HAL (2013)


  • by Ryōtarō Makihara
  • short film (60min)


Kurumi, a beautiful young woman, lost her boyfriend Hal in an airplane accident. Filled with a broken heart and grief, she isolates herself alone in her house. Her grandfather however, requests help from an humanoid robot named Q01. The android takes the appearance of Kurumi’s boyfriend, and is sent over to Kurumi’s house. He should save and help her to overcome despair and grief. After several visits, Kurumi seems to change, open up and gets free from depression. Both start to learn more about the truth of a relationship between a human being and an android.

The anime movie has a fascinating and unique plot with a setting placed in the future: Robots which are trained to help people to get out of their state of grief. They help them to return to their normal lives. Those robots look exactly like the deceased and have the task to ‘replace’ them for people who can not deal with the death. A further interesting detail is the idea of the hidden messages in Rubik’s cubes: wishes which will come true if the riddle is solved.


The structure of the movie is like a puzzle. More and more details are going to be released. Firstly, the audience is confused of Hal’s character but the recording of the past makes it clearer. A further aspect is that there are many suspenses: What happened between Hal and his girlfriend Kurumi? How was Hal in the past, as a real human being? Will the robot ever learn or understand human emotions? These questions and many more make the movie very thrilling because you want to know what happens next. There is no single scene in the movie which seems to be boring. It is entertaining and thrilling until the end.

‘HAL’ contains a lot of emotions which means that you might not be able to watch it without shedding any tears. Grief, loss and love play the most important roles in the anime movie. You automatically feel empathy with the characters and you feel along with them. In fact, this is resulted through the great depictions of emotions and feelings. The short anime film perfectly shows how grief affects people and how harsh it is to cope with loss.


We really like the characters, because they are very lovely and interesting. Both main protagonists (Kurumi and Hal) have a good character development for a movie with such a short span of time. There is a good depiction of the relationship between a human being and an android. A further interesting fact for a short movie is that the characters have a background story. The background of the characters is an important factor which gives you the opportunity to understand the characters and their actions.

The art of the anime is very beautiful and detailed. The android is good depicted and we really like the landscape and environment. The highlights are clearly the characters, especially the cute depiction of Hal, and their emotions. Moreover, the science fiction elements are also very well drawn. The fact that the setting is placed in the future, robots and many other electronic devices are included. For instance, different kinds of video cameras and smartphones are shown in the movie.


The ending is very surprising and unexpected but also very sad. It is important to mention that the song in the credits fits perfectly. It is very emotional and the songtext kinda represents the emotions in the movie. (Side Note: Wait after the credits).

‘HAL’ tells a powerful and amazing story in a 60 min. movie. It contains powerful messages such as that you can never really understand someone else’s emotions neither as a human nor as a robot. In fact, the short anime movie also raises questions which affect the real world: what would happen if a loved one who died will be replaced by an android which exactly looks like that person, would you want that? or do you think it is “absurd”? All in all, we really like ‘HAL’ and we would definitely recommend it. It is one of the best short anime movies (next to ‘Hotarubi no mori e’) we have seen so far.

MikaYuu Hyakuya

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