Road Rash Reviews

The Tunnel to Summer, The Exit of Goodbyes Cinema Review****-

Cert 12a | 82 mins | 2023

4 star clever and thought provoking sci-fi romance.

The Tunnel to Summer, the Exit of Goodbyes is a 2022 Japanese animation based on the light novel written by Mei Hachimoku. Written and directed by Tomohisa Taguchi (Persona 3 the Movie #4: Winter of Rebirth), this film was adapted to anime by Studio CLAP (Play it Cool, Guys).

It is now showing in cinemas across the UK courtesy of Anime Limited.

“Do you know about the tunnel that grants you whatever you want? When you walk through the gate in it, you’ll come across what you want. But you’ll age 100 years in return.”

Kaoru Tono (Oji Suzuka – The Days, Silent) is a teenage boy living in a dysfunctional household with his father, who blames him for the death of his younger sister Karen. One day, while waiting at a remote rural train station in the rain, he encounters Anzu Hanashiro (Marie Iitoyo – Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger), an inscrutable young woman who claims to have no parents. He lends her his umbrella and is deeply surprised when she transfers into his class at school. Antisocial as ever, she refuses to make friends and only really speaks to Tono.

Following a row with his drunken father, Tono runs along the railway track and has to dive down the embankment to avoid a train. At the bottom, he comes across the entrance to a tunnel and ventures inside. He finds a long dead pet and more interestingly, a sandal belonging to his dead sister. Could this be the fabled Urashima Tunnel? Upon returning home, he finds that he has actually been gone for a week. Clearly time passes differently within the tunnel.

He heads back the next day, and is followed by Hanashiro. He tells her about the tunnel and the two make a pact, to work out how the tunnel functions and how best they can both obtain what they most desire from it. Will they be prepared to pay the price for their dreams?

“It’s not a dream. It’s the Urashima Tunnel. If I can just get Karen back…”

The Tunnel to Summer, the Exit of Goodbyes is a brilliant film, very well written and handles some pretty complicated ideas very nicely. There have been many time traveling films made over the years and this is a fresh and new take on the idea.

The characters are also well imagined and the relationship and romance between them feels natural and not contrived for plot purposes. This is a thought provoking film, concentrating on themes of grief, loss and first love. It is beautifully animated and glorious to watch.

Thoroughly recommended and well worth the trip to the cinema.

“A three day weekend is coming up. Let’s go beyond the pillar then.”

©2022 Mei Hachimoku, Shogakukan/The Tunnel to Summer, the Exit of Goodbyes Film Partners

The Tunnel to Summer, the Exit of Goodbyes is now showing in over 120 cinemas across the UK

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DirectorTomohisa Taguchi
AuthorMei Hachimoku
GenreFantasy, romance, sci-fi
StarringMarie Iitoyo, Oji Suzuka