★ Opinion ★Hotarubi no Mori e caught me off the back when I read the description about how it was set place in a forest, in nature. I love the idea of romance in the forest and the mountains, so I decided to watch the 44 minute movie. While watching the movie, I really loved watching Hotaru age. I thought that was a cute way to show her character growth, and the growth of her relationship with Gin. Hotaru starts off as a little girl, only six years old to be exact. She has no idea what it truly means to be in love, or what it means to die even. She meets Gin and immediately trusts him. She even runs at him to hug him, a stranger in the mountains! That just shows how immature she starts off. But hey, she can't help it! She's just a baby. Walking with Gin made her feel like she was on a "date," which he disagrees. Hotaru just doesn't understand things at this point. As she ages, you watch her physically grow into a young woman, and you watch her start to understand the meaning of disappearing. She finally realizes that Gin will leave her forever if she touches him. This craving to touch him gets worse and worse in age, but not because of curiosity, but because of lust and love. I admire her strength from the age of 6 years old till the moment Gin leaves her at around 14-15 years old, Hotaru is able to resist the urges to touch him. She is also able to go only three seasons out of the whole year apart from Gin. I personally would never be able to do that with someone I cared for. It would be too hard for me to deal with the long-distance relationship. I admire that in her character that she did it. Gin hinted that it would be their last summer together at the end, which makes me wonder if he was planning on touching her and disappearing or if he was just planning to forget her. Regardless, he was falling hard for her, and couldn't take the pain of waiting. By the end of the movie, I was in tears, sobbing and gasping. Although I knew from the start that they could never truly be together, I was not expecting him to disappear so suddenly. I guess that is how life goes, though. Not all endings are the stereotypical "happy." Hotaru was happy that she had the memories with Gin, and she was happy she spent her summers with him. However, she did not get to be with him and live happily ever after. It's more realistic. She will one day move on and find someone who is human to be with her, but she will always remember her first love. If anything, this experience made her into a strong woman instead of a weak anime girl. Overall, I would give this movie 5/5 stars if I could rate it. Although its rather short, and I feel like they could have made it into a full 90 minute movie, I still loved every minute of it. I liked how they kept the character list short, and I liked all of the music playing in the background. Definitely go check it out, or read the one-shot manga if that interests you more! They are both worth it.