“The Tunnel to Summer, the Exit of Goodbyes” doesn’t overstay its welcome, and by getting to the point, getting you invested, teary-eyed, and sending you on your way, it is the best kind of entertainment.


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General Information

Director(s) Tomohisa Taguchi              
Screenplay By Tomohisa Taguchi
Source Material By Mei Hachimoku
Date Released (In Theaters) November 3rd, 2023
Genre(s) Drama

Fantasy

Romance

Young Adult

Animation

Non-English (Japanese)

Film Length 1 Hour 23 Minutes
Content Rating Not Rated
Noted Characters and Cast
Kaoru Oji Suzuka
Anzu Marie Iitoyo

Only pertinent information is included in the summary and review section, which might be considered spoilers. However, in some posts, the ending will be recapped and explained as long as the film or short is publicly accessible. Also, images and text in this post may contain affiliate links. If a purchase is made from those sites, we may earn money or products from the company.

Content Rating Explanation

“The Tunnel to Summer, the Exit of Goodbyes” contains:

  • Dialog: Minor Cursing
  • Violence: Occasional Moments Of Violence, Like Anzo Punching Someone Or Kaoru’s Dad Being Abusive
  • Sexual Content: None
  • Miscellaneous: Smoking and drinking

Film Summary

In a small rural town, a boy named Kaoru lives with his alcoholic father and spends most of his days seemingly, like everyone else, waiting for the day he can leave. Enter Anzu, a transfer student from Japan, who is a stereotypical Tsundere type. She is coarse with everyone, girl or guy, but because of a previously nice encounter with Kaoru, she is kind towards him.

This leads to a friendship everyone speculates about, but in reality, the basis of this friendship is a tunnel Kaoru discovered. In it, supposedly, are the things you want, the things you lost, and you can get what you want if you look hard enough. The only problem is, time moves slowly in the tunnel, so a few minutes in there can be a week outside.

Yet, with Kaoru wanting to get his little sister back and Anzu having something she is trying to get as well, the two join forces, and in studying how much time passes and what the tunnel can offer, a friendship blooms into something that could become romantic.

Character Descriptions

Please Note: This character guide is not an exhaustive list of every cast member.

Kaoru

After the death of his sister, Kaoru’s family fell apart. His mom left, and his dad blames him for all his troubles, so he just keeps his head down since his dad’s drinking can lead to violent moments.

Anzu

An artist like her grandfather, Anzu struggles with being good enough to fully pursue creating mangas, especially with her parents showing 0 support.

Review

Our Rating: Positive (Worth Seeing)

Highlights

It Gives You Just Enough In All Aspects

I wouldn’t say “The Tunnel To Summer, The Exit of Goodbyes” is trying to be the next “Your Name” or anything like that. Yes, it has drama, and watching Anzu deck someone for touching her grandpa’s manga was shocking and entertaining. Also, watching Anzu and Kaoru fall in love is cute. However, it doesn’t try to be over the top.

I’d even say, in regards to the tunnel and all it brings into the movie, yes, there is a moment that will make you cry, warm your heart, and potentially make you want to call somebody. However, “The Tunnel To Summer, The Exit of Goodbyes” isn’t seeking to be put on a pedestal.

Rather, it gets in, gets you emotionally invested, establishes why this character has this wish, and this one the other, and does just enough with its supporting cast to make them useful, but never give them the spotlight. Hence why we don’t name Kaoru’s dad because I don’t think we learn his name. We just know he is mourning all he lost, whether dead or alive, and he has a drinking problem.

Which, for me, especially because of the violence, was enough. The film makes it so you get the point and, unlike this highlight, it doesn’t really include all the fluff a lot of films offer to be longer than necessary.

Who Is This For?

Those who enjoy animated movies with some adult and challenging themes that may even make you cry but doesn’t contain anything that is heavily taxing on the spirit.

Recommendations

If you like this movie, we recommend:

  1. Mirai
  2. A Whisker Away
  3. HAL (Haru)

Check out our movies page for our latest movie reviews and recommendations.

How Did “The Tunnel to Summer, the Exit of Goodbyes” End? (Ending Explained)

The Hirashima Tunnel, for most of the movie, we’re left to think is a tunnel where you can get something or someone you wish for. However, towards the end, Kaoru reveals it is where you get back something you lost, like his parrot that, despite being long dead, he could get from the tunnel.

With this in mind, he decides to stop Anzu from joining him in an extended search for what she wants is undeniable talent. Her parents, who basically disowned her, have left her so insecure about what she can do and be as a manga artist, that she wants magic to live her dream like her grandad did his, just without having to be financially dependent on her parents.

Now, Kaoru sees Anzu’s work and knows she is talented, and while they have had this multi-month pact regarding the tunnel, he goes on without her and is gone for years. I’m talking Anzu graduates high school, has multiple manga series published, and she is hung up on Kaoru despite all she goes through and what happens. I’m talking still texting him in 2013 using a 2005 phone, sending him updates, and hoping, waiting on a response.

This only comes for her after Kaoru sees his little sister and gains some form of closure. He gets to live out a day where his sister didn’t die after falling out of a tree, trying to get a bug for him, to apologize for making him angry. It’s sweet, and Kaoru could have potentially stayed there forever if he didn’t see himself in a mirror, fully grown compared to his sister, stuck in time as a child forever. Also, his phone goes off, and he begins to see Anzu’s texts.

The combination helps him realize, yes, he did lose his sister, but he also lost Anzu as well, and unlike his sister, she is alive. So after getting a goodbye and hearing his sister say “I Love You” one last time, off Kaoru goes to finally exit the tunnel, and with him texting Anzu on his way out, she makes a mad dash to him, in the tunnel, and when they reunite, they kiss.

Why? Because his text to her was “I Love You,” and with her loving him all this time and finally getting to know her feelings are reciprocated, she is in bliss, and now we’re left to wonder what’s next for them. Especially since Kaoru has been missing so long that all his friends have graduated school, become adults, and with his father getting remarried and talking about moving to Tokyo before he left, who knows where that man is anymore.

Questions Left Unanswered

  1. What is Kaoru going to do after disappearing for so long and likely being pronounced missing and/or dead?

Is There Sequel/ Prequel Potential?

To be honest, I genuinely want to know how life was after he disappeared for that amount of time. Never mind, we only get glimpses of Anzu’s life, mainly her working. What else was going on since I know she had to make friends and meet people who wanted to push her to move on.


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The Tunnel to Summer, the Exit of Goodbyes – Overview

Summary

While the title of “The Tunnel to Summer, the Exit of Goodbyes” is excessive, the movie in itself hits all the right beats by keeping the pacing up, getting you easily invested, knowing when to slow things down and develop characters, as much as when to cut off supporting characters, since it isn’t about them. Truly, when I think of average, but average, as in it met expectations and left me happy, this is what I think about and look for.

Overall
83%
83%
  • It Gives You Just Enough In All Aspects - 83%
    83%
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Highlight(s)

  • It Gives You Just Enough In All Aspects

Disputable

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