Sometimes, there are movies that leave lasting impressions. For one man in Taiwan, it was "My Neighbor Totoro."
The man, a 30-year-old male in Taichung, went to a convenience store one Sunday morning and swiped an umbrella. He tried to run away, getting to more than 650 feet away from the store, but was cornered by a patrolling police officer who was attracted to the commotion the man raised as he fled the scene of his crime. (Too bad there was no Catbus waiting for him.)
It's not unusual for convenience stores to report thefts, but the item the man chose to steal proved to be odd. When questioned why he stole the umbrella, the man explained that he got the idea from unlikeliest candidate, the film "My Neighbor Totoro."
In particular, he took inspiration from a certain scene in the movie where Totoro and the sisters Satsuki and Mei were gathered in a field and willing seeds to sprout and grow by pantomiming pulling on the plant. In the scene, Totoro has an umbrella. This gave the man the impression that if he had an umbrella, he would be able to change his luck.
It is unclear what the man is looking to achieve exactly when he said he wanted to change his luck, just as unclear as his plan to go to a graveyard afterwards had he successfully gotten his umbrella. Totoro, Satsuki and Mei were in a field trying to make things grow. Is the man trying to raise the dead?
Moved as he may have been with "My Neighbor Totoro," the man, however, didn't stick around to finish the movie, long enough to at least see that the titular spirit and the girls' efforts at gardening didn't pan out quite the way they expected it to. This would've helped him realize that having an umbrella is not the answer to his problems. Still, it did change his luck, but just not in the way he was hoping for.
My Neighbor Totoro came out in 1988. It was produced by Studio Ghibli and written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki.