Hotarubi no Mori e Review — B+


Hotaru, a little girl lost in the forest, meets a spirit wearing a mask. They play together in the forest each summer as she grows and he remains the same.

What a beautiful little gem of a movie. It’s in effect a coming of age story, watching a girl’s summers as she grows up and falls in love with her childhood playmate.

This is a short movie, coming in at 45 minutes. And it’s the perfect length. There’s not a single waste scene, but there isn’t anything I felt was missing, either. They chose the length of the movie to fit the story, and not the story to fit the length of the movie, as often seems to happen.

Usually I’m not to keen on romantic relationships where the ages differ by a factor of two, but here it was presented in a decidedly non-creepy way.

  • Storytelling – A – Great coming of age story.
  • Voice – A – Feels magical and bittersweet.
  • Characters – B – Excellent growth of the girl and her relationship.
  • Attention Grab – A – Not a wasted moment.
  • Production – B – Looks great.
  • Overall – B+

Recommendations – Natsume Yuujinchou, Spirited Away, The Place Promised in our Early Days

4 thoughts on “Hotarubi no Mori e Review — B+

  1. Watched this thanks to this recommendation. ’twas a good watch.
    And about romantic stories with huge age differences well played, have you seen The Garden of Words?

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