This is the most beautiful heartbreak I've ever read. Before going into detail, I want to warn the readers about some [spoilers] in this review. First of all, if you want to take a break from too much mushy shoujo mangas, I would recommend this. But I don't recommend it for the faint hearted.
So I was just chilling one day, lurking the myanimelist, when all of a sudden I came across this manga. I was like "oh so cool. I bet they're going to put a cliche at the end where she still
gets to touch him anyway" Me---being a tragedy hater---was caught off guard. Let me tell you, I had 5 sleepless nights trying to get over this manga! It was just so sad! Everytime I saw the title, the picture, I still feel really sorry for Hotaru.
The story was just so beautiful--yet painful. We go around our lives, having wonderful and sad time---then things happen, and those experiences turn into memories. Hotarubi sent a powerful message that we must treasure our memories--even though it hurts ti remember them, they are a part of ourselves.
rant: BUT IT'S JUST TOOOO SaDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD ;_; HOTARU MAY MOVE ON, BUT I CAN'T!!!! ;_; pooor Hotaruuu
Yeah it's really sad. I like it. but I hate tragedies.
This manga is irregular. It includes four one-shots, some better than others. The art is not my favorite style, but it is ok.
The second story (Hotaru no mori e) must be one of the best one-shots I've read. Hotaru gets lost in the forest and a boy called Gin, who is really a spirit, helps her find her way home. They become friends; they start meeting every summer holiday, and grow each year closer. But she cannot touch him, or he will disappear. A really beautiful sad story.
It was made an anime, with the same name, which is also very good, with nice
art, and beautiful music. I seriously recommend watching it.
If it were for this story alone, I would rate it with a 10.
The fourth story (Deepening the Scar) is also very good. It is a love story between brother and sister, but unlike most brother-sister love stories, this one is realistic. It is not the typical "we are siblings, but love prevails, so who cares" type of story. Good development, good ending... very sad, too.
I would probably rate this one-shot with a 9.
The other two stories are not as good. The first one isn´t very clear... there are things I didn´t understand, or that were kept unexplained: I think it is a ghost story, though I'm not sure... but even if I'm right, who is that ghost? And does that ghost have anything to do with the character's injuries? I think that if it were a little bit longer, the plot could have been better developed. The third story is just average, nothing really special about it, although there are instants -certain panels- were you can perceive a deeper and more serious feeling that what's usual in the typical shoujo manga. I think there is a gap between the two stories I mentioned first and these other two. But I wouldn't say they are "bad", either.
In any case, I recommend reading this manga. "Hotaru no mori e" and "Deepening the Scar" alone make it worthy.
Warning: There’s some huge spoiler ahead so read at your own risk.
I first knew about this manga when I accidentally watched a fan made music video of its film adaptation. I did tell you on some of my previous reviews that I love heartbreaking stories, and when I found out that Hotarubi no Morie E is one of them, I instantly added it in my TBR.
I didn’t really read the sypnosis when I added this one to my TBR coz at that time, I didn’t see any reason why I should be. I love the graphics and the story was kind of heartbreaking and that’s
enough. So imagine my surprise when I found out that this book is a collection of 4 one shot stories. I was surprised and was a little disappointed. This book comprises of 4 different stories representing the four seasons, summer, spring, fall and winter. So I guess it’ll be wise if I’ll divide my review based on each stories.
Summer – Hotarubi no Mori e (Into the Forest of Fireflies’ Light)
The first story happens every Summer. It’s the story of Gin and Hotaru, they’re both familiar as they were the ones I saw in the trailer.
This story started when Hotaru, who was just 6 year old at that time got lost at the Yamagami Forest, where is known as inhabited by youkai (monsters). While crying, a teenage boy who’s wearing a fox mask appeared. She got so relieved that she immediately ran towards him for a hug but ended up being hurt as he dodge her hug. She then found out that he can’t be touched by a human or he’ll disappear forever. Right after that meeting, they became good friends and been seeing each other every summer since it’s only during those season that Hotaru stays at her grandfather’s house.
This is only a one shot story so I understand why there’s been a lot of time jump as Hotaru starts to grow up while Gin still looks the same. I believe it was because of the spell that’s been keeping him alive. (Curious? I’m not gonna tell, haha, or it’ll be a total bummer *wink) There’s been some innocent yet sweet scenes between them as well as some funny one too so it wasn’t a surprise that I’ve learn to love both the main characters, especially Gin. I really pitied his situation, good thing all the youkai (monsters) living in the forest really cares for him a lot. And then when he met Hotaru, he became a little livelier.
I know I already dropped some spoiler above but I want to refrain from giving another one (well, only for this one shot though hehe) because I want you to find it for yourself. The ending was really really heartbreaking. I’m not really sure what will Hotaru do after that. I guess it’s going to be pretty obvious what will happen, but I bet you’ll wonder how will that happen eh? It wasn’t really that special, it’s just a bit sad really.
Spring – Hanauta Nagaruru (Overhearing a Flower Song)
For this story, I was confused most of the time reading it. I guess I was still having a hangover after that tragic ending with the first one shot *wink.
This story is about a girl who accidentally heard a sweet melody outside an old abandoned building in their school. Then she came across a guy who’s known as violent and keeps on fighting with other students. She accidentally heard him humming the same melody she heard at that old building so she assumed he’s the one’s who’s been playing the guitar. She then became close to him and got to see the good side of him.
This one’s pretty cliché. It’s like a girl dating a gangster but the guy in this story wasn’t that bad and was not part of any gang. After the unfortunate accident he went through, he became more violent and been fighting with the guys in the school. He got close to the girl and then slowly started caring for her. The ending for this one wasn’t that clear for me really. The drawing/sketch wasn’t clear enough. Absolutely my least favorite of all one shots in this book.
Autumn – Kurukuru Ochiba (The Fallling of Autumn Leaves)
For this story, it’s a story of a guy who comes from a very rich family and a girl who is poor. Yep, pretty cliché right? After saving the guy from almost being abducted, the girl then started to act like his protector since then. It’s been so long that she hadn’t realized that the true reason why she wants to be by his side all the time is because she’s starting to fall in love with him. I guess the feeling was mutual because of the ending. The conflict was that the girl always protecting the guy thus making him feel useless but at the same time he allows that because he’s afraid that if she realizes that he can now take care of himself, she’ll leave him.
Quite corny if you ask me, but I guess it was better than the second story.
Winter – Hibi, Fukaku (Deepening the Scar)
Unlike the other three stories, this one wasn’t about romance but about sister and brother relationship. Growing up, they’ve been pretty close until their parents got separated and then her brother came with their father because he can’t leave him alone. The only communication they have was through writing letters. After 8 years, their parents get back together and so her brother and father came back to their house. They’re both grown up now so their relationship were kind of awkward. Her brother is graduating in high school soon and he told her that he’ll leave again after that.
The ending really had me thinking so hard. I keep on reading this one over and over again but I always come up with the same understanding. And what is that? I believe that both of them love each other but romantically. Absurd right? I hope I’m wrong though. The drawing wasn’t really clear at all or maybe it’s the translation?
Overall, I guess it was a decent read minus the cliché. Of all four stories, the Summer one shot is my favorite, next I guess was the Winter story.
This book ended with a little follow-up story of Hotaru and Gin before the disappearing act happened and it was really cute. I also love the compilation of pictures too which I guess was taken from the movie. And speaking of movie, I’ll definitely watch it soon *wink.