Twitter user shares screenshots of Hayao Miyazaki anime that surprising number of fans haven’t heard of, and which can be seen next month.

You really can’t overstate the stature of Studio Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki in the Japanese filmmaking industry. A constant success by both critical and box-office measures, his movies are practically considered national treasures in Japan…and so many Japanese Twitter users were recently started to find that there’s a significant Miyazaki anime they’d never heard of.

Miyazaki is generally content to take a one-and-done approach to anime storytelling, and once the credits roll at the end of his films, that’s usually the last time we’ll see those characters. There is one very big exception, though, in that there’s actually a sequel to his beloved 1988 classic My Neighbor Totoro.

Japanese Twitter user @33kitta recently tweeted a few stills from Mei and the Kittenbus, the Totoro sequel, while musing that hardly anyone seems to know of its existence. To prove his point, he also tweeted a poll, asking other Twitter users if they were aware of the sequel, to which 88 percent of the more than 102,000 respondents so far have said no, while leaving comments such as:

“Haha dude what?”
“I had no idea.”
“This is the first I’ve ever heard of it.”
“Is this another urban legend, like how Mei is supposed to be dead at the end of Totoro?”
“There’s a baby Catbus…”
“How come you got to see it?? I wanna see it too!”

It’s not that there simply hasn’t been enough time for word of Mei and the Kittenbus to spread, either, since it premiered in 2003. And yes, it’s written and directed by Miyazaki himself, just like My Neighbor Totoro, with a story that follows little sister Mei as she has yet another encounter with the spirits, feline and otherwise, that inhabit the fields and forests around her country home. Miyazaki even does the voice of the elderly cat spirit seen in @33kitta’s tweet.

So how has the sequel (which has a runtime of approximately 14 minutes) managed to fly under the radar for so long? Because it’s never been released on home video, and only screens at one theater in the world: the one inside the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo.

But just making your way to the museum isn’t enough to guarantee you’ll get to see Mei and the Kittenbus. The theater shows one of nine Ghibli shorts on rotating schedule, with each playing for a month until the next is swapped in. meaning that if you just show up on any random day you’ve only got a one-in-nine chance of seeing it.

Because of that, the smart thing to do is plan ahead. The Ghibli Museum lists what films will be showing for the next three months on its website here, and if you’re planning to go in November, you’re in luck, since Mei and the Kittenbus will be playing from November 1-30!

Admission to the theater is included in the cost of your museum ticket. However, seating is on a first-come-first-served basis, so you’ll definitely want to make the theater the very first thing you check out once you’re through the gates, since if you’re a Totoro fan, the sequel will hit all of your warm, fuzzy nostalgia buttons.

Related: Ghibli Museum
Source: Jin

Top image ©SoraNews24

Follow Casey on Twitter, where he recommends following your viewing of Mei and the Kittenbus with a nice cold Beer of the Valley of the Wind at the Ghibli Museum cafe.