Little Forest” (Komori) is a film by Shochiku Studio and adapted from the manga of the same name by Igarashi Daisuke. The movie is divided into two parts: “Little Forest – Summer / Autumn” and “Little Forest – Winter / Spring.” It is a beautiful four-season story in the small peaceful Komori hamlet.

Komori is a small settlement located in a village somewhere in the Tohoku region. There aren’t any stores here, but if you have a little shopping to do there’s a small farmer’s co-op supermarket, or you can also purchase things at some other stores in the village center where the town hall is located. The way there is mostly downhill, so it only takes 30 minutes, but I don’t know how long it takes to return…” – Ichiko (Ai Hashimoto). 

Komori is the hometown of the main character Ichiko. This is the place where she was born and raised and also where she returned after hard days scrambling in a wealthy and noisy city. The small hamlet is placed in the mountains, separated from the plain. Therefore, people here are intimately involved in the work of farming, animal breeding, and cooking from natural ingredients and the fruits of their labor. At the old house where Ichiko and her mother used to live together in the past, she plants the seeds, takes care of and makes simple rural dishes all by herself. Without a clear plot, the film is just a story about the peaceful and lonely life of Ichiko

Following Ichiko‘s steps throughout the movie, we will see a colorful and full of flavors’ picture of Komori: the strong vigor of the plants and blades, the seeds that seemed dormant in the soil but will grow stronger and stronger day by day. Through human hands, they become valuable ingredients for making delicate and nutritious dishes. There are seven different dishes in each season and behind each dish is a story about something: a tree, an experience, a technique of planting. In those stories, every memory of Ichiko‘s childhood where she learned to cook with her mother also returned. The Komori scenery is also adorned with the beautiful natural view of the four seasons. Layers seem to change every season from the immense green of spring to fully soaked with rain in the summer then quickly turn red and yellow in autumn and finally a white color worn in winter. Through these natural scenes, the image of the workers also become more realistic: the sound of pedal mill, tractors and drills resounding evenly in the small area and the hard-working farmers contributing to creating valuable products every day. Thanks to living in this environment and seeing all these things with their own eyes, IchikoYutaKikko admired the people here. They say what they know, and believe in what they experience. They are different from those who always utter cliché words that they themselves do not even understand.

Overall, with the guidance of director Junichi Mori and the talented young cast such as Ai HashimotoTakahiro MiuraMayu Matsuoka, “Little Forest” offers the audience the most authentic and vivid footage of people and nature so this is a valuable gift for those who love natural surroundings and cooking. The acting is natural and convincing; Ai Hashimoto‘s character here is different than her usual roles so its really interesting to see and it is a must watch if you are her fan. I also really like Mayu Matsuoka, and she is very talented at such a young age. You might know her through the “Chihayafuru” live action. I loved YUI and her band FLOWER FLOWER singing the song in this movie because her vocals really fit the mood of this film. The sounds are calm and amazing. The movie is a very nice watch even if you don’t consider this as such but just a cooking show. The film is just so relaxing and original. You might also have some quality wallpaper because the cinematography is amazing and epic. The movie would be boring for some of you though because there’s no plot but just small stories with some lessons pieced together.

Story: 5/10
Acting/Cast: 8/10
Cinematography: 10/10