“Spirited Away” features a scene depicting a giant, white creature named Radish Spirit entering the bathhouse elevator with Chishiro (voiced by Rumi Hiiragi in Japanese and Daveigh Chase in English). The ghost seems a bit unnerving at first, but soon reveals itself to be a benevolent creature by helping Chishiro hide from a bathhouse employee. If the whole “huge, strange creature that turns out to be friendly” vibe isn’t enough to point to Studio Ghibli’s most famous entity, the similarities between the Radish Ghost and Totoro are accentuated by the way the characters are introduced. extremely clear.
Totoro (Hitoshi Takagi and Frank Welker) introduces Satsuki (Noriko Hidaka, Lisa Michelson and Dakota Fanning) to the famous bus stop scene from “My Neighbor Totoro,” as the two stand side-by-side in the rain and quietly take on others. As Reddit user u/tanNTT pointed out, the elevator scene between Chishiro and the Radish Ghost pays homage to that Totoro moment, reproducing its key moments almost perfectly, right down to the narrow-eyed, measuring look the respective creatures give it Girl.
“I’ve seen both movies so many times that I kind of never realized it,” user u/MegaMeteorite expressed surprise upon learning of the tribute. Meanwhile, Redditor u/TwelveSilverPennies didn’t lose the importance of the moment, who pointed out that the Totoro reference clearly telegraphs the true nature of the menacing-looking radish spirit. “That’s how you can tell the radish ghost is a nice guy,” they wrote.