Hotori- Tada Saiwai wo Koinegau

At the Personality Plant, Professor Shimizu is in charge of implanting the robot named Suzu with the memories and personality of a deceased boy named Ogura Ryou, all so that his parents can have a replacement for their lost son. Ironically enough, however, Shimizu’s own daughter suffers from a disease that causes her to slowly but steadily lose her own memories. When Suzu wanders into Hotori’s home, a friendship starts building between these two lonely children- one of who faces turning into someone he is not, and another who faces losing everything that makes her who she is.

It’s generally wise not to set too high a standard for short standalone OVAs like this one- with so little time to establish and develop and world, the result is generally either highly generic and predictable or simply entirely confusing (although, as Pale Cocoon showed us, confusing can also be good). It was therefore a pleasant surprise to discover that, despite its mere forty minute runtime, Hotori is actually rather good. Yes, on the surface it may sound like yet another tale of tragic memories and questioning the nature of self, but the film tells it so calmly and convincingly that you cannot help but be moved by it. It may not be flashy or grandiose, but it doesn’t need to be, for it works perfectly well as the quietly heart-wrenching tale of these two young people.

Despite having only been produced two years ago, Hotori does look a bit dated on the visual side, with graphics and animation coming off as merely solid and serviceable rather than outstanding or noteworthy in any way. Fortunately, with the story itself being the main attraction, any weakness on the presentation side can be forgiven.

Final Thoughts
It’s easy to dismiss short OVAs like this in the face of keeping up with everything else the anime world has to offer, but Hotori is truly worth a brief investment of your time. If you want something absorbing yet understated and more than a little bittersweet, then this is the OVA for you.

3 thoughts on “Hotori- Tada Saiwai wo Koinegau

  1. Nothing so grand, I’m afraid- Necromancer just happened to notice it on Tokyotosho one day, he told me about it, and it sounded good enough to try. Somehow it’s random coincidences like these that turn up better titles than planned watching.

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