Synonyms: Into the Forest of Fireflies' Light
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Sep 17, 2011
45 min. per episode
G - All Ages
L represents licensing company
Score: 8.681 (scored by 52707 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
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SynopsisThe story of Hotarubi no Mori e centers around Hotaru, a little girl who gets lost in an enchanted forest where apparitions reside. A young boy, Gin, appears before Hotaru, but she cannot touch him for fear of making him disappear.
Related AnimeAdaptation: Hotarubi no Mori e
Characters & Voice Actors
"Time might separate us some day. But, even still, until then, let's stay together." -Hotaru Takegawa
Time is cruel. Time is responsible for the summers that come and go, for the leaves in autumn that shrivel and fall to the ground at the mercy of the next toddler looking to create satisfying crunching sounds, for the long and cold winters.
You come to love the smell of rain in the spring or the cool breeze of a summer night and then poof. It's gone.
Much like a fleeting summer's day, the main characters in Hotarubi no Mori e are bound by the chains of time. He cannot leave the forest for fear of being touched by a human and she cannot see him until three seasons have passed and summer comes again. And so, the two spend time together when they can, and as she grows up with him she realizes there will come a day when time will yet again become their enemy.
Their time together is short, meaningful and ultimately bittersweet. Much like the anime itself.
Hotarubi no Mori e is a beautiful movie that takes the idea of forbidden love, a topic that has been overly done and worn out by bad soap-opera themed dramas, and remakes the idea in an elegant, refreshing manner. Much of the brilliance in this anime can be accredited to the captivating character and background designs as well as the honesty that shines through in the writing. The anime pulls us viewers in with dramatic music and writing while keeping everything light and down-to-earth. And it does all of this in a mere 45 minutes.
Forbidden love, playful love, intense love, a love that is not love. With all of these takes on love, can we really be sure of what love is? Simply put, love is a universal... well, for lack of a better word, thing.
Nobody really knows what love is but everyone has their own interpretation of the word. Plato once said, "at the touch of love, everyone is a poet". And it's true. The concept of love is incredibly popular and you can probably find more pieces of literature or entertainment that center around love than any other genre. This anime specifically has taken the idea of a physical love and completely thrown it out of the window, all the while proving with gusto that love doesn't have to be physical to be just as emotionally impacting.
You see, the anime focuses on the more important ideas about love that maybe we've all kind of forgotten.
Like the happiness you feel when you're near them.
Like the first time you saw them laugh.
Like when it's suffocating to be with them because you don't know what to do or say.
Hotarubi no mori e gracefully weaves these elements into a heartbreaking tale of a first love. Sure, it's lighthearted and even a little fun, but a love founded on emotions is the heaviest burden you can imagine.
As stated before, the art this anime is nothing short of breath-taking. The designers definitely knew what they were doing when it came to setting the mood with soft pastel colors or adding bursts of colors to enhance a scene. Although it wasn't exactly memorable, the art did help to add an extra element of beauty. Similarly, the soundtrack to this anime was also very fitting and nice. Especially the ending song, "Natsu wo Miteita" (I saw summer) which had the feel of summer that is longed for but will never return. The art and sound really worked together well with what was happening on screen. Everything fit together perfectly like puzzle pieces.
To end this review, I will rebound back to the very beginning and touch upon the subject of love again with our two main characters Hotaru and Gin. What makes this anime so special, what makes it stand out from all of the others that claim to give you the true meaning of love is that it's believable and honest, despite having the supernatural theme of spirits. Despite their wishes, the two are bound by circumstances that are out of their control.
They cannot touch.
They cannot see each other outside of the forest.
They are reunited in the summer and are separated in the fall, over and over again.
And against all odds, they try their best to maintain the connection they've built through years of playing in the grassy fields, spending time by the lake on a warm summer night talking in hushed voices or confiding in one another under the light of the fireflies -- a connection stronger than any kind of physical love can ever provide.
The ending may come as a shock to you. Having read the premise, and a few other stories with similar plots, it didn't come as a shock to me. And although I knew it was coming, I couldn't stop myself from crying when it did. This anime was touching and nostalgic. I know it was good because I was left with an empty feeling after watching it -- like the feeling of longing after something that time has already taken away.
Like the ever-changing seasons, this anime will pull you in, get you attached to the characters, make you love it and then...poof. It'll end.
"It is sad not to love, but it is much sadder not to be able to love." The words uttered by Miguel de Unamuno become unusually symbolic when we think of them in the context of Hotarubi no Mori e. The romance genre has grown stiff over the centuries - and some may even imply that any originality in that peculiar type of works has depleted, that nothing fresh and original can be created when basically everything is a cliché these days. Well then, I'm truly glad I can say that whoever sports that belief is in the wrong. The evidence: Hotarubi no Mori e.
How much emotion and feelings can be put into a small vessel? As Shakespeare and his cycle of sonnets taught us - you don't need much space (or time) to deliver a powerful blast of vivid emotions. And this film needed circa forty minutes to revive within me certain emotions, which I believed I had managed to cast aside long time ago. In our era, the concept of love seems to be incomplete and - I dare to say - a bit off the mark. Love is now an emotion which is the theme for a vast majority of pop songs - those pseudo-deep lyrics of them, even when combined in a single entity, still won't tell you nearly as much as Hotarubi no Mori e in several lines of dialogue and 40 minutes of animation. It's not overly deep or anything, it doesn't require your utmost attention to get a general gist, no - that's not the case here. It's a simple, effective, well-thought story with a warm sensation lurking behind it; a slow-paced story of love in its truest, platonic form. And now let us take a more detailed view on the whole.
Images are a powerful means of conveying information--and feelings as well. And no major issues can be found in this regard - on the contrary, the visual aspect of this film is praiseworthy, and a few things need to be pointed out. First of all - a genuinely perfect playing with scenery. It refers a tad to the script - but still, presenting the two (Gin and Hotaru) all alone in a forest was a glimpse of genius. The motif is neatly exposed - they are alone with each other, there's no one around them... and yet they're not together. Because touching someone is like confirming their existence - and even that much is not allowed to them. But not to sway of the topic too much - the exceptional words of admiration should be directed at the background scenery. Rich in details, properly animated, not breaking the decorum of the entirety. But only a little less can be said about the character design - rich in expressions, not overly static, presenting the character quite well... to sum it all up, I'll just say that I wasn't left speechless - but what speech was left to me--it was the praising alone.
Sounds are as important as images - if not more - so we should pay a close attention to this aspect of the film as well. Voicing was done fairly well, though there's nothing to cry tears of delight over, so let's just say that it was perfectly fine. But what really caught my attention was music. And goodness me, my ears still are in awe of what they heard an hour ago. Due to the limited time of the film, it's perfectly obvious and natural that the number of songs wouldn't be very impressive. But what matters is their quality - which in this case wouldn't be paid a proper recognition if I didn't call it top-notch. Those few instrumental pieces were enough to build up a desired setting, and reflected what was happening on the screen in a truly illustrative way. Especially the theme of the festival deserves my utmost recognition - it sure did manage to deliver a number of various emotions. All in all, both music and voices in this film aced the test.
Characters are inseparably connected with plot in this very case, so I think that they shouldn't... no, mustn't be regarded as two different aspects. To give a brief summary of events - a young girl meets a boy, who is in fact a spirit dwelling in the forest. The boy, however, mustn't be touched by a human, for it would result in him disappearing for all eternity. They spend the summer days with each other, and when the girl must return to home from her vacation, she promises to visit him again next summer. And that's eactly what she does - for the next few years. During that time she grows up, and her age is slowly getting closer to the age of the boy (who due to being a spirit doesn't age or ages very slowly). And then, one summer, comes the grande finale - he invites her to a spirit festival, during which he touches a human kid who tripped himself and was about to fall. Then, for as much as a few seconds, the two people who loved each other are able to touch, sense, confirm the object of their love. And after what seemed to be a blink of an eye... he's gone. He's not there - his mask left behind as the only proof of his existence. To love, yet not to be able to.
The story itself isn't something unique, or exceptional - as I have already mentioned, everything comes down to emotions. I was also surprised at the existence of a modified hamartia - just by the existence of the flaw, we can reason that there's no happy ending, and the inevitable must happen (unless we would get to see some Deus Ex Machina coming and saving the day).
I'm about to say something seemingly irrelevant, but in fact it will be the most important thing of all what I've said thus far. Whenever the question "why do you watch anime" arises, people and their answers can be divided into 2 groups. Those who claim to watch anime for cute girls doing cute things in a cute way, and those who claim to watch anime for plot. To truly notice the value of Hotarubi no Mori e, you must - like me - belong to neither of them. I watch anime to notice, to perceive, to experience - to get to feel that what I watch is worthwhile. To feel those emotions oozing from a series. And no - it's not the same as watching for plot - there exists a division called "4 levels of meaning". Plot per se, is the first - literal - level, so you could say that albeit important, it doesn't play the main role. And in fact - what matters is emotions, and feelings hidden behind the curtain. And with Hotarubi no Mori e, you are able to tore down the curtain completely, and observe how those emotions start to have an influence on you. It's a beautiful thing, and it alone is of a great value. Because - to quote a recurring sentence from Umineko no Naku Koro ni Chiru, "without love, it cannot be seen." read more
Hotarubi no Morie e is like a longer Natsume Yuujinchou episode without Nyanko-sensei.
Hotarubi no Mori e brings some of the best things about Natsume Yuujinchou in one neat 40 minute package. It is pretty much a Natsume Yuujinchou episode, sans Natsume and Nyanko-Sensei, plus the benefit of extra 20 minutes and a higher budget. That makes for a incredibly well done story with one of the sweetest (and saddest) romances I've seen in anime.
This should be a must watch for Natsume fans. If you loved the movie but never watched Natsume... well, what on earth are you waiting for?
Of course watching Hotarubi is like watching Natsume Yuujinchou.
Not only they are from the same manga-ka, therefor sharing the same gorgeous art and a similar story telling as well the taste for the same genre:
those are two titles who, if you liked one of them, you can't absolutly miss to wach the another as well!
Both are sweet, delicate stories, with splendid colors and wonderful characters who'll bring you into those supernatural and fascinating worlds.
Both give you the same calm feeling while watching them.
Indeed, very highly recommended both ♥
Not only do Natsume Yuujinchou and Hotarubi no Mori e have the same original creator and similar setting, they are animated by the same studio, with the same director and even the composer is the same. Without any doubt there is more than one that these two would both be liked by the same people.
The girl, Hotaru, in Hotarubi no More e and the boy, Takashi (mostly referred to by his family name Natsume), both see demon and spirits and they both befriend them. Both the film and the series play with a melancholic feeling and the relationship between humans and spirits.
Hotarubi no Mori e is like the 2 episode version of Natsume Yuujinhou. Even the main characters Natsume and Jin are similiar. Also, musics, the athmosphere and animation styles are alike. I loved Hotarui no Mori e more than Natsume because there was a romantic story in it. I wish it could become longer.
Not only do they share the same creator, their art style, the music, the setting and themes are similar as well. They are both touching and will probably leave you with tears.
Both are about Youkai. Both have that bittersweet feeling to it.
Hotarubi is about love while Natsume is about friendship with Youkai. If you enjoyed one of them, you will enjoy the other.
Both anime are written by the same author, Yuki Midorikawa hence contains similar themes, mood, and settings.
Both series has a mystical feeling which is smooth, slow paced, serene, and natural. The music in both series are also collected and calm. Both series also involves a main protagonist dealing with supernatural beings, specifically spirits.
These two anime are both relaxing to watch that are considered rare gems.
Gin gives an extremely similar feeling to Natsume. They are both extremely soothing and relaxing to watch, although one offers a more dramatic experience.
Same voice actor for main male lead and similar plot about ghost spirits wandering around. The main story of Hotarubi is limited by the fact that it's movie, and so it doesn't have as much touching stories as Natusme, yet it is still very moving. Both emphasizes the importance of relationships, especially that of a close friend.
Hoturabi no Mori e is almost exactly like an episode of Natsume Yuujinchou without natsume in it. About a Girl who meets a youkai it is also extremely touching.
Similar Artwork, similar soundtrack, similar storyline. Both stories are about interaction between yōkai (supernatural monsters) and humans. Protagonists in both stories are complex and evolve in beautiful ways.
A dip in the simplicity and tranquility in a rural landscape
through appearances in folklore,
the charm, the beauty and magic of the forest and,
the "poetry" of a wonderful Yuki Midorikawa.
Both are beautiful love stories with the same core theme: distance as a conflict. For 5 Centimeters per Second, this distance is a literal seperation, while in Hotarubi no Mori e, it is an emotional and psychological distance.
Both have amazing visuals and a heartbreaking story. They both deal with concepts of love and distance.
If you liked 5 Centimeters Per Second then you will love Hotarubi no Mori e. They are very similar. I'd say 5 Centimeters Per Second is "happier" but I find that i liked Hotarubi no Mori e more for it's upfront sadness and the ending seemed to make more sense.
The theme of "distance" lies at the core of both short romance anime movies. The "distance" here can be both physical and psychological.
Both have a somewhat bittersweet, pretty sad ending. The focal point is moving on in life, especially when it comes to love. The focus is on the main characters and the boy x girl relationship between them. Both are very well done and have beautiful artistic values.
Both are beautiful yet tragic. Similar in terms of long distance relationships and the idea that it's better to have loved and get hurt than not to love at all.
Both shows have a focus on some short happiness one would find in life. However, as time passes, some things are let go due to people growing and changing over time. Sometimes hints of happiness are not meant to be kept, but to be remembered as a sweet, warm memory.
Opening ThemeNo opening themes found, add themes.
Ending Theme"Natsu wo Miteita (夏を見ていた)" by Sizzle Ohtaka (おおたか静流)
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HayaiSUB [Hayaisubs] (Brazilian Portuguese)
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