“Lonely Castle in the Mirror”: Compelling characters hold the key

Kokoro doesn’t go to school. Despite the encouragement of her mother and counselor, the pre-teen (voiced by Ami Touma) feels a wave of anxiety every morning when she thinks about taking those first steps out the door. Instead, she spends her days locked in her room with little hope for the future in sight.

One day, the mirror in her room begins to glow with a strange energy, and when she approaches, she is transported to a castle in a fantasy world. There he meets six high school students his age and a mysterious girl wearing a wolf mask. The masked girl explains the rules: if any of the children find a key hidden in the castle premises, they will be granted a wish. However, if any of the seven stay in the castle past 5pm, they will all be eaten by a wolf.

With a few months to find the key and use the castle at will, the children begin to spend their free time together, forming bonds and discovering why they have all been called to this fantasy realm: apparently, they all have a very in common in the real world. When she returns to her reality, Kokoro’s new friendships give her the courage to face the trauma that has kept her out of school.

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