Lonely Castle in the Mirror
I randomly came about the trailer for the anime film adaption of the book of the same name. Once I saw the trailer, I actually got the book. Mostly due to the film not being out at the time.
⚠️ Warning, this post contains story spoilers.
So, Lonely Castle in the Mirror tells the story of a group of school age children who are all summoned to a castle through mirrors in their rooms. The mirrors open up during the day from 9-5 allowing all of them to access the castle as a safe space. There is a mystery around the castle, it has no running water or utilities other than electricity and it will grant one wish to the person who finds the key hidden in the castle. There are some catches though. The castle will close to everyone when a wish is granted, they have a year to find it or it will close regardless and when the wish is granted, all their memories of the castle will be lost. Their memories will remain if no-one claims the wish. Also there are wolves that’ll eat anyone who breaks the rules.
What made this story stand out even more was the fact the 7 kids in the castle were all suffering from a mixture of abuse, bullying & loss. For me the bullied students hit home the most, being bullied a lot myself back in school, I went through a lot of the similar experiences.
The main character Kokoro, which means heart in Japanese, is suffering from mass bullying trauma & can barely leave the house. She hasn’t been to school in a while and it is taking its toll. Essentially she’s been bullied for having a short affair/crush on a guy at school. The popular girl group is mocking her & being real nasty to her and her emotions. It all becomes too much for Kokoro to handle and she isolates herself, not going to school despite her mother protests. One scene that was very familiar to me, as I think I had a moment just like this when I was younger, was when her bullies came to her home and started to banging on her door. Trying to get her to come out and face them. Kokoro does exactly what I’d do, lock all the door, close all the curtains and hide. I’m glad this scene is in the anime as it really hits hard how badly hurt Kokoro is mentally by their presence and how vulnerable she is from it. I won’t spoil the other teens troubles, but you do learn them throughout the story.
I do have to take a moment to mention the soundtrack. Its another really good one. I do love my music, so when a film/game makes a good soundtrack, I notice. Below is the main theme & soundtrack for the film version if you want to have a listen:
People who know me know that I don’t read often, not that I can’t read, but personally I find it really hard to get into a book. However this was an acception. I ended up reading the book in like two weeks which is un-heard. It started with just evening reads, about 30 mins each night right before going to sleep in bed. But I ended up finishing the book during the day volunterrially as I was into it so much. Having seen the film as well, I can say for the sure the book is worth a read. They miss a lot of the bonding moments between the characters to get all the story in the runtime. Which is something you really notice reading the book, its also an easy read. Even though its translated from Japanese and has a few odd translation moments.
So yea, this is totally worth a read. Its not a happy story for most of its runtime. But I thoroughly recommend it.