Its always nice when a show takes an unexpected turn, its even better when the story seems so generic. Wolf Children may sound like a boring expose of a really messed up set of humans/wolves, but its a lot more than you’d expect. Wolf Children was a wondrous journey through the mindset of children and their mother alike. From the normal growing up and learning to live like humans, but also the struggles of both the human and the wolf worlds as they collide viciously through each character arc. Wolf Children was a delight to watch and like most animated films, they always leave you with a thought provoking ending.
A little back story about why I ended up watching this movie. As most of you all who reads this blog, would’ve known that I love any anime related content. I’ve always heard about Studio Ghibli, but I’ve never heard about Studio Chizu and as I was wondering around the studios info, I noticed that Wolf Children was being released on Blu-Ray. After looking it up, I saw that Yoshiyuki Sadamoto did the character designs for this movie, most notable for his work on Neon Genesis Evangelion. Being a huge fan of Evangelion and the character designs, I thought I’d give the movie a shot.
Wolf Children (also known as The Wolf Children Ame and Yuki (おおかみこどもの雨と雪 Ōkami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki) in Japan) is a 2012 Japanese animated film directed and co-written by Mamoru Hosoda. The film stars the voices of Aoi Miyazaki, Takao Osawa, Haru Kuroki and Yukito Nishii. In Ame and Yuki, Hana falls in love with a Wolf Man. After the Wolf Man’s death, Hana decides to move to a rural town to continue raising her two wolf children Ame and Yuki.
After securing my copy of the show (in glorious High Definition, I might add), I can plainly say it was well worth it. The show was absolute joy and it didn’t really waste any time introducing the story. As most of the story takes place after the death of the Father of the Wolf Children, it is wise to note that the story was still progressing rather well. However once that part was over, the show began to crawl slightly slower than I’d like. However, as the show slowed, more and more character development began to take place. The Wolf Children themselves were simply an adorable joy on screen. Constantly shifting between their two states (human/wolf) they would manage to brighten your day, even though your going to have a lot of questions (Like a lot of questions).
The story itself, was without any real action. Honestly, I didn’t know why that surprised me. I supposed I expected a fight of some kind. It was much nicer watching Hana (the Wolf Children’s Mother) learn to take care of human/wolf hybrid children as she also learns how to live a tiny village. The show finally culminates in a a massive storm as it rips apart the family, only to bring them closer.
The character development was rather amazing throughout this movie, though it did lag here and there. Hana, having to drop out of university to care for her children, learns not only about herself during the course of the movie but also learns to be somewhat self-sufficient. Her intentions were always pure right from the start, never truly wavering. She constantly was forced to get random odd jobs, including being a wild life ranger. All to ensure her children goes to school and lives as comfortably as possible.
The two Wolf Children were written rather well. I would expect so, seeing as the story is about both of them. Ame and Yuki were lovely characters until they started to be divided across their lineage. While Yuki wanted to be more human, her brother opted to be more wolf like. This was rather expected seeing as how their characters were developed initially.
Yuki was a high-energy child who constantly ate and ran around every she got the chance. She would change over to her wolf form more than her brother and she would do it involuntary most of the time. This leads to the children’s being kept back from attending school at an earlier age. As Yuki was the older child, she learned to control her change quicker. She eventually decided to not change at all and live as a human with her human friends as she went to school.
Her brother on the other hand was always shy and closed off from the world. He remained like this most of the early part of the movie, until a near death experience changes him giving him the confidence he needed. Ame would eventual drop out of school to live on the mountains, learning from one of the older animals of the mountain.
I liked the character development of this movie, it was nicely paced, though it could’ve been better here and there in regards to particular events. But overall the characters weren’t the same as they were in the end. They each grew into their respective personalities rather well.
Now on the most interesting part of this movie. The animation. Being an animation junkie, I am always looking to check out some interesting art styles. While Wolf Children didn’t have a wild or bizarre art style like some other shows, it was a much more calmer and laid back art style. The art and animation was crisp and clean and brought a feeling calmness to the show. There isn’t much to say about the animation but it was rather well done.
Wolf Children was an amazing show and certainly isn’t one to pass up. Despite being almost two hours long, the show really brings to life these characters and this setting really well, I’d recommend it.