‘My Oni Girl’ Summary Explained: Is Tsumugi’s Mother Dead Or Alive?


The latest anime fantasy film on Netflix, My Oni Girl brings together the worlds of humans and demons to tell a simple yet effective story about the importance of expressing one’s emotions. The plot follows a high school student named Hiiragi, who wants to be amongst friends and classmates and yet mostly finds himself all alone. This is when he helps out a girl named Tsumugi and befriends her, only to soon learn that she has a secret about her identity. My Oni Girl is an interesting film overall and makes for a calm yet intriguing watch.

Spoiler Alert

What is the anime film about?

My Oni Girl begins on a usual warm and sunny morning in the Japanese city of Yonezawa, where Hiiragi Yatsuse is a high school student, as he takes the train to school alone like every other day. Hiiragi is kind and helpful to everyone around, and he also wants to be a part of friends’ groups at the school, but to no avail, as he is mostly ignored by his peers. On his walk to the school from the station, the boy comes across a popular athlete student from class and wants to exchange pleasantries with him, but chooses not to. Hiiragi is also afraid of being perceived as too pushy or clingy when it comes to interacting with his schoolmates, and the chances he takes at making friends do not really work out. Despite helping out other students with his homework by letting them copy from it, nobody wants to partner with him for any activity, and he has to work with the teacher instead. Similarly, whenever Hiiragi wants to help his schoolmates with any activity, they dump all the responsibility upon him and use his eagerness for their own benefit.

In one instance, Hiiragi is even asked by a female classmate to pose as her boyfriend, even though she has no romantic interest in him whatsoever. The girl reveals that she has lied to her friends about having a boyfriend, and so she has to present someone in front of them. Being the sensitive and good-intentioned boy that he is, Hiiragi is naturally the girl’s first choice, for she knows that he would never create any trouble because of this and that he will also readily agree to help. Despite all these interactions, though, the protagonist is often weighed down by loneliness whenever school and other related activities are over, and he has returned home by himself. On this particular night, Hiiragi spots a young girl his own age struggling to find enough cash in her bag to pay for a bus ride. Although the boy initially starts to walk away, his ever-helpful conscience intervenes, and he soon rushes to help the girl out. The girl refuses the help, though, and decides to walk her way back home, only to spot something unusual in Hiiragi and decide to accompany him instead.

This leads to Hiiragi taking the girl, Tsumugi, back to his own house, where he lives with his parents and younger sister. The family readily welcomes the girl and also allows her to stay the night, as they believe her to be their son’s girlfriend. But things take a very different and serious turn later at night, when Hiiragi suddenly sees a spirit monster enter his room and seemingly attack him. At that exact moment, Tsumugi barges in and helps him escape the monster as they leave the house and run as far as possible. As Tsumugi reveals a deep secret about her real identity, Hiiragi cannot help but get involved in her very personal adventure.

What is Tsumugi’s real identity?

When the two youngsters run away from Hiiragi’s house, the plot in My Oni Girl really picks up, and Tsumugi reveals her identity as an oni, or demon, with a small horn on her head. In fact, the only reason that Hiiragi can now see her horn is because of the experience that he just had with the spirit demon. Tsumugi is actually an oni belonging to a place known as the Hidden Village, and the reason she is outside in the human world is because she is on a personal adventure to find her mother. The girl and her father had been abandoned by her mother and his wife, respectively, when she was just a young child, never to be seen again. After growing up, Tsumugi questioned her father about what had happened to her mother, but she never got any proper answer to it, so she was now out on a journey to find the woman herself. She admits that although initially, she had been very angry at her mother for abandoning her and breaking up the family, Tsumugi is now more interested in knowing the reasons behind this decision. 

The reason behind her sudden change of opinion about Hiiragi and her decision to accompany him back to his house is the very nature of the boy. Not only is Hiiragi shy and an introvert, but he also has a habit of keeping his emotions and feelings bottled inside himself, refusing to share them with anyone else. This repeated act of his leads to very small clouds emerging out of his body, and Tsumugi explains that these physical beings are actually mini-oni, and they exist inside the bodies of humans who keep their emotions bottled inside. If we are to make a realistic comparison of the matter, then the mini-oni probably signify the abstract unease and anxiousness that surround a person who does not share their thoughts with others. Being an oni herself, Tsumugi easily notices the clusters coming out of the boy’s body and immediately gets interested in knowing him better and also helping him out. This is why she befriends Hiiragi, which ultimately works out for both of them, as they both help each other out.

While Tsumugi crucially protects Hiiragi from the spirit monster, the boy knows the way to the Hie Shrine, which is the place that the girl’s mother last mentioned before disappearing. Since she does not know the directions or rules of the human world, Tsumugi needs someone to not just show her the way but also accompany her, and Hiiragi gladly steps into the role. His accompaniment actually helps the girl greatly later on, when Tsumugi is hunted by the spirit demons and gets heavily injured during her escape. It is Hiiragi who helps her recover and finally gets her back on her feet once again.

How does Hiiragi survive the Snow Gods’ attack?

When the youngsters finally reach the Hie Shrine, Tsumugi is unable to find her mother there and instead comes across her father. The man, named Izuru, had been terribly worried about his daughter’s sudden disappearance from the village and has been searching for her ever since. Although he is relieved to finally find her, Tsumugi refuses to be with him and is instead still determined to find her mother. When Hiiragi tries to console her and change her perspective, she lashes out against him as well, rudely telling him to not be concerned with her and instead fix the troubles in his own life. This tremendously hurts the protagonist, and it leaves him reeling in his own dark thoughts, which makes him bottle up his emotions even more. While the adventure was definitely in the process of healing Hiiragi, this unwanted confrontation immediately nullified all the effects. 

The boy was developing genuine feelings for Tsumugi by this time, and her insensitive behavior hurts him beyond repair, and Hiiragi falls completely silent. Even when his father rushes to the fields to take him back home, Hiiragi does not say anything or even move, and he is quickly consumed by one of the attacking spirit demons. These demons are introduced as Snow Gods, and the reason for their vengeful attack on onis remains unexplained for the time being. It is only when Hiiragi’s father reports how his son suddenly disappeared without any logic that Tsumugi understands what has actually happened to her friend, and she also realizes her own mistakes. Undoubtedly, it was Tsumugi’s harsh words that led to Hiiragi being eaten up by the monster, and so she now immediately repents her decision. 

It is this very repentance that seems to help Hiiragi survive the Snow God’s attack, for he can hear the words of apology from Tsumugi in a spiritual sense, despite the two being miles away from each other. The girl’s feelings and her expression of them cause a reaction in the Snow God, as something seems to cause it to burst open, and Hiiragi falls out of it. Something or someone who is seemingly in control of the Snow God is actually affected by the words of the young girl, and this leads to its destruction and the subsequent freeing of the protagonist. This is actually such a rare occurrence that it surprises the guards at the Hidden Village as well. 

What Happens To Tsumugi’s mother?

During My Oni Girl‘s ending, the real reason behind the Snow Gods’ attack on the villagers as well as the onis in the human world is explained when a certain incident from the past is revealed. For many years, the Snow Gods were considered to be the selfless protectors of the Hidden Village since they brought the heavy snow, which essentially made the village untraceable from the outside. As believed by the elderly leader of the village, this saved the oni population from a lot of problems and possible attacks from the human world outside. However, the Snow Gods were not exactly selfless, as they also needed to be appeased, and the only way to do that was to have someone sacrifice their usual life and instead be in control of them.

At the very center of the Hidden Village is a spot known as Oni Island, and a very powerful artifact, named the Spirit Mask, is kept at the place. Some years ago, when Tsumugi was just a child, someone needed to sacrifice their usual life and go to Oni Island and wear the Spirit Mask. Doing so would have summoned the Snow Gods, and the one wearing the mask would also be in control of the monsters, which were friendly towards onis at the time. Since the village desperately needed a savior and nobody else was willing to step up to the role, Tsumugi’s mother, Shion, decided to sacrifice her family for it. Shion agreed to wear the spirit mask and control the monsters, giving up the ability to be with her husband and child in return. Thus, it was Shion who was controlling the Snow Gods, and when Tsumugi called out to Hiiragi and apologized to him, she was affected by it, which led to the destruction of the monster and the boy getting freed.

Although Shion had sacrificed herself, the terrible loneliness and the enforced distance between her and her family eventually got to her head. Seeing all the other villagers live merry lives with their families and close ones made the woman jealous, and she started to question why she was the one having to suffer all alone. Thus, Shion could no longer contain her anger one day, and out of rage, she turned the Snow Gods into vengeful monsters that attacked the villagers. Since the onis are also known as demons who suppress their own emotions and thoughts, Shion also learned the lesson of expressing one’s emotions, albeit in a way that is harmful for others. It is Tsumugi’s decision, at the end of My Oni Girl, to destroy the Spirit Mask, which ultimately frees her mother, at the expense of the Snow Gods leaving the village. Although this most certainly means that the Hidden Village will no longer be protected and hidden by the spirits, Tsumugi is of the opinion that destroying the mask is necessary to stop the spirits’ attack on the villagers, which would have wiped out the village anyway. Ultimately, she is united with her family, as Shion stays back with her daughter and her husband. 

Do Hiiragi and Tsumugi reunite in the end?

The adventure throughout the duration of My Oni Girl teaches Hiiragi the important lesson of sharing his emotions with his family members and close ones, which he starts to follow. Hiiragi begins by opening up to his father, whom he always misunderstood to be very controlling and insensitive, whereas the man was only caring and confused about his son’s silence. The protagonist soon makes friends at school and is in a very healthy state mentally, but there is still one matter that he has not yet expressed. Hiiragi had very much fallen in love with Tsumugi, and he wanted to romantically pursue her as well, but he never got the opportunity to do so. Every time Hiiragi tried to enter the Hidden Village after the destruction of the mask, he was unable to do so since he had let out all his bottled-up emotions, and so he was no longer an oni. Thus, at the very end of My Oni Girl, Tsumugi meets up with the protagonist once more, but this time she admits her love for him, suggesting that the two finally reunited in the end. 

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Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya keeps an avid interest in all sorts of films, history, sports, videogames and everything related to New Media. Holding a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies, he is currently working as a teacher of Film Studies at a private school and also remotely as a Research Assistant and Translator on a postdoctoral project at UdK Berlin.

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