English: Wolf's Rain
Synonyms: Wolf Rain, Wolfs Rain
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Jan 7, 2003 to Jul 29, 2003
23 min. per episode
R - 17+ (violence & profanity)
L represents licensing company
Score: 7.981 (scored by 57835 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
action adventure drama fantasy
SynopsisIn some distant future, it's common knowledge that all wolves have been extinct for 200 years. However, it seems this is false as wolves have not disappeared but rather have taken human form. Kiba, a lone wolf, wanders into a city, trying to sniff out the Lunar Flowers that are supposed to lead whoever follows the scent to paradise. The source of the smell is Cheza, a girl who sleeps in what appears to be suspended animation in a lab. She and the wolves are drawn to each other, and Kiba hopes to find paradise once he finds the source of the scent of Lunar Flowers. However, once Kiba finds Cheza, she is kidnapped by a mysterious person called Darcia, and his search begins anew. Before he leaves the city, he meets 3 other wolves, Tsume, Hige and Toboe. All four wolves have very different personalities and ideas, and their friendliness towards each other is a little rough around the edges. However, they soon band together to continue to search for paradise.
Related AnimeAdaptation: Wolf's Rain
Sequel: Wolf's Rain OVA
Characters & Voice Actors
On the technical side of things, Wolf’s Rain’s animation is gorgeous. You can almost always count on Studio Bones to put out good work, but Wolf’s Rain has a particularly proficient pedigree. Fantastical backgrounds are detailed, varied and engrossing, character designs are distinct and very attractive, and the fights and chases are breathtaking.
The music was composed by Yoko Kanno, which means I might not have to say anymore, but I will. All her work is magnificent, but this may be some of her best. Insert songs and orchestration are beautiful as standalone but absolutely MAKE the emotional moments too. It’s a wonderful soundtrack to listen to without the anime, but it never overwhelms the story either, matching the action onscreen beat for beat.
In terms of voice acting, the Japanese is a solid listen, but also, Wolf’s Rain has one of the best dubs ever made. There’s not one askew line in the whole package, and what’s more, while I usually use this time to mention the standout players of the cast, I can’t even do that for Wolf’s Rain. Every single voice actor goes beyond the call of duty in their roles, all of them. Even some of the extras leave a strong impression in their five-minutes in the spotlight. This dub is perfect.
So the production values are top dog, but the real important things are story and characters, right? Well, that’s where your mileage may vary. Some people will shout, “This is brilliant!” only to be echoed by others saying “Uh…what is?”
Wolf’s Rain takes place in a complex fantasy world with a rich history, but doesn’t feel like sharing any of that history with the class directly. This is good because that leads to greater focus on the characters, and almost NO exposition spouting. Speaking of the characters, they all start out as flat archetypes and slowly flesh out into very complex personalities, which is kinda different. Still, this approach of showing very little and telling far less really forces you to think and catch fine details in order to understand why wolves are considered divine, what makes the nobles different from normal human beings, and most importantly, just what happened 200 years ago to make the world what it is in the story. It is possible to figure it all out, but it’s NOT easy.
This is because, and this is a little known fact about the show, Wolf’s Rain is an allegory, whereby most everything is actually symbolic of something else. Pilgrim’s Progress was a religious allegory, The Little Prince was a sociological allegory, and Wolf’s Rain is both, but not as obvious as either of them. The show cross-references several religions and mythologies to portray a unified theme. The wolves face trials of doubt, despair, mistrust, confusion and even a false paradise that offers bliss in exchange for identity, and this is in addition to the villains that hound them. The humans in the story struggle with issues of self-worth, denial, choosing comfort over facing the truth, etc., all leading up to a whizbang climax featuring one noble’s idea of the “perfect city for humans.” Think Brave New World or 1984.
The thing I like about this approach is that it’s subliminal. It’s not like Evangelion or Lain where you know there’s this big philosophy being waggled at you, you may not recognize any of the references in Wolf’s Rain, but its powerful message gets through just fine without mentioning a hedgehog’s dilemma or a god in the Wired. Simply put, Wolf’s Rain is powerful and it will make you think, but you’ll get even more out of it if you’ve say, read Revelation or know anything about Shinto animal symbolism, but the writers don’t expect you to. I learned a lot more about the show after I did some research, but I only researched because it was already fascinating.
If there’s a problem with Wolf’s Rain, it’s the infamous recaps. There are four completely useless recap episodes right in the middle of the show together, and I still don’t know why they are there. Still, this isn’t much of a detriment as all four of them can be skipped without missing any new info. And if you’re buying the DVDs, they’re all on one disc by themselves! Unless you’re a masochist, don’t buy the disc.
In the end, though, even if you want to turn your brain off and be a little confused while you watch, the outward beauty and emotional resonance of the series cannot be denied, even in its fairly controversial conclusion. I’ve watched it through several times now and every single time I discover something new and profound. It’s pure magic, it will make you cry, but I hope in the end you’ll be howling-happy.
All in all, I almost pulled this series down a level because of its slightly alienating religious themes and focus on animals instead of humans, but then I thought, how can I punish a show for being both incredibly deep and refreshingly different? It may not be perfect, and I can’t promise you’ll like it, but it is a quality work of art amongst anime and a whole new breed of fantasy.
*THIS IS A PARTIAL TRANSCRIPT OF MY VIDEO REVIEW WHICH CAN BE FOUND HERE:
Thanks for reading! read more
The new millennium has brought us many new anime titles. Most of which seem to involve a sad story, a sad main character, and an overall sad feel. Wolf's Rain may indeed fall into that category, but there are unique differences that make this series more complex than that.
Take first, the main character Kiba. He has a goal and he'll do anything to reach it. But he has two distinct sides to his character. One is his proud, rash, and arrogant self that attacks anything that stands in his way. And the other is a quiet, mysterious, and observing type that is expressed when meeting new friends (For instance, when he was reluctant to say his name to Hige) and whenever he is around Cheza. Though not technically the sorrowful character one would expect him to be in an orphaned and lonely state, he still makes sad connections to his past.
As this was an anime before it became a manga series, BONES (the same company that made Fullmetal Alchemist) had unlimited freedom on where to go with the series. Except for a few "flashback" or "clip" episodes in the middle of the series, there is almost no filler and the pacing of each episode is excellent. The animation is amazing (as expected of BONES) and the music just as well. Beautiful orchestral music is played throughout the series, and, unique to most anime, the opening and ending themes are in perfect English (as are other soundtracks songs during the actual show).
The main story follows an unusual cast of characters, most of which are not even human. Kiba and his crew are all wolves with the power to create the illusion that they are human (though it is not perfect as their shadows and pawprints are still shown through). There are also the typical human characters, like the greedy Dracia that wants Paradise to himself and a pair of lovers that rekindle their relationship through hardship. Plus there's also the ghost of a cryptic owl that gives advice in proverbs. (Whether or not this is a Legend of Zelda reference is still beyond me)
But there is never a time when an anime can be perfect. There are still plot-holes within Wolf's Rain. Mainly the ending: It's open-ended and leaves more to be desired. But as a more thought-provoking series, the ending does its job... Kind of. But besides a few odd turns, Wolf's Rain is good at creating plot twists. And BONES was so confident about the series that most episodes don't even end in a cliffhanger. They just find a natural stopping point.
Overall, Wolf's Rain is an enjoyable series if you love wolves, action, the supernatural, and beautiful music. Though don't expect it to be happy or provide fan-service. read more
Both shows begin in a post-apocalyptic world. Both shows' characters are on a journey to a destination which they know nothing about. Both are relatively dark shows, but do not shy away from humor occasionally. Both have action in them, but only when necessary, and the action isn't overdone. Both have fantastic endings that leave you thinking.
Both have very similar atmosphere of adventures.
Similar theme, world on the edge of destruction where human and robots/wolves live together. Some characters discovers in both titles their true self too.
Great animation, post-apocalyptic world with a prophecy, dark, gritty action.
Both are post-apocalyptic anime with the main sub-plot of searching for a brighter future and a better place out of darkness. They both have philosophical and supernatural themes and have some action involved.
The world is ending , it's granted. In both shows we can see struggle and surrender. Different attitudes in face of extinction. There is also a pressure on philiosphical aspects such as "Who am I" , "Where is my place on Earth" , "Where do I go" which are important part of plot.
Both of them have beautiful, more serious art styles that lean more towards dark and subdued tones, and they are animated wonderfully. Both stories are philosophical and inspirational, and they both involve a small, unlikely group of heroes who travel through a post-apocalyptic world in search for answers in life. They both have great fight sequences and a wonderful score. However, Ergo Proxy is even darker than Wolf's Rain, and the storyline is a little slower and harder to get. If you are patient and pay attention however, you will be rewarded with a satisfying ending.
Aside from complex and beautiful story with mind-blowing ending, imo, the two shows are examples that anime is not just for "kids".
Some characters are very similiar (Proxy / Darcia - looks , Cheza / Proxy - role of chased escapee, Raul / Quent - hunters), with a bit of sci-fi / supernatural, but most of all, all of the characters develop themselves in a really awesome/unexpected way, sending you chills down your spike!
Settings of both anime are very similar - dark, post apocalyptic outside world, with people in despair and insecurity of the future and neat cities full of "robots". Mysterious aspects (proxies/nobles) as well as unclear history...
Action is not the main point, so there is not many, however the fights are really incredible. And I think you will not forget them for a long time.
Animation is pretty much the same (awesome), but Ergo Proxy is generally darker and sometimes harder to grasp whats going on.
Also made by Studio Bones. Has a similar concept of social outcasts (Contractors/Wolves) of whose existence the general public is unaware, posing as humans and trying to survive any way they can.
They are both dark anime,and in both of them,races with supernatural powers,hunted by the normal humans, are trying to find their benediction.
In Darker than Black,they are the contractors,that need to go to the Hell's gate,and in Wolf's rain,they are the wolfs,that are searching to find their own paradise.
Police is also related to both anime,as well as mystery and experiments.
It is only that Darker than black is more ''light'' mooded,it even has some comedy at times,when in Wolf's rain that doesn't exist.
Bones made both of these animes with about the same depressing, slow-moving tone. The major difference is that DtB is very episodic and Wolf's Rain tends to just wander all over the place. The protagonists, Hei and Kiba, are practically the same character.
Very similar styles of exposition, in that there is very little blatant expositional spouting; you have to think and pay attention to really get what's going on. Both are mostly serious shows with some humor.
Opening Theme"Stray" by Steve Conte
Ending Theme#1: "Gravity" by Maaya Sakamoto
#2: "Tell Me What the Rain Knows" by Maaya Sakamoto (ep 26)
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Kaminari [Kaminari] (Brazilian Portuguese)
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