Otaku USA Magazine
Lonely Castle in the Mirror is a Sensitive, Beautiful Film

lonely castle in the mirror

Lonely Castle in the Mirror is a moving, relatable movie for anyone who has ever felt lonely, especially anyone who has ever had troubles going to school. The main character, adolescent Kokoro, is terrified of going to school and will make herself sick to avoid it. Then one day a special mirror appears, and she is able to go inside it. On the other side is a castle.

She and some other children are greeted by a girl wearing a wolf head, who tells them this castle gives the possibility of having their wish granted. But certain rules have to be followed, like only being in the castle at certain hours. If they don’t obey these rules, they’ll be eaten. If they get their wish granted, they’ll lose certain memories.

As Kokoro gets to know the other kids, she learns they also have their own problems, sometimes including problems that make her issues seem insignificant in comparison. They try to figure out why they’re all in this castle and what the connection is.

Lonely Castle in the Mirror has a fairy tale feel to it (like the wolf head and the threat of being eaten) while also dealing with real social issues, like being bullied at school. It shows how hard adolescence can be. Kokoro is a kind, sympathetic, sensitive character, and you see her grow as the movie continues.

It’s a beautifully made and moving film, brought to us from director Keiichi Hara, and based on a novel by Mizuki Tsujimura. The novel has also received a manga adaptation and the movie received a nomination at the 46th Japan Academy Film Prize for Animation of the Year, and it’s easy to see why. Lonely Castle in the Mirror is sweet and sensitive like its heroine, and it is getting a limited theater release on June 21-22 in both dubbed and subbed versions.


Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, plus its sequel, Manga Art for Everyone, and the first-of-its-kind manga chalk book Chalk Art Manga, both illustrated by professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.