The susuwatari that appear throughout Miyazakis two best-known films (My Neighbour Totoro and Spirited Away) never speak and dont offer much at all in terms of narrative. In fact, they are about as incidental as incidental characters can possibly be. Soot sprites which effectively resemble little spiders, they seem almost entirely to have been included in the films for brief comic respite. They are very funny, particularly during their cameos in Spirited Away. But their relative irrelevance to the films stories begs a large question: how come they have become such a widely-recognised aspect of Studio Ghiblis output? The susuwatari were so popular after My Neighbour Totoro that it was inevitable that they would make an appearance in a later film. The only logical answer seems to be that they are utterly memorable in their simplicity and cuteness. Ghiblis films are as much about visual beauty and emotional resonance as they are about narrative, and many of its most successful characters dont even need to contribute to the film's story in order to have a large impact on its reception.