Hotarubi no Mori is a collection of four short stories by Yuki Midorikawa. The theme through the volume is love and each of the stories represent a season. The title story – Hotarubi no Mori e, has been made into an animated film by the same crew that made Natsume Yuujinchou.
Overhearing a Flower Song
Shima has noticed music comes from the old building, and she’s curious about it because she likes it. One day she hears a boy, Fujimura, hum the melody and she start taking notice of him, until she one day takes a look and sees him teaching another girl guitar, and eventually she starts learning the guitar too.
Into the Forest of Fireflies’ Light (Hotarubi no Mori e)
When Hotaru Takegawa was six-year-old, she once got lost in the forest close to her grandparents’ house. There she meets Gin, a spirit that she is told not to touch because he’ll disappear. He leads her out of the forest and after that she comes everyday until the end of the summer when she has to return home. She continues meeting Gin every summer after that, seeing him not age much at all, while she is aging much faster.
The Falling of Autumn Leaves
Tsubaki and the Kirisato family’s Kaede became friends because Kaede was a lonely child with busy parents. But because of the family’s wealth, Kaede is once almost kidnapped. Luckily Kaede is there to see it and shouts out, scaring the kidnappers away. After that Tsubaki decided to become a ninja to protect her beloved friend, and she’ll do that from the shadows if that’s all she can do.
Deepening the Scar
Ritsu and her older brother Sou‘s family broke apart and Sou moved away with their father. They exchange letters and sometimes speak on the phone until the family finally is patched together again. But the eight years that passed changed the siblings too much for them to go back to what they used to be.
Each of the stories are very charming and are indeed a variety of love from childhood friends falling in love to, incest and even love between human and non-human. The volume as a whole is a great piece of work, just as the individual stories. I personally like the second and fourth stories the best. It doesn’t take much time to read and is definitely worth a read for any romance-loving reader of mine.
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