My Thoughts on Horatubi no Mori E- A Japanese Animated Film

“Time might separate us someday, but until then, let’s stay together.”

 – Hotaru to Gin

Heartbreak. I just experienced another heartbreak. Not because of someone, but because of something.

Horatubi no Mori E also known as Into the Forest of Fireflies’ Light just made me cry a river. It’s been quite a while since I last watched a Japanese animated film and I think this is a good way to get in the zone again.

The film is a one shot shojo manga written by Yuki Midorikawa which was published in the July 2002 issue of LaLa DX in Japan and eventually reprinted in a tankōbon short story collection of the same name in July 2003. This time it included four romantic one-shot stories also written by Yuki Midorikawa. The anime version which was directed by Takahiro Omori was later on produced in the year 2011 at the anime studio Brain’s. It starred Japanese voice actors Ayane Sakura and Kōki Uchiyama. Its soundtrack included music by Makoto Yoshimori. It has become a really popular film and has maintained a strong following for months in Japan after its opening on September 17, 2011. (

My thoughts on this film? Well, I must admit I’m really weak when it comes to love themed films, especially animated ones. Up until now, my heart is still aching because of the beautiful yet somewhat tragic love story that I witnessed. Even though it was a relatively short film, with only 44 minutes of total running time, it still successfully captured all the important elements of the story and the sentiments of Hotaru Takegawa, the female lead in this movie.

Set at the Kamishikimi Kumanoimasu Shrine in the Kumamoto Prefecture of Japan, the film opens with Hotaru (who looks like Hana of the Wolf Children for me) preparing to set off on a journey in the middle of summer.


Then a flashback – she was only six then when she got lost in a forest so all she can do was cry, until this masked man appeared out of nowhere, asking her if she was indeed lost and then eventually leading her out of the forest.

hotarubi no mori e 1


That was in summer – her first encounter with Gin, a forest ‘ghost’. From then on, Hotaru kept coming back to this forest every summer just to meet him.

All good stories, especially love stories must come to an end. As someone who has been raised by the forest gods and spirits, Gin was not allowed to touch humans. If he does, then his body will disappear and that will be the end of him.

For years, Gin and Hotaru resisted the temptation of touching each other. Until one night. Everything changed in one night. Gin accidentally touched a human boy.


“Come here, Hotaru, I can finally touch you.”

This was Gin’s last words before disappearing. It turned out that he has been waiting all this time to finally touch a human, to touch her. It took him over 10 years to fulfill that wish. Hotaru has been patiently waiting too. This I’m certain.


“I love you.”

“Yeah, I love you too.”

Sweetest words yet the saddest parting lines. It took a long time for this confession as well. But at least they were still able to confess to each other. Just in time, Gin also left his mask to Hotaru.

Yeah, Hotaru was left behind. Broken hearted. But she’s a strong girl. She knew that this ‘relationship’ may come to an end sooner or later. She immediately accepted the fact that it may take a long time before she can look forward to summer again.


It was indeed a beautiful story although heartbreaking. In everything, I think even in pain, there’s beauty. I highly admire Hotaru for her loyalty and even Gin. It was just unfortunate that the story had to end that way. The former was even planning to find a job near that place after she graduates so she can spend more time with Gin. Regardless of the season, she wants to be with Gin. But as we all know, it will never happen. Never.


Dang! This film needs a sequel! Seriously! I would love to see Gin resurrected and reunited with Hotaru. Or if not, perhaps, a continuation of Hotaru’s moving-on-stage story – that day when she has finally moved on and met another man to love and whatnot. If only.

And oh, I’d like to share this short fanmade video. It’s really beautiful and the song suits the film perfectly. Hope you guys can watch the full movie soon! I’m sure you’ll love it just as much as I do! 🙂

PS: I would like to thank and give credits to a fellow blogger, Arria Cross ( who manages the site, Fujinsei. I saw the title of this film on her blogpost- A BEAUTIFUL YET TRAGIC TALE OF LOVE IN “HOTARUBI NO MORI E” and immediately went on to search for the movie. It was definitely a great find! You can also read her blog about this film here-

(Photos used are not mine, credits to their rightful owners)


4 Comments Add yours

  1. Arria Cross says:

    Hello there, Mary!

    I’m glad that my post about “Hotarubi no Mori e” encouraged you to watch it. Indeed, it’s a beautiful film, albeit tragic in the end. I can see that you enjoyed it as much as I did. I disagree, though, about wanting for it to have a sequel. I understand that you want more, but I think that it’s beautiful as it is. Anyway, thanks again for the shout-out. It’s much appreciated. Keep on blogging.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello there Arria! Yeah, I think you’re right on that. The film is beautiful as it is. It was just really unfortunate for it to end that way. I would love to see more of Gin and Hotaru together. Guess I’ve been attached to the characters after watching it. I have to watch another film then so I can deviate my attention. I’m planning to watch Grave of the Fireflies soon. 🙂

      You’re most welcome! Being an anime freak, I really enjoy reading blogs like yours and I appreciate recommendations of good anime films. Keep on blogging as well! Have a great day! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Arria Cross says:

        I agree that it’s unfortunately that it ended tragically, but when I really think about it, the tragic love story between Gin and Hotaru is what makes the film so beautiful. I know how you feel. The film just did an excellent job in establishing the relationship between Gin & Hotaru that you can’t help but become attached to them. Great idea! Enjoy the movie. I heard “Grave of the Fireflies” is good. Unfortunately, all I managed was to watch a snippet of that movie so technically, I still haven’t watched it yet. Will watch it one of these days. . .when I’m in the mood.

        Thank you. I’m glad that you’re proud of being an anime freak. All I can say is keep doing what you’re doing. Cheers!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks for your words of encouragement Arria! Anime freaks unite! Looking forward to your other blogs in the future! 😀


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