Natsu e no Tunnel, Sayonara no Deguchi | Movie Review

I absolutely love anime that pull at the heartstrings, more often than not, movies are the ones I find myself tearing up at the most. They’re just beautifully written and animated, the time and passion gone into each movie is something you can feel and appreciate. Natsu e no Tunnel, Sayonara no Deguchi was a movie I loved and enjoyed every minute.

Kaoru Tono heard a rumor: The laws of space and time mean nothing to the Urashima Tunnel. If you find it, walk through and you’ll find your heart’s desire on the other side…in exchange for years of your own life. One night, Kaoru just so happens to find himself standing in front of a tunnel that looks suspiciously like the one the rumor describes. He finds himself thinking of Karen, the sister he lost in an accident five years ago.

To Kaoru’s surprise, he’s been followed by the new transfer student Anzu Hanashiro, who promises to help him experiment with the mysterious tunnel—but what does she want from Kaoru in exchange? And what will he have left to give, after the tunnel’s done with him?

Natsu e no Tunnel, Sayonara no Deguchi

What stood out at me the most was the voice acting, despite it being an anime. Whoever’s decision it was to saying “I want an authentic voice” opposed to something you’d normally hear in a twelve episode anime was actually pretty neat. I could be tripping, who really knows?

What stood out at me as well is the concept that this cave like thing has the ability to accelerate time and space, almost to that one world in Interstellar where every hour on Miller’s planet is equal to seven years on Earth. I was excited to see how this concept would work in anime, especially one where our protagonists seemed to have developed a liking towards one another.

Natsu e no Tunnel, Sayonara no Deguchi is a prime example of how anime can weave together fantastical elements with profound human emotions. The film delves into the depths of the human psyche, exploring themes of regret, longing, and the passage of time.

However, the true nature of the Urashima tunnel turned out to be something entirely unexpected. It served as a metaphorical gateway for those trapped in their past, tempting them to regress into their longings and forsake their journey forward. This revelation, accompanied by the introspective conversations between Touno and Hanashiro, did wonders for character development. This movie emphasized the importance of embracing the present and while also telling us that we cannot keep chasing the past.

The incorporation of this seemingly surreal element into the fabric of reality is what sets “Natsu e no Tunnel, Sayonara no Deguchi” apart. It prompts viewers to reflect on their own stories, regrets, and the passage of time in their lives. The film becomes a vehicle for introspection, a mirror through which we can confront our own struggles and learn from the characters’ experiences.

All that being said, what I didn’t quite understand was the relationship between Touno and Hanashiro. They understood each other like no one else could. They were connected because they both clung onto the past and wanted something to change. What I didn’t quite understand was why didn’t Hanashiro chase after Tuno when she found out that he had gone into the tunnel without her?

Maybe it was because Touno and her grandfather were the only ones who had confidence and believed in her ability to be a mangaka. However, something stopped her from chasing after him. That part was something I didn’t quite understand. Furthermore, I didn’t quite understand how by the end of the movie, they came to the realization that they liked each other.

Considering that they haven’t seen each other in eight years, I cannot help but feel like information was missing. Let’s be honest here, towards the end it felt as though Touno and Hanashiro were thrown together. It made it feel rushed and ill-planned, but hey, that’s showbiz.

At the end of the day piece to the character development and relationship building puzzle was missing. I think that was the movies biggest failing for sure, there was definitely much more to be desired.

Overall I’d say the movie itself was a great one, I thought the message and the story it was telling was a very captivating one. It was definitely one I enjoyed. I do however wish that the movie itself was a little longer and that the characters were a little more thought out.