What type of creature is a Totoro?

There are three totoros in the movie (O Totoro, Chu Totoro and Chibi Totoro) and even though they look different they are all considered totoros. Although O Totoro looks a cross between a raccoon and an owl, totoros are not a specific type of animal. They are fictional creatures created by Hayao Miyazaki. I have even seen some sources that say totoros are mythical Japanese critters. However, I do not see any supporting evidence of that, other than the fact the "O Totoro" is translated as "King of the Forest" (or something similar) in the English dub of the movie and that "totoro" is Mei's mispronunciation of "tororu" (troll). (In the ending credits, you can see the girls' mother reading the story of the Billy Goats Gruff and there's a creature on the cover that looks like O Totoro.)

Are there any sequels to the movie?

No, there are no sequels to the movie nor are there any announced plans to continue the story. In fact, Miyazaki has mentioned in interviews that he has no intention to release anything else related to Tonari no Totoro.

What are the black critters in the house?

The black pom-poms critters are dust- or soot-sprites. Grandmother tells the girls that they are "Susuwatari" ("Traveling Soot"). They are what settle in unused places. (You can see another incarnation of the dust-sprites in Spirited Away.)

What is wrong with the girls' mother?

Although it is never mentioned directly in the movie, she has tuberculosis. This is mentioned in the graphic novel version of the story. Since the story is set in the 1950s, TB fits well with the time period.

How can a cat be a bus?

There's a Japanese legend that says that when cats reach a certain old age, they can shape-shift into something else. These shape-shifting cats are called "Baka Neko". This cat apparently decided to become a bus. (As a side note, my favorite song on the Japanese soundtrack I have is "Baka Neko, Neko Basu" ("Crazy Cat, Cat Bus").)

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