Two common things I hear people asking for when it comes to anime is more easily consumable titles and more titles for women. Back in ye olde golden days (which are never as golden as people member them) it was easier to find short little OVAs. They were often just commercials for much longer manga series but it was nice to be able to sit down and watch a series in a single sitting.
And no matter what the length it seems that while manga has a decently even split between the sexes when it comes to anime the medium always has had a male focused bias when it comes to what shows get made. Shojo anime is just uncommon enough that it is almost always appreciated by its target audience when it is animated.
So Hotarubi no Mori e (Into the Forest of Fireflies’ Light) is a wonderful combination of these two somewhat overlooked niches. It is a single stand alone shojo story that requires no outside knowledge and can be watched in a single 44-minute sitting. In that time it tells a simple but bittersweet love story. As the original story of Hotarubi no Mori e was written by Yuki Midorikawa, of Natsume’s Book of Friends fame, you know that you will surround yourself in a relaxing if slightly melancholy story of yokai that pulls on the heartstrings.
I must admit that I’m a total sucker for human-falls-in-love-with-ghost stories. It isn’t too hard to see the beauty of love transcending the bounds of time and death. There is also the romantic yet inevitable melancholy ending that is sure to follow.
I also had a lot of confidence that this move would evoke those wondrous qualities because of Natsume’s Book of Friends similar feeling. Japanese myth and romance come together in perfect harmony in Hotarubi no Mori e.