Fangirl Moment: Hotarubi no Mori e

TGIF! Here we are again with another Fangirl Friday, where I write about my absolute favorite anime, manga, dramas, webcomics, books….whatever! This week I’m taking it back a little to one of the first manga to make me actually cry, Hotarubi no Mori e (lit. Into the Forest of Fireflies’ Light).


Hotarubi no Mori e is a 2002 manga oneshot (also apart of a 2003 tankobon of the same name) written by Yuki Midorikawa, the author behind Natsume’s Book of Friends. The story follows a young girl, Hotaru, and her friendship with a mysterious masked man, Gin,  who lives in the woods outside of her grandfather’s home. She meets Gin at the age of six and quickly learns that Gin is not a normal man, but a supernatural being. He warns her that she must never touch him or else he will disappear forever. She promises not to touch him and they strike up a summer friendship that spans years. But, as the years pass and Hotaru matures, her feelings grow into love, and both struggle with the limitations of not being able to touch.

Bittersweet…if I had to sum this manga up in one word, it would have to be bittersweet… It’s been years since I last read this and even now I’m tearing up as I write this. This story struck a cord with me, and I will admit that I cried like a baby at the ending. It left an empty feeling in my gut, yet I couldn’t help but feel like the outcome was unavoidable. Summer is a time for fleeting childhood memories…fireworks…barbecues…beach trips…and tears! This manga definitely sums up what it’s like to transition from childhood to adulthood and with it the loss of something precious yet intangible.

The progression was slow like a series of endless summer days one event blending into the next. The characters were likable, and despite the brevity of the story, I found myself getting invested in their pasts and hoping that everything would turn out all right for them in the future. The romance was done well, and didn’t feel unnatural or rushed in any way. I will say you can see the conclusion coming a mile away, its rather obvious in hindsight, yet despite that it still had the same emotional impact! This manga really hit me in the feels, hard! In 2011, the story was adapted into a 44 minute animated short film, which I saw…the director did a great job of translating such a beautiful yet heartbreaking story to film, so I highly suggest giving it a watch if you have the time! I highly suggest reading this amazing story, but remember to grab a few tissues before hand.

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15 thoughts on “Fangirl Moment: Hotarubi no Mori e

  1. OMG YES. Bittersweet is totally the definition of this movie. I haven’t read the manga version, but I really loved the film. Just thinking about it makes me teary.

    1. Thank you so much for reading! I am so glad you could relate!

      I highly suggest reading the manga too if you ever get the chance!

      There are only so many stories that have that effect on me and this is one of them.

  2. I don’t watch a lot of anime films, but this had been recommended to be for a long time that I decided to watch it. I’m so glad I did. It’s such a beautiful story, the writing is excellent, especially the minimalist dialogues. Made me sob so badly, but I’ll endure red and swollen eyes for this kind of stories anytime.

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and reading my post!

      I am really glad you liked this movie, it is one of my favorites! No matter how many times I watch the movie or read the manga, I always feel the same bittersweet emotions!

      1. You’re welcome. It’s one of my favourite anime films. I don’t watch a lot of anime films, so it’s very rare for me to say that an anime film is a fave.

        Oh. How brave of you to re-watch this film. I just can’t easily watch it again because it hurts, you know. I’ll need to take some time to prepare my emotions before I decide to watch it again. It’s a beautiful film, no doubt about it.

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