A 10 year old schoolgirl. Satsuki Kusakabe, her sister Mei Kusakabe, and her father moved to the country to be closer to Mrs. Kusakabe, who is at a hospital nearby. Satsuki is more sensible and responsible than her sister. She becomes pretty popular at school.
Satsuki's four year old sister. Mei is best described as adorable, simply said. She admires her older sister and follows her everywhere. She is easily annoyed and even more easily excited.
Totoro is a giant, friendly forest spirit. He spends most of his time sleeping in a hole in a tree. He doesn't speak, instead communicating by loud bellows that, it seems, only the other Totoros and the Cat Bus can understand. He is very friendly to Mei and Satsuki. He can make trees grow much faster than normal.
Kanta's grandmother is the first to greet the Kusakabes when they move in. She is very kind and thoughtful. She keeps calm in emergencies. She farms, just like everyone in the neighborhood, and gives vegetables to the family.
The father of the Kusakabe family works as an archaeology professor at a nearby university. He loves to his daughters and plays along with their imaginative adventures.
Mrs. Kusakabe is in a hospital nearby to recover from tuberculosis. Her children adore her and look forward to their visits with her. She says Satsuki is very much like how she was when she was young.
A young boy who lives near the Kusakabes. Kanta enjoys teasing Satsuki to no end, playing with model planes, and drawing. He is courteous, though, and is occasionally nice to Satsuki.
Kanta's mother is usually displeased with her son and occasionally reprimands him for his mistakes. She is nice to strangers, though.
The cat bus roams the countryside taking passengers, usually Totoro. Its insides are just like a regular bus, with seats and windows, except they are covered with orange fur and alive. It has rats on its head and tail which act as headlights and taillights. It also has a display on its head that changes to show where it is headed.
|Chibi Totoro and Chu Totoro|
The two other Totoros are smaller, differently colored versions of the big Totoro. Chu Totoro, the grey medium-sized one, carries a sack full of acorns on its back. Chibi Totoro, the small white one, runs very quickly and can disappear and reappear when it wants to. Together, they collect acorns for the big Totoro.
The susu-wataris are balls of soot that can think. They inhabit dark places and immediately flee in the presence of light. They leave a house when they've decided the people living in it are good people. The Kusakabe's new home is infested with them.
The Kusakabes live in an area devoted to agriculture, so all of their neighbors are farmers.