Hotarubi no Mori e (Japanese: 蛍火の杜へ, lit. "Into the Forest of Fireflies' Light") is a one-shotshōjo manga written by Yuki Midorikawa. It was published in the July 2002 issue of LaLa DX in Japan. In July 2003, it was reprinted in a tankōbonshort story collection of the same name, which included four romantic one-shot stories written by Midorikawa.
The inspiration to write the story came suddenly to Midorikawa, who immediately drew the manga—a process that went smoothly despite some initial conflicting elements. Hotarubi no Mori e is considered a starting point for Midorikawa's best-known work, Natsume's Book of Friends.
A story of a little girl named Hotaru and a young man, Gin. This short movie has a heartwarming love story, an understanding between them, and their fast and memorable confession. It was a beautiful movie with an age gap between them, a trust and a connection of good friends without a touch.
Intrigued by the story of the mountain god, Gin was left all alone in the forest of spirits. He was abandoned and about to die, but the spirits who lived there in the woods helped him survive, prayed to the mountain god, and gave him life. Gin was so weak that he could not consume human touch after the mountain god saved him. If he did, he would disappear.
How did Hotaru and Gin meet?
A six-year-old girl named Hotaru, curious about the forest where the spirits lived, walked into that forest, lying to her uncle. She lost her way and was unable to get out. Scared, she started crying, and to her rescue, a young man named Gin came for her recovery, telling her to follow him without touching him. Despite this, she tried to touch him and got hit by the stick on her head; she understood and followed him out of the forest. Gin warned her not to return, but she insisted on bringing him a present.
Despite being distanced by a rule of not touching him and warnings of not returning to the forest, Hotaru went there every summer and became good friends. However, their relationship and determination were tested when the time passed, and soon Hotaru's age came closer to Gins'. With a sense of being mature and attracted to each other, they did not break the rule because they didn't want to lose each other.
It was a feeling of being patient and wanting to feel each other's touch but couldn't. They were feeling the emotions of each other without the human touch. Even though he had spirits who cared for him, protected him, loved him, and prayed for his life. He wanted a human friendship, a relationship, emotions that only humans can provide, a warmth of being together without any human touch. He was all alone in his life, never had a human friend or a family.
This movie has a touch of emotions without feeling each other's contact. Being an inhuman living being, he has the heart of a human and also loves a human with all the emotions and feelings. Hotaru and Gin both enjoyed each other's company, had fun together, visited the summer festival of spirits, and started wanting more.
The only summer season was not enough. As Hotaru confessed, she always thought of him while she was away from him. She was worried about Gin, as the winter season had been freezing for many years. She made a woolen scarf to keep him warm even though he didn't feel cold.
Did Gin confess his feelings to Hotaru?
On their last day of being together, Gin decided to confess his feelings for Hotaru, and he did. Despite the rule, Gin removed his mask and put it on his face of Hotaru. He kissed her and showed how he wanted to be a part of her world where he could touch her and hold her in his arms without the fear of disappearing. Hotaru felt a strike of happiness and nervousness at the same time.
After this part, a boy ran beside them and was about to fall, but Gin held his hand to prevent him from falling. But little did he know that the boy was a human child. He started disappearing when he asked Hotaru to touch him.
He put out his arms and asked for a hug and with a fear of him disappearing and wanting him to handle all these years she rushed to hug him and slowly he disappeared, leaving his clothes in her arms. She cried as he disappeared, and his body became small fairy lights in the forest, and the spirits were happy as Gin got his human hug. Their last moment was full of feelings - fear, nervousness, romance, the warmth of each other's touch, and sentimental.