Hotarubi no Mori e | Anime Movie Review


Hotarubi no Mori e (Into The Forest of Fireflies Light) was directed by Takahiro Omori, the 2011 Japanese anime movie is based on a 2002 shojo manga with the same title name written by Yuki Midorikawa.

Hotarubi no Mori e (Into The Forest of Fireflies Light) Anime Movie Review

Movie Synopsis

Hotarubi no Mori e (Into The Forest of Fireflies' Light) is a tale of friendship and conflicts between two people who should never have crossed paths, as their lives become hopelessly interweaved. 

Fascinated by the tale of a mountain god, little girl Hotaru Takegawa disobeyed her uncle's warning and roamed inside an ancient forest believed to be inhabited by spirits when she was six. After a while, she feels exhausted and desperate for help when she couldn't find an exit. 

While she was crying for help, Hotaru is thrilled when she saw a young man named Gin suddenly appears in front of her with a mask on. She learned the hard way that she should not touch Gin, or else, he would disappear. 

Hotarubi no Mori e (Into The Forest of Fireflies Light) Anime Movie Review

Despite that, Gin escorts her out of the forest and warns her to never return to the forest but the little girl Hotaru still expresses her desire of seeing him again. The next day, Hotaru shows up again with a gift and Gin even actually waits for her at the forest's entrance. Then, they go for another walk in the forest together. 

On the following days, Hotaru and Gin started to keep seeing each other. Despite being separated by both distance and planes of existence, they spend almost every summer together as Hotaru visits her uncle's house and eventually becomes best friends. However, their relationship and resolve are put to the test as Hotaru grows older and both of them start to have a romantic feeling towards each other. 

Do you think how long the love between a human and a spirit can survive?

Things I love about Hotarubi no Mori e movie:

*beware of spoilers

Affection | Gin starts off the relationship by being mysterious to Hotaru but he becomes more open to her as their relationship starts to develop. They spend every summer together realizing that most of the time they just want to be around each other. As Hotaru grows older, she becomes aware that her relationship with Gin has its own limitations and she'll be older than Gin's apparent age. 

Evolution of their relationship | They first time met each other since Hotaru was six and become close. I love watching the childish Hotaru growing up as a mature young woman and Gin still stays in his apparent age. The cute friendship changed over the years and Gin started to see Hotaru in a different way as she was no longer a child in his eyes.  

Hotarubi no Mori e (Into The Forest of Fireflies Light) Anime Movie Review

Mutual feelings | Gin wasn't in love with Hotaru when they first met and that could be weird considering their age gap. However, his feelings for Hotaru have escalated over the years as Hotaru's real age reaches closer to Gin's apparent age. Gin was much in love with Hotaru as she was with him. But why did he decided to risk it all?

Sacrifice | When Hotaru confesses her plan for finding a job in the countryside after high school so that they could see each other more often, Gin wasn't happy about it. He knew that she's doing it for him and he felt that he has been holding Hotaru back from living her own life to the fullest. That's why he told her that it would be okay if she decides to forget him.  

Pain | One thing about anime that we should admit is somehow it's not going to work out in the end. We could expect the ending and how these two will leave each other soon but the pain will still brutally hurt your heart.

Soundtrack | The music composed by Kanakana Shigure in this film always puts me in the feels. It's very fitting and nice. 

Gin's planned death | I know that everyone's not gonna ready to admit this. The thought of having limitations in their relationship becomes unacceptable to Gin so he wanted to do something about it. He takes Hotaru to the spirit's festival which was his way of having one last sweet moment with her and he also told her that he could no longer wait for another summer to see her. It was actually his intention of freeing her from himself. 

Hotarubi no Mori e (Into The Forest of Fireflies Light) Anime Movie Review
Hotaru makes a light joke about them being a date at that festival and Gin confirms that it's indeed a date. The joke totally killssss <3
I totally believe that Gin didn't make a silly mistake as he grabbed that random child's hand. He didn't make that mistake with Hotaru for years but why would he risk it all for a random child? He could probably live longer as long as he doesn't touch any humans but his love for Hotaru has made him changes his perspectives about the meaning of his own existence.

What's the point of living if he can't be with the one he loves?

Although they were in love with each other, their relationship has its own limitations and one of them had more things to lose than the other. Despite wanting to stay close to her as long as he could, Gin also wanted her to live her own life to the fullest. To be able to hold Hotaru in his arms for the first and last time, he finds an excuse to disappear so she won't feel guilty about hugging him. 


Hotarubi no Mori e (Into The Forest of Fireflies Light) Anime Movie Review

Basically, Gin only has two choices- keep on living for eternity or hug Hotaru even just for a brief second. And he chose the latter. Towards the end of their very last night together, after Gin disappeared, the spirits of the forest thank Hotaru for giving Gin what he wanted all this while: to touch a human. She eventually gets over the pain and continues to visit her uncle in the countryside every summer. 

We all wanted some miracle to happen but I think it was the right ending for them. Both of them are not from the same world and couldn't even touch each other. This movie is so melancholic happy because Gin was happy at his very last and they both can finally hug each other but end up getting separated forever.

Hotarubi no Mori e (Into The Forest of Fireflies Light) Anime Movie Review

I wasn't expected this movie would hit me hard as it did. I should've prepared more tissues. What makes this movie so special is because it's about an unattainable relationship that takes the idea of forbidden love. Both characters are bound by the chain of time. Their time together is absolutely short, meaningful, and bittersweet. And here are some of my favorite quotes from Hotaru:

"Time might separate us someday. But, even still, until then, let's stay together" -Hotaru

"I probably won't be able to look forward to summer for a long time. My chest will hurt. My tears will be overflowing. But this warmth in my hands and these summer memories will live on in my heart." - Hotaru

Damn. Let's get cried again.

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  1. i refuse to watch any of Hotarubi movie review coz i'm tired of cryin T_T

  2. Teringat fanmade video yang famous tu pasal movie nie.

    Walaupun a short video, sedu-sedan bila tengok ending. (┬┬﹏┬┬)
    Lepas tu, orang salahkan budak kecil tu 🤣

    1. tu la semua salahkan budak tu in fact... hm


  4. I remembered I only watch like 2 anime movies in my entire life. Satu from studio ghibli and another one is I Want To Eat Your Pancreas. I've been wanting to watch more Studio Ghibli but asyik tak dapat je. I hope i can watch more anime in 2021.


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