Hotarubi no Mori e

Vol: 1; Ch: 4
2002 - 2003
4.092 out of 5 from 756 votes
Rank #2,036
Hotarubi no Mori e

While visiting her uncle for the summer, six year old Hotaru gets lost in the woods outside the village. Scared, the crying girl is eventually rescued by a gentle youkai named Gin, who is burdened with a curse that will cause him to disappear if ever touched by a human. Though they are barred from physical contact, the two become close friends. But after a few short years it becomes apparent that Gin ages more slowly than humans, so while Hotaru is growing up and changing, Gin remains in stasis. How will Hotaru adapt to the complicated emotions she develops as her and Gin's ages gradually converge?

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These are four standalone stories, with the above synopsis describing the second story. I think the art is attempting to be light and breezy, but it just looks sloppy to me. The faces don't convey emotions very well and are often off-center and the clothes look wrinkled when I think they're intended to look flowy. The backgrounds are generally well-drawn though. The first story uses music and guitar-playing as the glue and tells the story of a girl breaking through a guy's rough exterior and finding feir vulnerable center. It's not all that great. Let's call this story a 3/10. The second is a melancholy love story of two people who can never truly realize their love or have a full relationship. Because if the boy ever touches a human, fe'll disappear forever. And fe also doesn't age. (There's also an extra chapter at the end of the volume which shows some of the boy's interactions with the other monsters in the forest.) It's a good story. Let's call it a 9/10. The third story tells of a boy and a girl who became and remained friends for over a decade despite there being a socioeconomic gap between their families. The girl aspires to be a ninja so fe can protect the boy, but does the boy need to be protected? It's cute and enjoyable. Probably another 9/10. The fourth story is about two very close siblings who were separated because of their parents' divorce, and when they re-entered each others' lives again years later, the vibes they're feeling are less than platonic. It's meh, so a 5/10 feels right.

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