Out of all the Studio Ghibli films, My Neighbor Totoro remains one of the most beloved, with the tale of two young girls and their magical forest friends capturing hearts and imaginations around the world.

While the story centres on Totoro, the furry, forest-dwelling giant, his unique mode of transport very nearly upstages him. What’s not to love about a multi-legged bus-shaped cat that bounds over hills beaming trails of light from its huge yellow eyes and carrying mice along as tail-lights?

Now it’s time to take the iconic catbus home and when we do, we’ll be making him entirely from scratch, with a specially designed kit made from lasercut paper materials.

The Studio Ghibli Catbus Papercraft Set will be available online for 7,452 yen (US$62.31) from 28 November. As an authorised Ghibli release, the magical mode of transport has been recreated with an amazing amount of detail, true to its original form in the movie. Even the side views give the model an amazing sense of movement.


While it looks larger than life, the model is actually miniaturised, making it even more adorable as it’s small enough to fit in the palm of your hand.


The set includes a large number of lasercut pieces on different coloured cards. Once the kit’s been assembled, the final result is a cute catbus model that measures 5.5 centimetres (2.17 inches) wide, 13.6 centimetres (5.4 inches) long, and 6.7 centimetres (2.6 inches) high.

▼ The catbus flatpack project is the best rainy day activity we’ve come across in ages!



The gorgeous details make this an absolute delight to put together. The smooth, clean lines of the cardboard layers fit together to give the cat its animated sense of movement.


While the cute mice make an appearance just as they do in the movie, we may have to give their eyes a once-over with a red marker pen to really bring them to life!



The famous Cheshire cat grin is there too, along with a set of whiskers, two huge yellow eyes and a bright-red nose.


Now we just have to figure out a way to get Mei, Satsuki and their friendly forest companions on board. Then the bus-shaped cat will really be able to come out and play!


Source: Studio Ghibli Fansite
Top Image: Rakuten/Sankei
Insert Images: Rakuten/Sankei