Behold, the most beloved Miyazaki anime that you will never see. This is Mei and the Kittenbus, created in 2003 exclusively for the Ghibli Museum. I think it’s safe to say this is by far the most popular and beloved of all the Museum’s short films.
Mei and the Kittenbus runs 15 minutes, and pairs younger sister Mei (voiced by the original actress, Sakamoto Chinatsu) with a pint-sized Kitten Bus, as they run and fly around the house and surrounding woods. Totoro, naturally, appears once again, but this time he is joined by massive crowds of fellow Totoros, and Cat Buses of all sizes and stripes. The biggest surprise is the arrival of a giant, old Catbus, carrying dozens of Totoros. Hayao Miyazaki himself provides the voice.
This film, like all of the other Ghibli Museum short films, is not available outside of Japan. Miyazaki intends these movies solely for the children of the Museum, free from consumer capitalism and commercialism. Fortunately, it is screened regularly, including this summer, so if you are planning a trip to Japan to see Arrietty, be sure to make your pilgrimmage. Fortunately, for the rest of us, Ghibli does sell art books of all their shorts, which means we can enjoy Mei and the Kittenbus from a distance.