OK so bear in mind that this will be a very subjective review. I watched Wolf Children because I really liked Summer Wars and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, and because everyone said it was amazing and a tear-jerker. However by the time I finished watching it, I was just angry at it. Here's why:
This movie certainly ranks 10/10 for most frustrating movie I've ever watched. Not even ridiculously beautiful backgrounds and high quality art direction can save a film with slow, barely-there plot and irritating characters. I couldn't empathise with any of them because they consistently made dumb decisions
for no reason (especially the mother) making me yell at the screen "why would you even do that?" which is what you really *don't* want your audience experience to be.
Let me list every significant moment that made me want to pull my hair out: 1) woman in college gets pregnant after literally having sex with a wolf (calling him a wolf because he didn't even have the decency to change into a human for at least the duration of the act - call me a prude but I find bestiality really off-putting in a movie that is supposed to be about a cute family going about their lives), 2) woman casually accepts throwing away her entire life to raise a kid with her werewolf boyfriend (about whom we get the absolute minimum amount of backstory or any kind of characterisation beyond "he looks cool" and "he's a werewolf with a difficult childhood"), 3) woman gives birth at home without a midwife or anybody to help in case something goes wrong, 4) woman gets pregnant YET AGAIN, 5) gives birth at home AGAIN, 6) werewolf dad leaves the house and inexplicably dies, 7) mother takes her unvaccinated children and moves to the middle of nowhere.
Pause. I understand that I pretty much just summarised the first quarter of the movie, but this is exactly why I found Wolf Children to be so exhausting. And yes, a lot of these criticisms are because of my personal beliefs, but hey I never said this review was going to be objective.
Before I continue let me mention the only character I liked in this movie; old man Nirasaki, the family's cranky neighbour that teaches the mother the basics of farming, because he sees how irritatingly useless she is. Over 10 minutes of this film are used to show us how hard-working she is. In general, Wolf Children manages to stretch a plot that could have been shown in 30 minutes into 2 hours by filling it with repetitive, redundant scenes that do not advance the plot. The only time this isn't done is in the quite brilliant lateral shot that shows the children growing up (shortening 4 years into a few seconds without using any cuts or dialogue). And this is one of the most frustrating things about this movie: it's beautiful. Artfully crafted, brilliantly animated. Which is the reason why I think so many people were fooled by it. Sure it has its nice moments, but their effect is diluted by the blandness of the rest of the film. Don't get me wrong, I can appreciate slow paced, slice-of-life films, but Wolf Children's pacing was all wrong. It started with an interesting premise and then did nothing with it.
But let me come back to the frustrating moments near the end of the movie (because I honestly can't remember much that happened during the middle of the film - it was so nothingy):
During a storm, the mother chases after her werewolf son who goes into the forest (which he has been doing regularly, for months) instead of picking up her daughter who is stranded at school. She calls after him over and over again, almost gets attacked by a bear, falls down a cliff, and just when you think that something significant will actually happen in this movie, it turns out she's just fine after her son picks her up and just dumps her outside the forest. Her psychopath of a son is 10 at that point. And I am 110, having aged prematurely waiting for this damn movie to end.
Ookami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki translates to "Wolf Children Ame and Yuki". What the film's title promises is accurate, but this is secondary to what the film is actually about. This is a movie entirely about the enduring and triumphant nature of maternal love.
Teenage Hana is a hardworking girl putting herself through college. During a class, her eyes fall on a man who enthusiastically and diligently takes notes, but he has no textbooks and he disappears before roll is taken. Intrigued, she searches him out and learns that he sits through classes but doesn't attend the school. From what we see, he works
with a moving company, delivering goods to houses. He comes to university and bums through classes to learn. Hana works at a laundromat to make ends meet, and meets him when her day is over. We never learn of this man's name, but he becomes Hana's world, and she, his. Then their worlds are joined then broadened with the births of their children.
To call this film a movie about "werewolves" is doing it a mighty injustice. To call it a spirited, charming and heart-rending look about family is more accurate. And while it is always about the "ookami no kodomo", it is carried by Hana's life. Hana does what she can to keep her children safe and alive. She removes them from the urbanised world and carries them deep into a rural village where they are free to develop and understand the other half of them.
The film can be divided into three clear arcs. The first finds Hana in love, developing a relationship. The second follows Hana's struggles to raise her young children who have special needs. The final one sees her settled while her children attempt to find their own places in the world. A recurring theme throughout each arc is that there is a reason to always keep smiling.
Ookami Kodomo is a film of change and self-discovery. Yuki begins the film feral and wild, easily embracing her lupine half while Ame, tearful and timid, is afraid of what it means to be part-wolf. As the years pass, Hana's resolve remains unwavering, but her children grow apart from her as children naturally do. With this growth, they also change. The film changes focus from Hana as the children grow older, giving us their insight and feelings about who they are. Yuki's desire to belong allows her to channel charisma into socialising with peers. Ame's introversion makes him steely and independent. Yuki wants to embrace her humanity while Ame wants to explore the animal. Ame and Yuki yearn for something more, just as their mother knows they would but is afraid to acknowledge.
The story carefully and gently handles the fantasy so that it never overwhelms the film. There are no transformation hijinks or forced comedy or drama. The film treats the wolf children naturally. They seamlessly transform into their wolf-forms and out again. Some of the greatest scenes animated in the movie are these transformations as they move in and out of their dual identities.
The animation for the most part is fluid, with beautiful art painting a lovely countryside and the wilderness. Sometimes the film suffers from poorly chosen CGI effects, repeated animation and disproportionate character models, but this does not take away from the movie's overall beauty. Hana and the children's country home is clearly inspired by the 1988 classic My Neighbour Totoro, even down to Yuki's exuberant exploration of the broken down shed and the wild grass growing everywhere. Adding to the atmosphere of the film is a well-thought out score which knows precisely what type of music fits a mood. Sometimes, especially in the beginning and ending of the film, it can be a little heavy-handed with its emotional outbursts, but largely, it works and it makes itself invaluable to the film's impact. The voice-acting for the movie is one of its strongest aspects. Having child actors to play Yuki and Ame's characters in their toddler stages was a wise choice, as their earnest delivery of their lines makes the characters more genuine and loveable.
Ookami Kodomo's characters are the major reason that any viewer will become easily involved. Hana is one of the most inspirational characters ever to be given life through animation. Her love for her family is apparent. If anything, I'm pretty sure some of this film's audience is going to feel a pang of affection for their own mothers. She dutifully cares for them in ways that are admirable and it is her unbreakable spirit and positive disposition that makes her noteworthy. She is a strong woman and an even stronger mother. The mysterious man who she loves doesn't have the chance to be developed but it is this shroud around him that works to his character's benefit. We care for him through Hana's affections; in one particularly jarring scene, we understand what he means to her and this breaks our heart more than he himself ever would.
Yuki and Ame carry the film in places their mother cannot. While her hopes and fears for them are palpable, it is their experience of hope and of fear that makes these feelings more acute. Yuki's voice takes us through the entire film with its steady narration, and her character grows from precocious and brave child to a young girl who unfortunately knows what it means to be afraid. Ame's behaviour becomes a bit frustrating in the end of the film, but to understand him in the context of an animal, it makes perfect sense. He is a wolf.
The rest of the cast is made up of extremely likeable characters, including the old man who looks after Hana when she moves to the village and Souhei, a boy who crosses paths with Yuki. Even non-speaking, non-human characters like the caged wolf whose pain Ame senses and the wild fox whose freedom Ame respects are indispensable.
While the film's imperfections are honestly very few, they add up enough to have it stop just short of being a masterpiece. With some tighter editing of the story, cleaner and consistent art and animation, more precise handling of the characters, and a more memorable soundtrack, it easily would have been a masterwork of anime. As it is, it is still essential viewing for anyone interested in a movie that looks at growing up and raising a family. It is a mature, insightful and often painful reflection of how deeply we feel about those we love and inevitably have to let go of.
I saw this film yesterday and, having enjoyed it immensely, was pleased to read that it has won the award for Best Animated Feature Film at the 45th annual Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival (a Spanish film festival). This perhaps comes as little surprise given that it is the work of Mamoru Hosoda, acclaimed director of "The Girl Who Leapt Through Time" and "Summer Wars" (both of which also won the same award at previous Sitges festivals). I dare say that Mamoru has exceeded himself with this film, taking observations and musings from his own life - the film supposedly being based on thoughts he
had when, at one point in his life, he was 'surrounded by all these women who suddenly became pregnant' - and translating them into a beautiful tale of young parenthood, unusual childhood, and the powerful changes self-discovery incurs on adolescent life.
The story is both simple and elegant, with a well constructed plot that follows the above mentioned periods of a young family in a emotionally dynamic and charming manner, evoking joy and humour in equal measure, and just the right amount of melancholy and distress. This is helped by the endearing, often cute - in a fashion non-stereotypical of modern anime trends, and thus refreshing - and naturalistic characters (again, no ridiculous anime archetypes to be seen here really, and the one 'expy' in the film is a rather respectful and very amusing pastiche of Clint Eastwood). Indeed, despite the fact that the eponymous kids are indeed wolf-children, their stories are those of many a young person - the desires to fit in with society and conversely to take ones own path through life are explored in a counterbalanced fashion between the two siblings, which adds great depth to their intertwining tales. Even if we are too young to have experienced the hardships and joys of parenthood, or fortunate enough not to have experienced the loss of a spouse or parent at a young age, most of us will still likely relate in some way to the young lives of Ame and Yuki.
The elegance of the plot and tone of the story are complemented perfectly by the exquisite animation, which was in fact created in 3D and then augmented with 2D (apparently the opposite of the anime film norm). The effect is that the simple, familiar art style one might associate with a Ghibli production or Mamoru's other works is given that extra bit of depth, that touch more of aesthetic richness, and so when a scene that makes full use of the visuals comes along, one is treated to breath-taking feats of visual artistry, thus augmenting the whole experience as a whole. Underpinning all this is an equally impressive soundtrack, as well as superb sound design - I felt that the subtle crescendo of the rain in the first sequence in which Hana searches for a missing loved one was almost harrowing in its evocation of her growing despair. As a composer myself, I was pleasantly surprised to hear the effective use of interesting metres and rich textures throughout the movie, and thought the music did a great job emphasising and revealing the emotive nature of the film.
I saw the film in Edinburgh as part the Scotland Loves Anime festival, but because it had already aired in London last week, it was ineligible for that particular festival's award. If it had been, there is no doubt in my mind that it would have taken that home as well, for as a film (read: piece of visual art, as opposed to Otaku fan service) it was invariably better than all the others on offer. Indeed, it is without doubt one of the best animated films I have ever seen, on par with if not better than many of Ghibli's best efforts. I thus implore anyone who has read this and not seen it to go watch it at the first available and convenient opportunity. I'd be greatly surprised, and even perhaps worried, if it fails to warm you heart to at least half the degree that it did mine.
Stories that span a long time (i.e. more than 5 years) have the opportunity to express a change in the characters and in the world around them. It's something that makes great films great. Forrest Gump is a great example of this use. Wolf Children is not. What this film does is give us short anecdotes of Hana as she experiences what it's like to not only be a single mother but a single mother raising werewolf children. You'd think this means the film would have many interesting events that take place; you'd be wrong.
From the get go, the film feels like one long
and arduous flashback. The narration makes this clear, but the pacing implies that it's not going to change anytime soon. That said, the pacing is this weird mix of flashback and actual narrative (an empty narrative full of fluff and good feelings with little dimension.) It goes on for the longest time, and we experience it for about an hour and a half. It's only then that we reach an interesting arc of character as the children are now old enough to think and be people.
I understand that the majority of the film is spent on how Hana cares for her children, but a lot of this is mini story arcs that have a problem that's solved in less than 10 minutes. This sort of narrative reaches a point where the second I see an issue arise, I instantly know it will be solved within a moments notice. With no surprises, I waited for a conflict that set itself apart from the previous ones, and that's where we reach the last 30-40 minutes.
This is when I felt more engaged. It's what I'd argue to be the real complicating incident. Yuki, Hana's daughter, ends up getting angry at a classmate and scratches his ear, nearly deafening him. Due to the previous conditioning I'd experienced (problem, then solution moments later) I was expecting this to be resolved very swiftly, so I was glad to notice that it became a primary event into her 'becoming of age.' ((This is not a spoiler because, in a way, it's the best 'complicating incident' this story has to offer))
Hana's son, Ame, goes through a 'becoming of age' conflict as well, and while I'm glad that the film is beginning to pick up, it's two different character arcs being jammed into the last third that could have been emphasized throughout the film. It too was a conflict I was expecting to find solved moments later, but at this point, I knew better.
Audio and Soundtrack:
Audio is fine. Nothing spectacular.
Soundtrack becomes boring and there was 1 song in particular that could have been titled "brain-rend." That said, it's this sort of soundtrack that disappoints me the most. Not because it's classical and primarily piano, but because every song sounds similar and is devoid of character theme. Not only that, the songs feel as though they were an after-thought. The films pacing paired with the music do not meld together.
The soundtrack in itself is one of two things:
1- The film was animated prior to the OST
2 - The songs were written prior to the storyboarding.
If they were in perfect sync during production, then they failed horribly to put them together convincingly.
It's beautiful, and that's the problem. Beauty erodes over time, and when the film shows countless landscapes that are hand-drawn with extreme care, it becomes stale. Outside of the setting, the characters move flawlessly and it feels fresh. That said, there are a few repeat scenes. This may be used for comedic effect, but to me, I've always considered this very lazy in animation. Other than that (and it's only in 3 or so scenes) there really aren't any complaints here. The animation here is top notch, and I really enjoyed it, despite the backgrounds growing unbelievably stale later on.
I have the same complaints with this film as I did with Haibane Renmei. Slow pacing with swift resolutions throughout, and an interesting ending arc that should have been elongated over the duration of it's long running time. Interestingly enough, both of these animated projects are relatively highly rated and both I've found to be a strenuous venture.
I wonder if I'm the error...
Just for reference:
A 4/10, in my book, is a rating I reserve for works that are just below the sufficient mark. They've shown that they can properly do some things but fail so much in others that all it would have taken is some more work to fix the kinks. It's also a grade I reserve for works that I feel didn't jell with me personally, but others have gravitated towards. It's an acceptance that I think it's bad, but it's not 3- bad. I don't feel like I should need to explain this, but someone spammed me a long and arduous message about how I didn't love my mother. Please don't send me a message about how I don't love my mother. If you do I'll show it to my friends and we'll make fun of you. We always need a good laugh.
If you want to discuss points of this work in a civil manner, feel free to send me a PM. While I didn't enjoy this work, I love talking about stories, no matter what kind.
((If you liked this review, friend me for new reviews on other works, both manga and anime!))
The story starts with a rather plain looking college girl and her romantic adventures with this dashingly attractive young man. It turns out that he’s a wolf-man, but the lady doesn’t care because golly, he really is quite a catch. Besides, wolves are cool, so it could be worse. He could be an uncool animal like a sea-cucumber man. They have kids together but raising them in the big city is a bit of a pain, especially since they keep turning into wolves when they get annoyed. So they move to the countryside and start a new life there. It is one half about the
trials and wonders of raising children and providing them with the environment in which they can thrive, and one half about gosh darn isn’t the countryside and nature wonderful. Its closest comparison would be Totoro, what with the family with two kids moving to the countryside away from the smelly city.
The mother in Wolf Children is really quite an extraordinary character in how determined and admirable her attitude towards life is. The trials she goes through in order to raise her children the best she can is the main focus of the movie. The kids do lead a fairly happy-go-lucky life under her, ditching off school to wander around the forest, but it comes under the main theme of providing an environment in which your children can pursue any goal they wish. It all has a very strong focus on family values, and it comes across as all being rather hopeful and inspiring. In fact, maybe a bit too much…
Here is where I reveal that I am a horrible human being, because I found the aggressively maudlin tone overbearing. Particularly the opening 15-20 minutes of the movie with the relationship between the mother and the wolf dude. It laid on the sap way too thick. It reminds of those movies that are made entirely to win Oscars, with their overly sentimental tone. The way these movies try to draw emotion become almost robotic in their predictable nature. Wolf Children doesn’t have a single twist that isn’t even remotely surprising. That obviously doesn’t preclude it from being good, but it is a nice way of demonstrating how much it plays to this same factory-churned heart-tugging attempts.
There are parts to this movie I do genuinely like. The interaction between the two kids when they’re still young is charming as hell, particularly in how they formed opposite personalities in the way siblings do. The older child runs around and lot and is very charismatic, while the younger brother is quiet and withdrawn. It’s rather like myself and my younger sister, where videos of us would be her sitting around reading books patiently while I run around in the background screaming about Sonic the Hedgehog. Wolf Children perfectly captured that boundless energy and curiosity that children have.
But the other parts that I might otherwise have liked are fed through this maudlin machine and flip around to be too sentimental. The struggle the mother has to go through to get a garden working is really overdone, or more specifically the part where it says how wonderful the people of the countryside are. Not a message I’m opposed to by any means, but it comes off as way too overblown emotionally. The final part in the movie with what the younger brother eventually decides suffers from the same problem. I won’t spoil, but this is a really huge part of the movie that marks a massive emotional decision on his part and his mother’s, which they still somehow manage to overstate. I would like the movie to let me experience these emotions myself, not to have it smashing me over the head with a saucepan yelling “ISN’T THIS TRAGIC? LOOK AT HOW EMOTIONAL THIS IS! CRY DAMNIT!”
I wouldn’t say it’s a bad movie. There was never a stage when I wanted to leave the cinema and visit a trendy coffee shop instead. But the way the movie smashed repeatedly about how emotional everything was paradoxically left me feeling even more indifferent towards the film.
Wolf Children is a good choice for you if you'd enjoy a mellow movie about a widow raising her two kids. However note that it isn't a particularly exciting or eventful movie, and it mostly focuses on how the mother attempts to raise her children and how these children develop and mature. So it becomes a bad choice if you expect anything beyond the simple lives of these people, even with the supernatural element of werewolf children, it doesn't have narrative hooks and the incentive it tries to give you from the very beginning isn't a particularly strong one to continue watching the movie, since
it banks on a character that will not have any role for the rest of the movie. Also, note that in the review I will be discussing a bunch of things that might seem like a spoiler, but they don't go past any events that the MAL description hasn't given in the premise for the series and are mostly details from the first 20-30 minutes.
I do understand why the movie chose to start the way it did. When you hear of a single mother raising up her children, one of the reasons we emphatize with her is the fact that she is alone, and her grief could emotionally hook the viewer. It is part of why the children end up in the enviroment they do end up in. The problem that the father and mother themselves on their own is that they are very uninteresting and unexpressive people and until he dies, we're pretty much shown the barebones of a romance. The father is a silent character that doesn't really say much. All that is shown about him is that he wants to study despite not being in higher education and that he had a diificult childhood because he is a werewolf. But he doesn't really have a personality and is mostly silent. He barely talks, he barely barks and he barely does anything. So him being presented hardly matters, especially since he's only alive for a short portion of the movie. The mother is similar in personality because she is a really quiet girl, but I can at least appreciate the mother because she constantly has objectives throughout the movie that forces to be active and actively make decisions and figure out how it is best to raise her children. But the mere presentation of the father creates more problems than they are worth.
For instance most of the problems she gets in raising her children are because of the fact that she, not even until she had a second baby with the child, had no discussion about how their werewolf children should be raised, in what enviroments, and so on. The mother is pretty much clueless, to a degree that is not exactly believable, which makes the movie a tad ridiculous. Another thing that makes the movie ridiculous in its beginning portion is the father's death. He died in his wolf form because he drowned while he caught a bird. But this makes little sense, because, he could just leave the bird and try to swim, or transform back, in order to survive. And one thing that makes it especially ridiculous is the time they are shown having sex and that he is in werewolf mode, while having sex with her. Due to hearing about this, from other sources, I went with the mentality that I was gonna treat this movie as a huge pile of furry/otherkin jokes material, with a mother then raising her poor wittle fur babies. Because that would be an impractical way of impregnating someone, as animal dicks aren't compatible with human vaginas. I wouldn't really see any purpose towards being the case for the sex scene, aside appealing to the furry side, other than perhaps showing that she is accepting his form, but I do believe that could be done in a more discreet and better thought out way. Most of my specific problems are due to the first 20-30 minutes of the movie.
Moving on to the overall product, what I appreciate most about the movie is that despite it being a Slice of Life, it actually has constant progression and it feels like it is constantly moving forward, with the characters adapting to their surroundings and having their own problems, despite them being mundane and regular. This is how a series that focuses on the development of people over time in a regular life should feel, rather than spending a good 30 minutes over the fact that planting potatoes is relaxing, in tune with nature, and they enjoy it so much. Displaying something as overwhelmingly positive with the character seeming like they are trying to sell you on their way of life, rather than understanding why they live the life they do, is something that I've noticed in a bunch of the Slice of Lifes I checked. But it isn't a problem here, which is worthy of praise, due to how commonly that happens. One criticism I have to give in a similar vein however, is that there are parts that seem like they barely get any attention or have very little importance to the overall direction of the movie, like the old man that has helped the mother plant the potatoes, with his only purpose on screen to do just that. He was strongly displayed as a grouchy old man that didn't really display his affection for other people, and that made me kinda like him, going out of his way to help someone clearly clueless despite his own awkwardness. And don't get me wrong, the fact that the movie doesn't focus too much on things and doesn't try to tie everything together does give it a sense of realism, because it makes it feel more like the study of someone's life rather than a story designed to hook you narratively, this making it feel more natural. But it also results in a lot of the things presented not really leading anywhere, past them being presented or helpful towards accomplishing one objective, which made me feel at times that the movie was incomplete as a story.
Anyway, past every flaw, the movie presents the story of a single mother that had given birth to children that are half wolf, half human, and her struggles to raise them. The movie progresses until these children reach maturity, showing how they end up embracing how these type of children can end up embracing their human side at maturity, as well as their feral side. Without giving any spoilers about how the events of the movie unravel, the movie is simply about how these children grow up, and how their mother is attempting to raise them. It is a simple story, that shows the life of the children without being overlydramatic or pointlessly complex. The problems they have aren't particularly irregular events, and they revolve against things like financial and health problems, as well as the social aspect of their lives, and how they fit in the world. Despite the world claiming it is fantasy, the lives seen are pretty mundane and regular. I consider that the movie has succeeded in presenting the lives of the people it wanted to portray as realistic and somewhat relatable.
I think it's a good movie as long as you know what you come in for, with it being mostly a down to earth collection of events (aside furry sex and drowned dog) about the growth of some children, with a few fantastical elements to their conception and growth. It was interesting, but not particularly well executed, with some minor logic gaps, flaws and some underpresented characters that didn't particularly take from the overall feel of the movie. But as it is mostly focusing on mundane details, I don't think that Wolf Children is enjoyable for someone seeking something either more complex as a story, which are very rich with events and lots of stakes for the world they're in, or that simply doesn't find enjoyment in watching movies that are about raising a family. But in the situation that you would, Wolf Children can be a decent experience, if you can deal with some of the inconsistencies and don't mind a few ridiculous parts.
You know sometimes being the fans that we are of all sorts of media, you think to yourself, there's no way "this" could be better than "that", well this is one of those times you'd be wrong. I'll just start literally by saying "Ookami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki" is amazing 10/10 and must be watched by all.
Now for the rest of my spoiler free review,
The story of Ookami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki can be described as very heart-warming and extremely cute, however with that being said, there are moments where the darker side of the story can be heart wrenching, if you're
a fan of any of Studio Ghibli's works you'll be able to relate to the story/themes/emotions immediately. Honestly, if someone were to make you watch this movie without any prior knowledge of it, you'd probably come away thinking it was made by Ghibli, however the director Mamoru Hosada has done enough to make this his own masterpiece and that's especially good as Mamoru Hosada could be one anime director who could rival the international reputation of his former employers; Studio Ghibli. With prior works such as "The Girl Who Leaped Through Time" and "Summer Wars" this should come as no surprise to you that what you were delivered is nothing short of stellar.
The art of Ookami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki is excellent, I mean there were literally moments where I was blown away by just how detailed and gorgeous everything looked, the animation for the most part has a hand-drawn feel to it, however the use of 3D animation was present too although isn't used for spectacular effects, but in day-to-day scenes instead, such as water ripples created by raindrops, or how wind blows.
With the art there comes the amazing sound/voice overs... From the sounds of little critters out in the wild, to the thunderous rumbles in the skies, each will leave you fully immersed in the world presented to you. Most of you have probably seen "Hotaru no haka" aka Gave of the Fireflies, if you have seen it, you'll remember that Setsuko's voice actress (Ayano Shiraishi) delivered an incredibly realistic (which is almost a rarity these days) young girls portrayal, well this is true for the Wolf Children too, both Ame and Yuki were just awesome to hear, Yuki in particular - I just loved that little gruffness in her voice. It was about a third of the way through the movie where I literally said out loud, "these voice actor's are incredible" even the supporting cast were excellent!
This goes hand in hand with the characters, from young to old the development of the characters were incredibly well done. Hana (the wolf children's mother) manages to raise the children and deal with their gift, habits, situations and to teach them the morals they need to fit in with the rest of the world. Albeit she herself has a thing to learn about her tough situation, whether that be from textbooks, passing neighbours or seasoned veterans.
Its very enjoyable to watch and with the running time at around 2 hours I was secretly hoping there would be more coming, so needless to say the pacing was great and didn't bore what so ever, and now it's about that time in the review where you hope you've said enough to convince others to give the subject matter a shot, hoping you haven't missed anything... I really cannot find any faults and therefore would have to rate Ookami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki with a perfect 10/10. Seriously though, nothing but praise. If Mamoru Hosoda isn't in your list of favourites, now's the time!
A girl meets a guy, falls in love, finds out that he's a werewolf, but doesn't mind (loving him and having his kids). Sounds familiar? Thankfully, the focus of this story is not the relationship between the couple, but between the mother and her children. Although this makes for an interesting approach to the overused concept of the relationship between humans and their wolf relatives, it falls short in producing a convincing account of their fight to overcome the odds that such a family would be up against.
Just like how the movie can be summarized in two parts, it will also be reviewed in two
Partially narrated by Yuki, it starts off with a brief story of how the couple met, married, had kids and the loss of the father. Then as the story progresses, the mother endures and overcomes a variety of problems in order for her children to live a life free from the burden of their alternate identity. The children themselves eventually grew older, and they too began to face issues that they had to resolve on their own. The problems they encountered were typical and expected of such a family; things like trying to suppress their animal instincts, hide themselves from the prying eyes of others, and financial woes. So there’s nothing unexpected here. The problem however does not lie with its predictability, but rather the ease of how those problems were resolved. In almost every situation, they were conveniently assisted through the introduction of additional characters rather than getting by through their own effort or changing themselves. In other words, I felt that the story did not adequately convey the hardships of single-parenthood and difficulties of a single parent family to me. Also, I was puzzled by how they managed to prevent their identities from being exposed despite several situations. (IMO, it'd have been more interesting if they were exposed.)
I’m no single mother, but I know enough to understand that raising kids alone is a monumental undertaking that requires both mental and physical fortitude. Thus the simplicity of how she prevailed despite her predicaments seemed almost disrespectful towards those who have experienced it, and misguiding towards those who have not.
Yet, the first part was a heartwarming portrayal of the strength of a mother and the kindness of their neighbors. The gradual buildup of emotions, from the loss of the father, the struggles of the mother, culminating in the successful integration of the family in the countryside really got to me. Simply put, it's just like one of those heartwarming stories you see on the internet where you can say:" Faith in humanity restored". For the first part, I give a score of 9/10.
The second part's focus was on the siblings. Interestingly or not, their problems were either of the mythical; resulting in situations which I found hard to identify with (Ame), or of the usual; teenage angst and rebelliousness (Yuki). I am especially confused by the actions taken by Ame; the change in his attitude and behavior in the later part of the story was sudden and ill-explained. Identity and reconciliation was evidently the main theme in this part of the story - how Ame and Yuki each found their own answers to how they should be living their lives and how the family accepted each others' decisions.
Although it was at times conventional (Yuki) and awkward (Ame), I admit the part where Yuki was persuaded back to school was kinda cute, while Ame's lone journey in self-discovery was mysterious and cool. I also can't help but think that another message to the conclusion of the story was - to each his/her own. As long as you are happy and not doing something bad, go live your life and don't let anybody (apparently including your mum) stop you. For the second part, I give a score of 7/10.
Just like its predecessors Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo and Summer Wars, the animation was crisp and detailed; nothing less could be expected from Hosoda and Madhouse Studios. Voice-acting was faultless. The music by Takagi was surprisingly well done for someone new to anime music scene (at the time of writing). Also, I really liked how certain sequences were well-timed to be completely silent, which contributed to the emphasis of the scene as well as the appreciation of the music that followed after.
To be fair, I knew from the beginning that this movie would not deal heavily on the issues of single-parenthood. After all, it is a story that is accessible and understandable to audiences of all ages, and that in itself is a huge merit. If you love Pixar movies like Toy Story, you will definitely love this.
Outstanding, but lacked the depth to be truly exceptional. Overall a great movie for the family.
Just a fair heads up to whoever may be reading this, this IS my very first review so bear with me.
I have always been fascinated with parenting, though it’s a topic that is rarely portrayed in anime. It’s an experience that on end can bring a person to complete ruin to giving someone a very reason to exist on the other. It’s ironic how being a parent is one of the greatest challenges and hardships that a person can experience but yet nearly everyone is one or will be one. One of the main reasons for this is that no one can tell you exactly
how to handle parenting specifically. There’s no step by step process to follow, raising no one child is ever the same, and experience is the only true way to approach/handle it.
Though the film has fantasy elements, do not let this dissuade you by any means. I myself am no expert on fantasy but I had some concerns that the characters would be unreal and not relatable to the viewer. Any preconceptions and doubts I had were disproved very early in the story.
Straight from the beginning we are shown the main character Hana, a normal college student dealing with the day to day tribulations, part-time, studying, etc. Then one day she starts taking notice to a certain someone in the classroom. Very soon she begins to instinctively fall in love with Ookami, our other main character, who she will soon find out is not entirely human. He is a werewolf, and the two children they have end up being the same.
Unfortunately for Hana, Ookami is no longer around and now she must learn how to raise her werewolf children alone. Later on the three move out into the country to effectively raise them without much unwanted human intervention. As they grow older, the two children, Yuki the elder daughter, and Ame, her little brother, begin going their separate ways in life. There is much conflict in the process but eventually Hana comes to accept whatever Ame and Yuki wish to do with their lives from there on.
The story with its interesting and unusual mix of genres is executed outstandingly. The fantasy and slice of life elements are mixed in a way that one genre doesn’t feel overpowered over the other, it’s very well balanced. Simply one genre alone could not have achieved the greatness that this masterpiece has.
I honestly had no intentions coming into this film that I would experience anything ground breaking with the visuals, but I received exactly that. The primary reason for this is that the animations are originally designed in 3D and then 2D effects are added onto it. The movement animations because of this innovative effects style are vibrant and surreal. The movement doesn’t simply resemble multiple frames moving in fast motion like in most anime. All the background scenery is breathtaking to look at, whether it be urban streets or lush forestry. The characters animations themselves are realistic and thoroughly balanced. The characters are clearly not favored toward any particular viewer type.
Despite all the other astounding accomplishments this awesome film has to offer, the characters are definitely where this movie shines the most, it’s almost blinding. If Ookami Kodomo were only to be told from one single perspective this movie wouldn’t have been half as good as it was. If it hadn’t been executed this way then the end result would be unbalanced with more time focused on only certain characters over others. Due to the multiple perspectives the story felt more wholly and comprehensible in the end as well.
You can tell the voice actors put their effort in to their performance, each character didn’t sound out of place or more expressive over the others. You could outright tell that the cast was chosen with extensive and attentive care, considering they’re all predominantly new and unknown voice actors. All the characters had equal screen time as well, in part due to narration by some characters early on for supplementary albeit vital info.
The sound is very well balanced and nothing sounds out of place. What else can I say, it’s what you can expect form an excellent movie.
This is the finest and most groundbreaking anime film or in fact any piece of anime I have ever seen. This list of admirable innovative aspects and features found throughout Ookami Kodomo are abundant. Others that aren’t are still executed excellently and by no means in any cliché style. This is a masterpiece that other future or forthcoming anime series/films should surely aspire to become.
"I'm your average college student, life is normal but everything changed when I met him. I fell in love and had kids."
.... THAT'S IT... No struggle, just a normal teenage girl who lived a "normal" teenage life with hardly any hardships.
You know when you watch the news and you hear something tragic but you can't do anything about it and just go, "Oh.. or Ah.." because it doesn't effect you and it's been said and done soo many times?
This is exactly what this anime movie is. There is hardly ANY development for you to care enough about the characters. Everything just happens way too
quickly. There are hardly any character flaws, this is if not one of the worst slice of life series ever.
Everything as said earlier is very static. My reactions are just "oh... ahh.." to practically everything, like I was just noticing what was going on. There is NO weight to any of the characters actions and hardly any depth either.
Art was fine, sound was fine, but for goodness sake, add some character flaws, make them feel more vibrant, not static robots.
This movie hardly made me "feel" any emotions. At the end I questioned .... "What...? What was I supposed to feel? Sure , as said in the synopsis
"Hana, a hard-working college student who becomes a mother", BUT EVERYONE'S A HARD WORKING COLLEGE STUDENT. I COULD CARE LESS.
If her past revealed she grew in a terrible/poor household, and is trying harder than anyone in college so she could lift herself out of poverty, I would have felt much better.
"falls in love with a mysterious man who attends one of her classes though he is not an actual student"
I swear to you this happens in less than... a millisecond. Love at first sight is fine but there is no exploration as to why other than physical appearance.
THIS MOVIE PUTS DRAMA INTO THINGS THAT DON'T NEED TO HAVE DRAMA. It leaves so many things unanswered like, WHERE ARE THE PARENTS OF OUR MAIN CHARACTER? WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO FEEL?
Most of the movement in this movie is.... of course a hard working mother doing motherly things like cooking and such but, there is no weight to any of this. She choose this life, her life was and is easy and it still pretty much is. Dose me up with something that will bawl my eyes out pleasee. "Slice of life". Well, life has much more drama than this.
This is my first review on this website, and I thought I'd create an account just to review this movie. Ookami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki, or Wolf Children has been recommended to me endlessly, as it was regarded (by them) to be Miyazaki material, if not better.
I have high expectations when it comes to watching Anime movies. Since they do not rely on a series to back up the characters and plot, it's very difficult to create a masterpiece that combines all those elements. Wolf Children exceeded my expectations, though I still can't describe how it compares with Miyazaki movies, I will just
provide a review of this movie alone. No comparisons.
Character development had been seemingly shown to be most important aspect to this movie, as time-lapses are a great indication of how attached the viewer should be to the characters and how big of a role they have to the overall plot. I really liked how much time the movie spent in a certain period of time, especially during Ame's and Yuki's childhood. It really goes to show what kind of children they were, and how their actions reflect their personality.
Reversal of roles! Without spoiling the movie, I will say this aspect of the movie was exceedingly enjoyable to watch. Though it happens in a majority of animes and movies in general, the way Wolf Children was able to indulge in it seemed completely necessary, and just added to the great story writing of this movie.
The artwork and animation is indifferent, but it doesn't bother me one bit. Usually I would like characters to be drawn with more detail to show just how different they are from one another, but the way characters in Wolf Children had been drawn shows just how minuscule detail can be to still be able to provide so much emotion and character to the characters.
But what leaves it short from receiving a perfect score for me is the ending. There could've been a multitude of ways to end this movie, and I feel like they have chosen one of the weakest. It could've had so much more potential to provide the maximum feels one could possibly acquire. Ame was mysterious and quiet, but I think it was far too stretched. Any response at all, anything that could've been displayed to illicit his feelings would've provided me with some comfort. I know some may say that his silent behavior is what his character is supposed to embrace, but it wouldn't hurt to show at least some resemblance of his father within him.
Another part was the elder wolf and man. They could've developed differently, in a way that would contribute to the storyline much more. A closer friendship should've formed between Hana and the old man. The elder wolf literally played no role to the movie, as he only served as a random animal (a good a role as the wild bear had). So much more could've been done with him, but the writers decided not to.
- Amazing Story, that may leave you in tears
- Wonderful music
- Dialogue/Characters are unmatched
- Great way of displaying the bigger picture
- Shows essences of environmental problems as well as social issues
- Perfect for all ages
- A few unnecessary scenes
- Weak ending
It does live up to its ranking on this list, and I do agree that it is a must watch. Most viewers have fallen completely in love with every aspect of this movie. Everyone is going to have a different opinion though, as taste derives from other animes you've watched as well as what you look for, especially, in an anime movie. Anyway, happy feels!
This is going to be my first review, so feedback is appreciated.
Have you ever thought about how hard it is for a single mother to raise two children who are only a little more than a year apart? Well, I can tell you right now that’s it’s not as hard as raising two children who are only a year apart and part wolf!
Let me start off by saying that this is one of the best animated films that I’ve had the pleasure of watching. I couldn’t help but have a smile on my face for almost the entire film. If you’ve watched any of Mamoru
Hosoda’s previous works (The Girl Who Leapt through Time, and Summer Wars) you can see that Mamoru has grown as a director, and learned some things from both of those movies that he put into Wolf Children. In The Girl Who Leapt through Time, Mamoru learned how to write believable characters. From Summer Wars, he learned how to focus on a large cast and make sure that they all were characterized in a well done manner, as well as showing a pretty accurate representation of a family. In Wolf Children, he puts all of those together to give us a small, well characterized family that is very, very believable.
Story – 10
Wolf Children starts us of by showing us the key main character, Hana, and how she fell in love with a wolf man she met during college. We then see her children being born, and how she raised them from birth, until Yuki and Ame are 11 and 10 respectively.
We see Hana trying to figure out how to deal with the fact that her children are part wolf. How can she keep it a secret? How should she raise wolf children? What should she do when they’re sick? She can’t take them to a doctor, because she’s scared that one of them may turn into a wolf during the diagnosis or even during regular checkups. It’s such an emotionally charged film that you can’t help but feel joy and sorrow at the same time Hana does. Not many films do that for me, and none have done it in such a way that Wolf Children did.
Visuals – 10
This is an amazingly animated movie. From the characters to the backgrounds, everything is beautiful. There’s a lot of CG around, mostly noticeable is the fact that a lot of the background characters are CG. Unlike a lot of CG in anime, I didn’t feel like it took me out of the immersion. It was tastefully done, for the most part, and not terribly noticeable in some scenes.
The backgrounds, though, are absolutely gorgeous. The mountains, the snow, the streams, the skies, everything, looked fantastic. As I was watching the movie, sometimes I wished I could just pause it so I could take in all the backgrounds had to offer (alas, I could not, due to first watching this movie in a theatre).
Characters - 10
Here’s where the movie really shines. The movie has a decently sized cast with the main three characters; Hana, Yuki, and Ame, getting the most attention. Hana is a single mother of three, and we see from her perspective what it’s like to be a single mother. I liked this, since most of the time you see how they grow up from the child’s perspective.
Hana is, in a word, human. She tries hard, works hard, wants the best for her children and doesn’t succeed all the time. That’s natural. It’s hard to care for two children (let alone wolf children) and be able to study while working a job. It is fantastic how well Mamoru was able to show us her hardships, and how she always continued no matter how tough it was.
Now let us talk about the children, Ame and Yuki. We get to see them from the moment they’re first born, and we continue to watch them grow until Ame is 10, and Yuki is 11. Over the course of these years, we see them (much like real children) start out one way, and change slowly over a realistic amount of time.
We see how Yuki, as a small child, would always turn into a wolf and go run around the house whenever she wanted, but learned slowly, as a child would, when it wasn’t acceptable to do that since she had to keep the fact that she’s a wolf a secret.
Ame is a small, reserved child and he dislikes being a wolf, since in all the picture books he reads the wolf is the bad guy and he just wants to live peacefully. He goes through some great character development over the course of the story, and Mamoru definitely knew what he was doing with the main cast in this film.
Overall, this gets a 10 from me. I can find next to no flaws with it, and it was masterfully done. I hope that Mamoru’s next work will be able to surpass this film, but I find it hard to believe.
To all the people who voted Helpful and Not Helpful, feedback is appreciated :)
Ookami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki, or Wolf Children, as it is called in English, is a two hour animated film directed by Hosoda Mamoru of Studio Chizu. Hosoda formerly worked at Toei Animation and Madhouse before establishing his own studio.
Ookami Kodomo tells the tale of Hana, a young university student who meets and falls in love with an unnamed man. This man does not attend her university, but he does come for lectures in order to study. He takes on odd jobs to have just enough money to survive. At first, he seems just like any other young man pressed for time and money.
But he has one big secret, which he only tells to Hana: he is actually a werewolf. Hana loves him despite this, and together, they have two children, named after the weather they were born in. (Yuki – snow, and Ame – rain).
The movie goes on to show the plights Hana must persevere through, as a mother of two young children who are both wolf and human. There are many moments that range from both sad to humorous (such as when Hana debates whether to take her sick child to the vet or the children's hospital). Overall, the goal of the film is to be both a coming of age story (for Ame and Yuki), as well as a showcase of how hard Hana works to provide for her two young children – a tribute to mothers themselves. She gives up nearly everything for her young, and if Ame and Yuki were not werewolves, I would say the story is completely realistic. The relatively few fantasy components do not do much to diminish the poignancy of the movie, though.
It clearly goes out of its way to show the pains of growing up. Ame and Yuki change as they become older, sometimes in completely unexpected ways. And yet, somehow, this does not seem unnatural. It is only a clear, stark contrast once one takes the time to compare and contrast the children when they were barely in preschool, to their selves as young middle school students. The two children have their own personalities and their own desires, and they always feel like actual kids instead of cardboard cut-outs of archetypes. Hana, their mother, also makes her own journey to be a better person as a whole, although it is more skills that she lacks (and obtains during the movie’s runtime) than personality traits that she seeks. Her persona matures, however, as everyone does when they grow older.
The film is quite lighthearted, overall. There are no psychological ringers to grind your brain through, nor are there cold-hearted villains waiting to kidnap Ame and Yuki. It is simply a story about finding love, growing up, having a family, and raising children. It’s nothing complex, and it isn’t depressing as some people say it is. It is life, just with some supernatural elements added to it. It’s a nice, poignant film that is pleasant to watch after having gone through a difficult day or marathoning a particularly bleak anime.
The animation is fluid and crisp. Character designs are fairly simple and the overall style is quite reminiscent of Studio Ghibli in its plainness. While the animation is nice, there are times where it seems the animators chose to add the characters to actual, real life images, and there are some scenes where this is especially prominent and noticeable. The colour palettes are nice and vibrant. Not too much to critique here, really.
Personally, I did not find the soundtrack to be very memorable or engaging. Case in point: I had to look up the music on Youtube to be certain I remembered it properly. A lot of it is slow ambience music played gently in the background. You’ll hear a lot of chanting voices in some tracks. All in all, the music was not to my taste and I won’t be hunting down the original soundtrack any time soon. The songs were mostly fitting to the scenes they were used in, although some could have benefited from background music and instead are given none. The ending theme, Okaa-san no Uta (Mother's Song) by Ann Sally, however, was very poignant and emotional, clearly inspired by lullabies mothers sing to their children. I even found myself growing a bit teary-eyed when I actually listened to the lyrics. It's difficult not to think of your own mother or mother-figure and think of what she has done for you and sacrificed for you while listening to this song.
There are some potentially interesting sub-plots or ideas that are brought to attention but never followed or pursued. Some of these could have brought depth to the movie itself. For instance, the old gentleman helping Hana with improving her farming skills could have been a wolf, and in fact it was implied in a few choice scenes. This was never expanded upon, and the intriguing plotline falls flat on its face, ignored.
Like all young children, and like all siblings, for that matter, Ame and Yuki end up butting heads. The movie’s climax is brought upon by the separation of Ame and Yuki, both in a physical as well as a mental sense. It culminates in…a rather nonsensical and devoid of logic chase scene that went on for far too long and was quite obviously merely a ploy to increase the film's runtime. I would consider the possibility that I could be a heartless witch, but this clearly isn’t the case considering I cry easily and have been brought to tears by several anime and manga in the past.
Wolf Children only made me cry once, toward the first half of the movie, and it was largely brought on by the orchestra playing in the background of the particular scene and Hana’s expression. In contrast, I found myself quite bored and more exasperated than anything by Hana pursuing one of her children while the other was left stranded at school during a storm. I did not have the urge to cry; I yelled at my television screen and angrily demanded the reason for her actions. Perhaps I could attribute my lack of empathy to the fact that I am not a mother – but, you see, I watched this film with my OWN mother, and she was the first to point out that the scene was silly and irritating. We could also just a couple of heartless witches, though. That’s always an option.
This was really my only problem with the movie, and had this scene not existed, I would have gladly handed Wolf Children a score of eight out of ten and let it run with it. As it is, the movie can only get a seven from me, as the scene really managed to dampen my opinion of the film as a whole. I still recommend it, however; it is a good movie in its own right, and certainly poignant and moving in its own way. That chase scene, though. It was completely unnecessary.
In fact, growing up is like an experience, a natural time when we embraces the days we go through. It is from these times where we learn about the world, make connections, and make the most of our lives. It begins with the very first breath we take in and out. The prospect of growing up therefore is like climbing a ladder. The higher you reach, the harder it becomes. But of course, that doesn't stop some people from reaching the top and enjoying their life with people they care about.
That's especially the case for Hana.
Ookami Kodomo no Ame
to Yuki (also known as The Wolf Children Ame and Yuki) is an anime film presentation directed by Mamoru Hosoda. He is known for his work in other famous movies such as The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and Summer Wars. The film is also co-produced with Madhouse along with Studio Chizu. Taking place in modern Japan brings forth this movie that presents naturalism along with the prospect of raising a family in its purest form.
The movie takes place in modern Japan similar to our present times. In a lighthearted atmosphere, we meet Hana in the very first scenes as she sees a young man. It becomes a 'love at first sight' instance the moment she laid her eyes on him. From there on, the two develops a relationship. However, not all is at it seems because the man has a secret. He is in fact not human. However, this does not break their strong bond together. After some happy moments and days of their lives, a tragedy breaks Hana and her husband apart forever through an unprecedented event. Devastated but promising to raise their children together in the 'fairy-tale' love they once shared, Hana vows to raise the children properly and give them a future.
From this standpoint, I found the movie to have quite a sense of realism to it even with the fantasy themes. In fact, the prospect of growing up and raising a family by a young single woman is difficult in today's world. Not just by the struggling economy but the fact that you're all alone with little experience yourself in the real world makes it that much more difficult. In this movie, an unique aspect adds to the mix with the fact that Hana's children are not human. They are wolves. By beast of nature, they are considered a threat to society. Any chance that their secret is exposed could put Hana's life with them in major jeopardy.
The movie plays on a role that details on how important it is to protect one's keen and growing up together as a family. In fact, I find many of the sequences similar to those of nature. By nature, animals must protect their children and teach them how to survive. In this movie, Hana teaches her kids many new aspects of nature and the world while learning about it herself. As a matter of fact, Hana's role as a single mother often shows her vulnerability in the beginning as seen when she is warned by neighbors, becoming the talk of the town behind her back, and getting tough lessons from an old man. Despite this though, she continues to keep her promise with the wolf man in the beginning of the film and that is:
To raise the children not as wolves but as Ame and Yuki
Speaking of which, the characters of Ame and Yuki are presented in various ways throughout the film. At first, they start out as children and beast by nature. They are curious about the world as many times, they try out new things by themselves with mixed results. One particular moment involving Ame almost costs his life but that event only makes him stronger as an individual. On the other hand, Yuki too grow up as the movie progresses. Although starting off as a popular girl, her interactions with a particular character almost sets her off to isolationism from the others. But yet with more interactions with people, she is able to open herself up more and becoming a stronger person.
The movie also has a theme of nature and survival. After all, we can't forget that Ame and Yuki are not like you and me. They have instincts and follows the law of nature. In the latter half of the movie, Ame is able to invoke that instinct when he embraces more of his animistic self. In ways, it's growing up like an animal/person and learning more skills to survive. After all, those kids can't rely on Hana forever right?
The series also explores social issues and identity as our main characters tries to figure out their place in the world. Whether at school or in the wild, Ame and Yuki often shows both human and animistic behavior. In particular, Ame and Yuki contrasts in their views of themselves. Yuki sees herself as a human who wants a normal life. On the other hand, Ame embraces his wild side and sees himself an animal, a wolf. The two balances out between animal and human behavior as seen in the later half of the movie.
Although well presented, I found the movie did have a few problems. One in particular is a lack of exploration in the Wolfman. His origins and backgrounds are unexplored territory and how he came to be is surrounded by mystery. I mean, why is he the only surviving descendant of his species? Additionally, while the romance between Hana and Wolfman was set off well, I found that their relationship to be rather blend, even so later on in the movie. Finally, I thought the film was somewhat predictable with the nature of the way it was presented. Along with that, the seemingly lack of exploration of the children's adult selves and what their future was in stored for them was a turn off.
In terms of visuals, I found the movie to have a natural way of presenting itself. It is lighthearted and presents its colors well in particular the snowy day when Yuki was born that symbolizes a fresh start, or the first breath of life. When the snow melts, it becomes water, evaporates and returns to the atmosphere in a sort of evolution theme. Some of the other visuals are cute especially during the scenes involving the children in their younger lives. The way they behave are like human and animal the same time with their lack of knowledge of the real world. The forest, countryside, the dawn/sunsets, and rural city also sets off that civilization pattern which becomes a symbol of realism and evolution in growing up.
The soundtrack of the series is well performed in my opinion. At many times, the rhythm matches the overall tone of the story especially with Hana in taking care of her children. The majority of the movie has that feeling of motion which seems makes its soundtrack more distinguishing as the children grows up. Takagi Masakatsu performed his task well with the music score. Beautiful, simplistic, and natural are just a few words that come to my mind when my ears hears the vibrations.
In the end, this movie was a delight for me and one that I enjoyed. At many variances, it tells the story between the wolf and how it's been ostracized. But really, are wolves really that devious? Are they really a threat to society? The way I look at it, it's nature itself that when left untamed becomes a threat. Thankfully, we have parents for a guide and helping us climb that ladder to success.
Wolf children, a story about a single mother Hana who is tasked with the mission of raising her children Ame and Yuki on her own after her boyfriend had died. But these are not ordinary children as there farther was part wolf and so are the kids.
Now i doubt there is anyone who is an avid anime watcher that would turn down a heartwarming Mamoru Hosoda film. Its a good way to take a break from 24/26 episode series.
The story is about Hana's difficulties after the daeth of ookami she struggles with dealing with kids that can transform from human to wolf
form at a momnets notice. This leads to neighbors turning on Hana and constant glares from strangers.
This prompts Hana to move away to the countryside in order to give Yuki and Ame the freedom they deserve. Super-mom Hana then rebuilds a broken down house suitable for the kids and works on growing food for them to eat.
The story is very sad and very heartwarming as i shows how hard Hana works in order to give her kids a good life.
First off is Hana. I have to litterally aplaud this woman for her resolve, her determination and her sheer will power to reach her goal. A lot of people would have probably abandoned their kids when the going got tough, but Hana stuck it out and made their lives a success with the help of others along the way.
Next is Yuki she is a bubbly and energetic young girl who often causes trouble for Hana. Since she is so hyperactive she would often shout and turn into a wolf when things didnt go her way. When starting school she would have trouble fitting in since her wolf personality would hinder progress with other girls. Yuki would show off skulls in comparrison to her friends showing jewllery. This lead to Yuki prefering to be human over wolf amid the fear she has of people finding out she is part wolf and being a social reject.
Finally we have Ame. Ame is a shy and inocnet young child who often stays by his mothers side. One snow filled day Ame frollocks in the snow showing signs that he is out of his shell and is displaying excitement and enthusiasm he hasn't shown before. Ame realises that he is a wolf and has accepted his wolf heritage.
The characters are very well developed we see them go through their years together the difficult times and the fun times they had together. We also see a conflict with the siblings as they disagree with each others choices.
I very much enjoyed this anime movie. It is hard not to like a heartwarming anime film. Its a feel good film with comedy, romance and dramatic elements that all add up to create a well executed film.
Overall Wolf children was very good it had a very simple story idea transformed into a well portayed story of a mothers struggles. People who are looking for something more heavy hitting and action packed may want to look elsewhere, but i doubt there is anyone who could genuinely say that they disliked this film. Wolf children gets a definate recomendation and a score of 8 out of 10.
Life is unpredictable. Just when we think we have a grasp on what’s going to happen next, when we fall into the belief that things are going to go as planned, they can change completely in an instant. The idea that minor changes can have major impacts is nothing new, but is something that I believe is taken for granted; I doubt most people take any time to stop and think about all the “little things” in our lives that played a part in who we are and where we are in our life. Change is a part of the very nature of life and
everyone experiences change to some degree. And with change, people have to adapt in order to keep on “living”. Numerous times in film and anime, characters are subjected to a change in their life and eventually cope with this in some way. But with Wolf Children, I see the film depicting changes in life as just that: changes that simply take place in the overarching tale of a woman wanting to give the best chance at life possible to her children.
*This review contains spoilers*
Wolf Children is a 2012 animated film directed by Mamoru Hosoda, a man often compared to legendary Hayao Miyazaki for making high-quality, family-friendly films with mass appeal. Both of Hosoda’s previous works – The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and Summer Wars – were nice films that had their moments, but Wolf Children is a substantial improvement, delivering on a touching family drama with an entrancing twist that to me adds a lot to the justification of the initial comparison. The film follows Hana, a young woman who, during one of her university classes meets and falls for a mysterious man who eventually reveals himself to be a “wolf man”, someone who is able to transition between human and wolf. Hana is undeterred by this and the two form a relationship which leads to the couple having two children, Yuki and Ame, before the father’s tragic untimely death. This leaves Hana to raise the two half-human, half-wolf children as best she can.
The film has two different storyline paths following the initial romance, the first dealing with Hana’s struggles when she initially tries to raise the two children by herself, whilst also trying to hide their identities. Yuki and Ame at this point have very little control over when they transform into wolves and as such puts the mother in a position where she has to hide them away from public eye. This action has a lot of drawbacks such as if one of her children were to get sick, where would she take them for care, a hospital or a veterinary clinic. It also draws suspicion, to the point where she is almost forced to move and lose custody of her children. But perhaps the worst problem the family end up facing here is how they are alone in these problems; practically excluded from society with Hana having no one to help her in this time of need. Wolf Children has no problem showing how ruthless and harsh society can be when you just want to live a normal life, even if they are different from the norm. But Hana doesn’t let her family’s secrets get in the way of Yuki and Ame’s upbringing as they move to the countryside where they won’t be hassled by society and have the chance to be raised as both humans and wolves.
The second path focuses on Yuki and Ame themselves as they try to develop their own identities and how they want to live their lives, whether it be alongside humans or in the wild. Yuki and Ame are two very different personalities; Yuki being the outgoing older sister to Ame, the timid younger brother and in this part of the film we see proper contrast between the two. The way both siblings react to other people and circumstances make them seem like polar opposites to each other. Over the course of the film they both develop in their own separate ways, with Yuki’s personality leading her to act more like what a girl her age would be expected to act in order to find a sense of belonging amongst her classmates. Whereas Ame’s timid nature causes him to get ostracized and bullied, pushing him further away from human interaction and closer to nature, leading to him gaining an intrigue in wildlife and other animals. While Hana is never in complete agreement with what each of her children end up wanting, she doesn’t stop them from living their life the way they want. Wolf Children is more than a movie about the trials and tribulations a mother faces. It is about struggling to find a sense of identity and belonging, along with how far a mother can go to ensure their children’s happiness.
Regarding the film’s presentation, Wolf Children both looks and feels incredible. From the moment the film begins with Yuki’s narration over a beautiful field of flowers accompanied by a majestic piano piece, it will have you in its thrall. The story is an emotional experience at the core and the film capitalised on this fact immensely. Despite the amount of time-skips that took place it never stagnated the development on the main characters nor did it hinder my investment in them. We were always shown key events in their lives and felt as if we had observed the natural growth and changes with each child, a feat that is not easy to accomplish. The pacing here is also worth noting; most of the time the film does love to take its time on certain scenes, and considering the films acts almost like a fictional biography in how it tells its story, it overall adds to the experience. Viewers are shown the ups and downs this family faces in detail and puts more focus on the family and how they’re able to cope not only as individuals, but as a union. While I personally would have preferred to have a longer runtime to add to the conclusion, I cannot deny that Wolf Children does an excellent job at telling an emotional narrative within the confines of a film.
When it comes to anime, films tend to have higher quality animation and design compared to TV series. And while Hosoda at this point has not perfected the kind of “scenery porn” to the degree of a Makoto Shinkai, it still stands as one of the most stunning and breathtaking animated films in its visuals alone. The backgrounds were filled with vibrant colours with a particular attention to detail in nearly every scene. Most of the countryside setting is clearly inspired by Studio Ghibli’s My Neighbour Totoro, especially when it comes to how Yuki explores their new home for the first time, adding to that sense of genuine child-like fascination the film clings to. The animation itself was smooth and soothing to watch with its own unique style to it, almost looking completely hand-drawn for the most part. A lot of CGI was used; a risk that commonly results in scenes looking out-of-place. But in Wolf Children, that rarely ever happens, with most CGI used providing the film with computer-generated camera shots that are unmatched in the medium thus far. And while some aspects of the film’s visuals such as disproportionate character designs can take away from the aesthetics to some, they are never focused on, with the film instead aspiring to leave you mesmerised with its exquisite animation.
The music here can tell a story just as well as words. Sections of the film contained no dialogue whatsoever, just lovely music conveying all that is needed to tell. The soundtrack is just as beautiful and impressive as the visuals, matching to create an atmosphere that truly entranced me into this family and world, and I could not get enough of it. The music never stands out, but is memorable in its own way; has its own kind of emotional impact. It does the job of heightening scenes to a higher level exceptionally well. Sound effects used are also well-executed – amplified for increased sorrow or tension and subdued when necessary for important scenes. When talking about the Sub vs Dub debate here I’ll be honest, I didn’t watch the subbed version. I only saw the English dub and even now I don’t think watching the subbed version is needed, because the dub overall is fantastic and deserves to be seen.
Wolf Children is one of the few movies that I truly believe you can’t go wrong with. Despite the many times I’ve heard about the beastiality scene and how uncaring the mother supposedly is, I call bullshit. To see Wolf Children is to see people’s lives unfold and blossom in the blink of an eye. It’s a heart-warming story full of the delights, struggles and confusion of life, both as a mother who wants the best for the children and as a young boy or girl trying to find where they belong in the world. These two perspectives do collide once the children have a chance to experience both lifestlyes as Yuki and Ame each go on their separate paths, Yuki choosing the life of a human and Ame the life of a wolf. The latter choice initially a bitter pill for the mother to swallow, essentially losing her 10-year old son to a dangerous life where he could very well die ala his father. However, after seeing Ame run into the mountains and stands proud as a wolf, she realizes he has found his own path and accepts his decision, stating towards the end of the film from the top of the lungs:
“You’re where you belong.”
That final farewell, saying to her child essentially "have a good life" is a crushing sentiment that can ruin one the more they hold onto the memories of them together, but is also a righteous notion that every parent or guardian at some point will have to let go. And at that point, it's all over in the blink of an eye. That is life.
This is one of my older reviews that I have re-written to hopefully not get removed this time.
Story and characters:
This part of the review contains SPOILERS!!!!!!
The story begins with a Japanese college student named Hana. One day, she spots a cute boy in her class who doesn't attend the college, but sits in on the classes anyway. She immediately falls in love with him and follows him around like a puppy! He finally begins talking to her, but he is fairly laconic, which of course makes him even more desirable. Eventually he decides to confess to her that he is a werewolf
and transforms in front of her. This does not faze her AT ALL. In fact, she has sex with him on the spot while he is in his wolf form! Thankfully, it quickly cuts off-screen because this is a kids movie! The Werewolf dude (who is never named) calmly explains that werewolves can transform whenever they want, but many untrue myths have been spread about them. I have a question for this film. If werewolves can perfectly control their transformations and live peacefully among humans then WHY is this guy supposedly the last werewolf?! How could the humans have hunted them down if they can control when they transform?! This doesn't make any fucking sense and is never even addressed. We the audience are just supposed to swallow this crap!
Back to the story, Hana gives birth to 2 children, but tragedy strikes when the unnamed Papa Wolf is struck and killed by a car while in his wolf form. A fucking WEREWOLF is killed by a car. I respect the right to creativity, but if you want to use werewolves in your story, you should keep at least SOMETHING of the traditional lore. Werewolves in all media have an extremely high healing factor and can only be killed by: injuries made by silver, complete decapitation, or old age. Nothing else will kill a werewolf and this has been the rule since early 1700s Germany! Now that Hana is a single mother, she decides to keep the kids isolated because she fears they will transform in front of people. However, the welfare workers come by to see why the children haven't been vaccinated, so Hana moves to the country where the government isn't able to find her. Just go with it. She buys an old dilapidated house that has been abandoned for decades, but quickly repairs it all by herself...because apparently she is an absolute expert in carpentry. Just go with it. Hana learns farming from an adorably cranky old man and raises her kids in the country. Eventually they wish to attend school and Hana lets them as long as they promise not to transform. Hana's daughter decides to live her life as a human, and her son decides to live a VERY lonely life in the forest as the last surviving wolf in Japan. Hana is totally OK with this decision and ends the movie happily reflecting on her time together with her kids.
Art and animation:
This movie was VERY well animated. I appreciate the fact that it looks cute! Wolf Children also does include a few heartwarming and adorable scenes. Does that make this movie a masterpiece? No. In the 1990s, the big rivalry in kids movies was between Disney and Fox Animation Studio largely dependent on one guy named Don Bluth. Don was absolutely beloved in the 1980s for his masterful trilogy: Secret of NIMH, An American Tale, and Land Before Time. In the 1990s, Bluth abandoned trying to tell good stories and focused entirely on making his movies as cute as possible. These include: Thumbelina, A Troll in Central Park, and The Pebble and the Penguin. In the 1990s, critics lauded the Disney movies for their amazing stories and characters while absolutely SHITTING on everything Don Bluth touched. I don't think he made a movie after 1990 that didn't win multiple Razzie awards.
Wolf Children is EXACTLY like watching a 1990s Don Bluth movie, yet people on MAL act like Tolstoy himself wrote it, and it was drawn by Michelangelo! This movie is fairly cute, but it isn't that good guys! I'm sorry I had to be the one to say this, but a critic SHOULD try give honest opinions, not just bend to popular dogma. If you are older than 8 years old, I really wouldn't bother watching this movie. There are honestly MUCH better movies you could be watching.
Wolf children is a bad movie their characters are one-dimensional and they develop in an inconsistent way with a fast passing. Example of how fast and inconsistent is the movie, it is established that the protagonist is in love with no reason for a character of which they represent him first as a perfect guy or something like that, because nothing is said about him. Who is a werewolf out of nowhere and then have children again for no reason and all in less than 16 minutes for a movie of almost two hours, this is an introduction to what is coming but that means
everything else is caused by A stupid romance that never made sense. Following with the movie again, the development is fast and not given to understand, there are many beautiful scenes but are never relevant to the story. For another point the issues that deal with the film are very empty and make the film is boring. For a positive the film has a decent ending that is very conclusive with what the movie wanted to try, but that does not matter much.
Ookami (the father) is only characterized by being a good person and does not say anything else. The childrens are nothing, according to the movie these are developed but can not be developed if it does not tell us that they really characterize them as characters, in several scenes they change but are only montajes and if that counts as development would be a very fast. The protagonist (Hana) first is said to be a good girl but what really deals and is the main theme of the movie is to be a strong woman but as I said it is a one-dimensional character of which is not known much and rarely Deepen your personality. Often takes reasons very out of place making her an inconsistent character.
The animation and sound is very complete and I would have to complain. You could say that in some sections it works to understand the scenes. But most of the time is out of place if it does not help much to the movie.
Review in brief: While Wolf Children is soothing and has some interesting ideas, putting more than a little thought into what's happening on-screen can easily throw your mind out of the aesthetic cradle the movie builds as you realize just how silly and simple the whole thing is. Considering the clear effort to make this movie a poignant fantasy about a struggling family, it can safely be said that it’s not trying to be either of those things.
Review in full: I'll start by saying that this isn't going to be the sort of review that's trying to scorn the movie or "expose" it as
being terrible or whatever. Rather it will be an analysis of my own experiences with it, why I had them, what I thought about them, and if you're likely to have similar experiences with it or not.
I won't spoil anything either, though I feel the synopsis at the top of the page does in fact spoil the first third of the movie to a notable degree. Don't read it if you haven't already.
My first viewing of this movie was in a group. As the movie started, me & my friends came to expect something charming yet emotionally serious in large part due to how much the early scenes suggested this. Indeed, the entire movie has a rather calm atmosphere about it (even during more dramatic moments) thanks to the tranquil art style and soundtrack.
However, there is a certain event early on that will likely make or break the movie for you depending on how you look at it. I won’t spoil it here because I believe witnessing it spoiler-free is an integral part of the intended viewing experience, but it’s suffice to say that it’s the first key event in the plot; it’s what allows the rest of the movie to happen at all. If you don't think about it too much you'll likely see it as an unusual yet romantic scene, but if you apply what you've been told so far about werewolves and how they work in this story then it can easily lead to a number of major questions as to how and why it's happening like this.
As the movie goes to the next few scenes, it takes on more of a "slice of life" approach to things, only with time-skips that can jump over a year or more of time. If you've been taken into the movie’s aura of calmness it will flow along smoothly, but if you've already begun asking questions (as my friends and I had been) then two things will become apparent: the answers the movie suggests don't line up with what's actually been said and the "slices" of life are more like rough chunks considering the time-skips. In essence, a visible split between the story and its presentation appears.
At this point the entire group I was in had lost our suspension of disbelief, thanks to our questions and the unfitting answers we found. For a short while the movie's calmness began making people dose as they lost interest, until we started joking at the events & dialogue to follow. We weren't watching Wolf Children anymore, rather it had become Wolf Children Impromptu Abridgment. I had to re-watch the movie later to analyze it seriously, but the damage had been done.
The movie would continue it's slow yet jumpy "chunks of life" approach for much of its remainder, and while the idea was interesting, the execution never brought said idea to its fruition in either of my viewing experiences. Aside from Hana & Yuki (who were flawed, but in an appreciable & human way) the characters didn't receive much development, and some of their reactions to important events were jarring in the sense that they weren't very realistic reactions for the characters involved. The movie doesn’t attempt to explain why a werewolf would decide that the downtown of a major Japanese city is an acceptable hunting ground, or why a child’s claim that they were attacked by a wolf inside a school (what with wolves being extinct in Japan) wouldn’t raise serious questions. Doing so would only point out how poorly thought-out these events are. The result is a sense that everyone is either exceptionally shallow or somewhat crazy.
I wouldn't say it was the story's fault per se, but rather the plot as it was executed. In a story focusing on people growing up and deciding how they feel about the world and their place in it, the plot’s emphasis was not put on the characters but rather the events they found themselves in. There’s a word for this type of plot; melodrama, and while I’d argue that melodrama is simply a tool that has a distinct purpose in storytelling, Wolf Children is a stark example of its overabundance and misuse in the modern day. The beauty of the visuals and the fitting & tranquil music tie into this, and are easy to get lost in, but if you think about it for more than a few moments while it's all happening then the detachment between story and presentation becomes clear, leaving you with something pretty yet bland.
Verdict: If you are the sort of person who can shut off your brain, then this movie will take you away to a whimsical place. If you can't (or refuse to) stop thinking, then you may see this place for the well-painted box it really is, and your questions won't reveal all that much outside of it. As the latter, I can’t say I enjoyed Wolf Children at all, despite the obvious effort made by its producers to be more than a simple box. If you're the former, then you may find much more enjoyment in this piece, but true substance will remain absent.
Honestly, I'm really sad to see high ratings of this movie. Both for the industry and its audience.
Wolf children is bland, unrealistic narrative with some very frustrating messages wrapped all the way up (have sex with a wolf, give birth at home, loose your man and ultimately embrace life in the pastoral wilderness to accomplish mission of raising children, because y'now that what single young mother from colleague is expected to do). Social engineering in its most uninventive and very untalented form.
Please, anime, don't do full-length theater format if you only have end-products like Wolf Children to show. It is very disappointing and shameful for