father that only said “Dear Momo”.
The movie begins with Momo and her mother moving back to her mother’s childhood home on the island of Shio. In essence Momo is at her lowest point when she encounters the three goblins shown in the poster.
I’m not going to say too much more about the story as this film is too recent to spoil . There is a nice mix of drama and humour going on here, and Momo’s frequent exasperation at trying to manage the goblins carries the film well in the early stages.
This is a film that ends with real character growth, and not just for Momo. That is what really made the film work for me.
Overall this is a strong film, and definitely worth seeing on the big screen. I’m not sure how well it will stand up over time but I’ll probably buy it when it is released just to find out. 🙂
 I will note that there is a nicely done homage to the Catbus, but I’m not saying what form it takes.
- The 2013 Reel Anime Season (piratesobg.wordpress.com)