A seamless blend of real live actors and computer generated special effects are on display in Akiyama Takahiro's Hinokio
, a story about one lonely boy and his desire to reach out and connect with humanity, albeit with a futuristic twist!
Fearful and unable to leave his house since his mother's untimely death, a heartbroken, emotionally devastated twelve year old named Satoru (Kanata Hongo) withdraws himself from all contact with the outside world. However, this situation changes slightly when a technological marvel is built for him, a state-of-the-art robot nicknamed Hinokio! With the help of his robot doppelganger, Satoru is able to take the first tentative steps to reconnecting with the world around him, sending Hinokio to grade school in his stead.
During this daring experiment, Satoru is able to befriend a tomboy named Jun (Tabe Mikano) with the help of his robotic stand-in. But even if he connects with Jun, is he still not alone, isolated in his bedroom? Soon enough, this relationship impels Satoru to attempt to experience the world in a more direct manner, but not by coming out of the house. Instead, he activates the robot's "sensations," a decision that puts young Takashi in mortal jeopardy.
Back home, there is also the strained relationship between father and son for Takashi to deal with. Satoru's dad Kaoru (Masatoshi Nakamura) tries his best to reach out to his son, but Satoru still blames him for his mother's death. Thus, communication between the two is sparse at best. Yet through the vehicle of Hinokio, the two may finally have a chance at reconciliation. Will Satoru trade all his newfound virtual relationships for real ones or will he remain petrified with fear? Featuring appearances by Kobayashi Ryoko and Horikita Maki, Hinokio is a poignant film that asks the hard questions about what it really means to be alive.