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Hotarubi no Mori e
A Beautiful Story of Love and Friendship
Imagine not being able to touch the one person dearest to you. You spend time with that person daily, but you make sure that there is no accidental brush of your fingertips or a slight shove or pat. You ensure with such precision that you do not touch this person. No, he doesn't have a disease or dislikes hugs or any type of contact. No. You don't touch him because you love him. Because if you touch him, he will disappear forever.
Hotarubi no Mori e tells such a story between a young girl named Hotaru and a mountain spirit named Gin. When Hotaru was young, she manages to get lost in a forest filled with mountain spirits. A typical little girl, she is frightened and wants to find her way out. She manages to encounter a young teenage boy named Gin. However, Gin is not a human, merely a mountain spirit. He offers to help her out of the forest, while warning her that if he touches a human he will disappear. Two immediately become close friends, and Gin is fascinated with the fact that Hotaru does not fear him.
The plot is focused on the interactions between Hotaru and Gin , and how Hotaru grows up. (Gin is a spirit, he will always remain the same age, and soon she manages to catch up with his age) They both have a very pure and close friendship which soon develops into something deeper.
The art is extremely beautiful; colorful and calm with scenic backgrounds. The characters are simple and lovable. There are no huge complexities or dramatic plot twists. In fact, this 'movie' is only 44 minutes. One may think at first it isn't enough time to get connected with the characters, but I think it's plenty time. Hotarubi no Mori e is a beautiful story of love and friendship that makes us realize the things we take for granted at times: hugging someone we love.