Satsuki Kusakabe (草壁 サツキ, Kusakabe Satsuki), also known as Satsuko, is the second protagonist of My Neighbor Totoro.
Personality and Bio
Satsuki is the older sister of Mei in My Neighbor Totoro. Satsuki can be irritable towards her sister Mei, for example at the end of the film when they find out that their mother won't be coming home from the hospital for the weekend, she scolded her sister for getting upset. Satsuki likes to think of herself as grown-up and caring for her sister. She is very lively, although not quite as lively as Mei. Satsuki is a good sister on the whole and looks after Mei to the best of her ability despite being upset about their ill mother. She is also very kind and responsible overall.
In the Film
Satsuki boards the moving van along with four-year sister Mei. Satsuki is Mei Kusakabe's older sister and daughter of Tatsuo Kusakabe and Yasuko Kusakabe. Upon moving to the country, she and her sister Mei discover the home of Totoro, a giant anthropomorphic cat-like creature. Through a series of adventures, they become very close. She has a friend named Michiko.
Satsuki is a cheerful slender 10 years old. She has short, walnut brown hair and chocolate brown eyes (the eyes mostly appear black due to coloring and art style). She wears a tangerine skirt with tangerine suspenders, white bloomers, a sunshine yellow collared shirt, a sky blue pair of shoes, no socks, and a white hat (only worn in a few scenes).
In the second half of the movie she wears a sunshine yellow dress with white hems. During the end credits she has a sunshine yellow shirt and tangerine overalls on with a picture of a chibi Totoro embroidered onto the right leg. She is noticeably tall compared to her sister, and somewhat taller than a few of the children her age at her school.
Whenever she is inside the family household, Satsuki typically wears her choice of casual clothing or her pajamas during nighttime. Satsuki like her younger sister prefers to be barefoot when inside and/or around the house.
MISCONCEPTION: Satsuki does not wear a sky blue and carnation pink version of her normal outfit, the lighting is darker and changes the color pallete in the scene.
Satsuki is a bright and cheerful 4th grader. She generally tries to be someone to look up to, most likely for her sister. She seems to idolize her mother's peaceful demeanor, and she even says that she wants her hair to cooperate to look like her mother's hair. Satsuki is hard working and intelligent, as shown when she is studying at school or helping out around her new home. She is also very open minded and pleasant towards people like Granny and even Kanta after getting to know his friendly side.
Satsuki Kusakabe seems to be an independent and mature young lady. She does constantly feel grief and pressure, but does not let it show. The grief she feels for her mother being ill is only revealed towards the end of the movie when she breaks down in front of Granny. She also clearly feels very stressed to act like an adult and be a good role model for Mei.
Most of Satsuki's anger stems from Mei's contrasting irresponsibility. She gets easily frustrated, but is still a lovable character with good intentions.
Satsuki and her younger sister Mei are shown to be very close as siblings. Though they argue very often, they love each other and protect each other. Satsuki has a low tolerance level for Mei's childish behavior. When Mei was whining about her mother not coming home yet and complaining to Satsuki about it, Satsuki got very angry and yelled, "You're such a baby! Just grow up!" to Mei. Afterwards, she regretted saying this to Mei because she saw that Mei had run away. Satsuki worriedly searched for her sister until her feet were blistered and in pain. She clearly cares about her sister even though she can become quite aggravated with her.
Satsuki comes to Totoro in her time of need. At first she didn't believe that Totoro was real, but then she realized that Mei was serious. She wanted very badly to meet Totoro, and she did. She seemed to be very excited to see Totoro and offered him an umbrella (and then shocked to see that Totoro took the umbrella as his own ("Wasn't the umbrella he took with him daddy's!? (Streamline/Fox dub)"))! She also was very appreciative about Totoro helping her find her sister in the end.
Tatsuo Kusakabe is Satsuki and Mei's father. He is a professor at a university. Satsuki has a very friendly and happy relationship with her father. They seem to get along very well, and she appreciates how hard he works to take care of her and Mei.
Satsuki admires her mother. Yasuko is hospitalized from an unknown illness, and Satsuki misses her very much. She constantly worries that her mother will die. Satsuki also shows that she wants to have hair like her mother's, which possibly symbolizes her admiration for her mother's calm personality traits as well.
Kanta is Satsuki's classmate. He at first approaches Satsuki with a basket with cake from Granny, but doesn't really have a conversation with her. Then he hastily ran outside and yelled, "Hey! You in there! Your house is haunted!" and stuck his tongue out. Satsuki took this as very rude and stuck her tongue out back.
She later responded to the situation by saying, "I hate boys." She still is glad he brought the cake though. Then later on he offers her an umbrella, and she is thankful for it, even though he was rude while giving it to her. In the end, he helps her look for Mei and she is grateful for all the help.
Satsuki has respect for Granny. She is extremely polite and kind towards her, possibly because she is an elder who was nice to her.
Granny sometimes takes care of her and her sister while their father is at work.