Into The Forest of Fireflies’ Light (Hotarubi no Mori e) is a short film that delivers a very emotional story about a human girl and a mysterious masked boy from the forest. The boy is named Gin, while the girl is named Hotaru. Hotaru encountered Gin by chance in the forest when she was young. She was lost, and Gin offered to help her. Hotaru wanted to touch him, but he retaliates.
Over time, it was discovered that Gin is not allowed to touch a human because he will disappear if he does. This became an obstacle because Gin and Hotaru started to develop romantic feelings for each other. During their date at the festival, Gin grabbed the wrist of a kid who was about to trip. This caused Gin to disappear, but did he die? Is he really gone? What exactly happened to him?
To understand, we’ll give you a brief overview of who and what Gin really is.
Gin Was A Human, But Is Now A Special Case
The film showed how Gin came to be. He was abandoned as an infant in the forest, and the mountain god put a spell on him so that he could survive. He was no longer a regular human because of this.
Notably, Gin also does not age like Hotaru does. He appeared as a teenager when Hotaru was six years old, and retained this appearance even when she grew older. Although, Gin is not entirely immortal. Seeing as he has grown up from being an infant, it was clear that Gin does age, but very slowly. His actual chronological age is most likely older than his appearance.
However the spell came with a price: should Gin touch a human, he will disappear. He will get obliterated. In a way, it meant that Gin should not become a human. His mask also contributes to this, as it covers his human face. It seems that Gin should hide who he really is in order to fit in among the spirits in the forest. But he is not entirely a spirit either, and even he acknowledges that he is just ‘something’.
In other words, Gin feels isolated from everyone and everything. Hotaru is the only person who actively sought him out. Hotaru is the reason why he was able to feel human for the very first time. He does not feel lonely anymore.
It is meant to tell that the supernatural should not co-exist and linger around mortal humans. Gin can be considered supernatural, but at the end of the day, he used to be a normal human. He is not entirely a spirit or a mythical creature. He still has his human appearance, and thus the human part inside him is not really gone.
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Gin Is Gone
With the conditions surrounding Gin, it could only mean that Gin had died. Not in the traditional sense humans would die, but his existence dissipated. Before he fully disappeared, he urged Hotaru to finally touch and hug him. He was smiling, and he seemed to have not regretted his choice. He looked relieved and happy, as his wish to finally touching Hotaru will finally come true before his death.
While Gin had died, he had no regrets. He was able to hug the girl he had loved. He was able to fully embrace who he really was – a human. He was able to fulfill his dream after so long, and he will no longer lead a solitary life. His love overrides his desire to stay alive but having a hollow existence.
Hotaru, on the other hand, is understandably devastated. Gin left his mask behind, and Hotaru kept it to remember him as long as she lives. It is ultimately a bittersweet ending, yet Gin died with a happy heart. That is what matters.