‘Snow Gods’ In ‘My Oni Girl’ Explained: What Happens To The Oni Mask And The Hidden Village?

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My Oni Girl is an anime film by Studio Colorido that also gave us the popular Netflix original A Whisker Away. The film follows the story of a people-pleaser boy named Hiiragi and his new friend, an Oni from the “Hidden Village.” Hiiragi and Tsumugi find themselves on an adventurous journey while on the search for Tsumugi’s mother, who will apparently be found at a shrine in the human world. Together, they will change each other’s lives forever, and on this journey, they will learn a dozen other life lessons to help them get by in the future. However, with Tsumugi in the human world, the “Snow Gods” who protect the Hidden Village are unhappy and come after her. In My Oni Girl, Tsumugi’s Hidden Village has some rules that are meant to be followed by all the residents, one of which is not being able to leave the Hidden Village. Tsumugi decides to leave the village because she believes her mother has left her and her father to run away to the human world. However, what she doesn’t know is that her mom is actually “hidden” in a deep part of the hidden village itself. The end of My Oni Girl is a bit convoluted and is bursting with many ideas, so take everything I say with a grain of salt as I try my best to interpret the Snow Gods and their storyline. 

Spoiler Alert


What Happens To The Oni Mask?

I suppose when it comes to the Snow Gods, they’re like an ancient deity that the elder villagers believe in. Though it is considered voluntary isolation when Tsumugi’s mother has to wear the spirit mask and sacrifice herself for the whole village, it seems more like a compulsion, rather than something chosen by her. I suppose it’s an ancient ritual that the whole village has been practicing to this date; however, by the end of the film, it becomes clear that they didn’t have to sacrifice their own happiness for the village to be protected. A human becomes an oni when they suppress their real feelings. That’s what happens to Hiiragi until he speaks up about wanting to be with Tsumugi when he finally returns to his human state. I suppose, in the same way, Tsumugi’s mother admits to herself that she really misses her daughter and husband and wants to return to them. It is the power of love that saves everyone from the Snow Gods. 

The Oni Mask is protected in a little shrine that Tsumugi tries to take it from. When she touches it, she falls into a deep pit of snow from which she can’t move. It is her memories of Hiiragi from the outside world that help her find her way out of the snow (both metaphorically and literally). It seems when Tsumugi and her mother’s bond is revealed to the mask, it gets destroyed, and Tsumugi’s mother is free to leave. She has also freed the souls of those who were eaten by the Snow Gods. At the same time, the Snow Gods get destroyed, and a lot of the snow in the village starts to evaporate into the air. 


What Happens to the Hidden Village? 

We realize that when Hiiragi plops out of the Snow God that ate him, it is because of his memories with Tsumugi. I suppose because Hiiragi was never outspoken about his real feelings, he was easily consumed by the Snow God. Even the Oni are meant to be meek creatures who keep their thoughts to themselves and are misunderstood by people. When we learn about the Oni in My Oni Girl, it almost feels as if the Oni are hidden because they’re just somewhat different. It’s your typical “outcast” story, and they just need to understand that they can be accepted for who they are. 

Through the power of Tsumugi’s and her mother’s wishes, the Snow Gods leave the Hidden Village alone, and we realize that they weren’t really there to protect the village as much as imprison its residents. I suppose the real lesson we’re meant to learn from the end of the film is one of adaptation and how, with time, everything must change. When the snow starts to lift, the village chief says that the Hidden Village must also adapt. Even when Tsumugi meets with the village head and questions the idea of getting rid of the mask, the woman avoids her question rather than telling her to stay away from the mask. She only sends someone after the two kids to protect them, rather than stop them from doing what they’re doing. The old woman tells Hiiragi that the Hidden Village is meant to be a place where the people who suppress their feelings are safe and can be free; however, they’ve been forced by the Snow Gods to live in hiding. So, what Tsumugi essentially does is truly allow them the freedom to live on their own terms. To be able to leave the village at any given time and explore the human world as well. At the end of the day, that is also a choice they get to make, rather than being forced to stay hidden.

At the end of the film, it seems Tsumugi was right and the village didn’t need the Snow Gods to protect it any longer because, when Hiiragi tries to come back, it remains hidden from the view of humans. I guess it’s how we blindly follow what we’ve been told, but in reality, we might need to do something completely different in order to achieve true happiness. I guess it’s also a subtle commentary on religion and prayer and how sometimes we might sacrifice too much for something that doesn’t need sacrifice at all. The village remained hidden because that’s what the Oni needed. My Oni Girl ends with everyone following their own dreams, while the film begins with Hiiragi and Tsumugi being forced into roles they didn’t accept, proving that happiness comes from following your own dreams.


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Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika Bhat
When not tending to her fashion small business, Ruchika or Ru spends the rest of her time enjoying some cinema and TV all by herself. She's got a penchant for all things Korean and lives in drama world for the most part.

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