★ BASIC INFORMATION ★
TYPE: In-between a spirit and a human
AGE: His appearance is equivalent to a 2nd year in high school
VOICE ACTOR: Kouki Uchiyama
Gin was abandoned as a small child in the Forbidden Forest of the Mountain God. He cried, and cried, and cried some more until he caught the attention of many spirits that lived in the forest. If it wasn't for the spirits, Gin would have died quickly. Although he should have been dead, the spirits casted a spell on him to preserve his body with magic. However, because his body is preserved, it is extremely fragile, and will be broken with one small touch by a human.
Gin is a very caring person. He helps a young child out of the forest, even though that simple action in itself could have ended his life if he was touched. He is a very curious person. He likes to watch and observe his surroundings, allowing him to intake and learn. He is also has a peculiar sense of humor -- he wears a mask on his face so that he can "appear" more spirit-like, instead of looking like a boy.
While looking up Gin's name on http://kabalarians.com, I found a few of the points to be significant to Gin:
★ Your compassionate nature causes you to be too generous and you often give more than you can afford to.
★ While this name gives you a wonderful personality, and attracts much love and friendship, it is far too emotional.
Gin sacrifices a lot, and lives a hard life. He is not a spirit, nor a person, and has desires from both worlds. However, he is unable to achieve any type of goal due to his "curse." I put curse in quotes because the spell allowed him to live, but is he really living if he can't do anything?
NAME: Hotaru Takegawa
AGE: Starts off at age 6, goes until 1st year of high school.
VOICE ACTOR: Ayane Sakura
Hotaru started off as a small girl, only 6 years old. She is adventurous though because she decides to wander the forbidden forest alone. However, she is too young to know how to get out. She meets a spirit in the forest, and that moment forever changes her life. As she grows up, she changes a lot. She goes from a small, naive girl to a beautiful, caring woman. Throughout the movie and one-shot manga, you see that summertime is her favorite season, she loves watermelon, and she is a bit spacey. She gets lost in her own thoughts and mind when it isn't summertime, all because of Gin.
One thing Hotaru has always been since she was 6 years old is open-minded. She allowed her mind to grasp the idea of spirits, demons, and the unknown. She bravely walked into the forest every summer day until she was in high school beside a spirit. She also has always been determined. She tries to achieve her goals and the things she wants, no matter what. It's nice to see a female character act strong and brave, especially to have that characteristic at such a young age.
While looking up Hotaru's name on http://kabalarians.com, I found a few of the points to be significant to Hotaru:
☆ You enjoy being with people in a social environment.
☆ This name causes you to be somewhat too concerned with the personalities, problems, and activities of other people.
☆ Your personal appearance is important to you, for you desire to make a good impression on others.
Hotaru manifests all of her mind, body, and soul into the summer months. She loves going to her Uncle's house near the forest, but not to see her family, to see Gin. Her dedication to the world unknown causes a lot of despair and hardships in her life. However, these are something Hotaru is/was willing to deal with because of how happy she was in the moment. Is she brave, or is she a weak girl for sticking by something she knew would end?
Above are three supporting characters that appear in the one-shot. The first is Hotaru's Uncle. He owns the house that Hotaru stays in over the summer near the mountains. He tells Hotaru of his childhood and wanting to wander into the mountains to see spirits. The second one is Hotaru's mother. She is only seen quickly during a few scenes telling Hotaru to behave herself and to eat less. The last picture is of a classmate in Hotaru's school. He tells helps her out during her spacey moments. He also holds her hand so she won't slip on ice. None of these characters are very important which is why I am only giving small bits of information on them (mostly because there isn't much more I can give. To see them play out, head to the story section of this site).
★ Hotarubi no Mori e ★I felt like it would be a good idea to list some information about the series as a whole as well in this section. This includes information on the manga version as well as the later created movie/OVA as well:
→ Hotarubi no Mori e translates to "Into the Forest of Fireflies"
→ It was originally created as a one-shot manga by Yuki Midorikawa in July of 2002's issue of LaLa DX
→ A 44 minute film was later produced in 2011 with the same title, directed by Takahiro Omori
→ The European premiere of Hotarubi no Mori e was on October 8, 2011 at the Scotland Loves Animation festival, where it won the Jury Prize
→ The Film also won the Animation Film Award at the 66th Annual Mainichi Film Awards
→ In February of 2012, they released Hotarubi no Mori e Tokubetsuhen which added to the story. Click HERE to see what this is about. I found a website that took pictures of this version and wrote in english underneath what it meant. Very interesting! I love it!
★ Mountain Spirits ★In Japanese history, the idea of "spirits" roaming in the mountains was a huge part of Japanese mythology. In Japan, a forest is basically a synonym with mountains. Through out history, lumberjacks and men in general feared that their actions would anger the mountain spirits, so they mostly stayed away from them. In the Shinto religion, people often believe that on high mountains, like Mt. Fujiyama, live kami (aka "beings of a higher place,"). These regions used to be blocked off to women in prehistoric times in fear of "contaminating" the women there. Currently, Ominesan is still off limits to this day.
In Japan, the main mountain spirit, yamanokami, was a female who was identified with taboos. They were said to punish women who tried to climb up the mountain, and sometimes would turn them into stone. However, the yams-no-kami meant different things for farmers and for mountain people. Agriculturists love and appreciate the mountain gods, praying and giving to them for the things they needed to farm and eat. However, the mountain-people felt differently. One example is the prohibitions against entering the mountain on the day of the kami's festival. Because the kami counts the mountain's trees on that day; it is said that anyone cutting down a tree that day will be pinned under it and die.
In Hotarubi no Moi e, people of the village speak badly of route to the mountains that Gin and the other spirits live in. They say once you go into those mountains, you will never come out. Above are five different spirits that are represented in the movie. The first one is a spirit that lives inside of the trees. All you see is a giant hand come down. The second one resembles a small snake-like creature. The third is the spirit that takes care of Gin, which actually is a fox. It appears dark with one-eye because it tries to scare humans who walk into the forest. The fourth one is a chicken-spirit. Finally, the last one resembles a type of wild-boar. Animal-spirits are extremely prevalent in Japanese culture, which is why it makes sense that they would all be some type of animal/plant. They never show the mountain god in the series, but Gin talks highly of it (Not so much Hotaru's uncle).