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Wolf Children Review

Updated on July 8, 2017


I've seen how cute this film is, but I had yet to learn how beautiful this film was animation wise.... Plot wise? Well I've been on some crazy emotional rollercoasters, and I'm adding this one to the list. Because man, it gets nuts! It's a good character driven film, and it's loaded with a lot of emotional moments. But let' get into that...

Man, these kids put her through a lot...
Man, these kids put her through a lot... | Source

The Summary....

The story is narrated by Yuki, a "wolf girl" who tells the thirteen years of her mother, Hana, raising Yuki and her younger brother Ame. It starts with Hana meeting Yuki's father commonly dubbed "Okami,"(which means "wolf" in Japanese) in college. After they got acquainted, "Okami," who was introduced as a man, revealed that he could transform into a wolf. Afterwards, Hana and "Okami" marry, before they begot Yuki and Ame. From there after "Okami" dies, Hana takes her children to the country side so they can grow up without society's scrutiny from being "half wolf." And from there, the story plays out like out your just watching characters go through life. Granted there are time skip transitions, but these transitions are seamless, as it relies on the characters going through life, not "because the plot demanded it." Hana becomes a farmer, as we watch her learn how to farm, while Yuki and Ame grow up in different ways. Yuki goes from an aggressive and extroverted girl to embracing her humanity, and becoming somewhat more reserved. Ame goes from a codependent little brother to embracing his wolf side. And Hana...? She tries her darnedest to raise two children who's lineage she knew nothing about. She watches over them, looks after them, works to provide for them, and tries to raise them in a way that the world will accept them. Her efforts pay off as she allows her children to also grow into their own, but man does she go through a lot. Though I'll save my praises for the second segment of this review. But this film ends with Yuki embracing her humanity and Ame ends up embracing his side, while Han accepts the choices her children have made.

I'm sorry to those who are allergic to adorableness.
I'm sorry to those who are allergic to adorableness. | Source
Oh dear God, I regret finding this image as it's loaded with cuteness and feels! Dx
Oh dear God, I regret finding this image as it's loaded with cuteness and feels! Dx | Source
Your eyes aren't deceiving you, that's a fox...teaching a to survive in the wild... Indeed, "what does the fox say?"
Your eyes aren't deceiving you, that's a fox...teaching a to survive in the wild... Indeed, "what does the fox say?" | Source
Wait, does this count as a spoiler...?
Wait, does this count as a spoiler...? | Source

The Positives And Negatives

The Negatives for me are minor, as I found every little to dislike and overall it's inconsequential. But I didn't like the exposition about "Okami's" life prior to meeting Hana. It would've been nice to see his past through animation, especially since the rest of this film's story is told through the animation and character interactions. But my point is Okami's scream time isn't fleshed out in a way that would make his passing tragic for most viewers. Although given that most people follow stories through exposition that might be more effective for some people. Another problem was Yuki's exposition during the early years of Hana raising Yuki and Ame. The scene I'm referring to is when Yuki mentions how demanding of Hana's time Ame was. we don't see her breast feeding him, or how she handled him when he refused to be fed. It's all exposited to us, which strengthened my fear that this entire film would be exposited instead of shown through animation. And after Shamylan's take on The Last Airbender, I didn't want to see an animated film given entirely through exposition...

The positives far outweigh the negatives for me. For starters given the exposition of Okami's life, I thought this film would be narrated instead of letting animation tell the story... Oh boy, was I wrong in that regard, as the majority of this film's story is told through animation. This makes the transition of Yuki and Ame aging work because you watch their interactions with their mother, Hana, along with Hana's interactions with other characters. The interactions and dialogue felt natural as opposed to needless exposition. Saying the animation was beautiful seems obvious at this point, since it had a bigger budget. But what shocked me is that Studio MadHouse, which while MadHouse is good at animation, this was some Miyazaki-level animation. The CGI backgrounds are seamlessly integrated into the film, and are breath-taking in the kinetic scenes.

And then there's Hana... Good lord is this woman a trooper. We watch her raise Yuki and Ame, learn how to plow fields, grow crops, repair her home, and receive help from the other farmers. All of this while being upbeat and optimistic, while learning how to raise children whom's lineage she doesn't know anything about through experience and interaction with those around her. And Yuki and Ame feel like real children as they transition and mature through interacting with their environments, which is how children grow and mature.

But this is how the emotional moments in this film work, because of the genuine nature of these characters, and how it's possible to relate or sympathize with them. The joyful moments feel uplifting and the sad moments feels saddening. I worried and fretted when Ame fell into a stream while catching a bird, and you especially see the stress, strain and labor of Hana's efforts in raising Yuki and Ame. I dare not mention the scenes of Yuki and Ame as children, as they're so adorable in their early years showcasing wolf and human traits. But all of this interactions with the characters culminates in development of Hana,Yuki, and Ame.

No, I refuse to make that one joke that would've been hilarious in 2009...
No, I refuse to make that one joke that would've been hilarious in 2009... | Source
What a splendid moment
What a splendid moment | Source
He looks neat with that scarf.
He looks neat with that scarf. | Source

The Conclusion...

This film is beautiful, but only in the natural structure in the narrative. It's engagement comes from watching the characters naturally grow and develop. What makes this story work is how Hana, Yuki and Ame are "every men," how they go about go through life. Yet at the same time these characters felt unique in their portrayals, especially with Yuki and Ame in the choices they made and paths in life that they took.

It's a good film, and good be a real work of art, but I only recommend it to fans of "slice-Of-life" anime or those open to trying any anime genre.

Wolf Children Official English Dub Trailer

What did you think of Wolf Children?

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