Anime Review #6: Wolf Children (Spoiler-Free)

Anime Title: Wolf Children おおかみこどもの雨と雪 “Ookami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki”
Production Studio: Madhouse Studios, Studio Chizu
Director: Mamoru Hosoda
Composer: Takagi Masakatsu
Release Date: July 21, 2012
Running Time: 1 Hour 57 Minutes + English Dub
Genres: Fantasy, Drama, Slice of Life

If you had the choice between being a wild animal, able to carve your own freedom in nature, or a human, bound by society, what would you choose? This question that I just brought forth is answered in this beautiful coming of age story about a single mother who has to take care of two children that are faced with this decision in life.

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~Story 10/10~
The story of Wolf Children is a fairly simple yet elegant one. Being about a single mother who is put in a position of having to raise two children on her own, the thing that sets this story apart from most others is how these children have the ability to transform into wolves. It is up to the mother to find answers on how to raise these children on her own, whether it be by the means of moving to the countryside in order of avoiding the chance of being discovered in public or by educating them by the means of drawings in a sketchbook and telling them to recite a chant “I’m gunna be a little girl/boy all the way home” while at school so they don’t transform during class. However as time progresses the two children decide what paths they want to take in life.

My personal thoughts on this story is how I believe that it should be watched by everyone who has either raised, raising, or aspires to raise a child one day. The amount of realism portrayed in this movie helps to keep the viewer grounded in the narrative, keeping you laughing one minute and crying the next. The story itself is by no means original, but it is an interesting spin on the “raising a child” type of movie.

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~Characters 10/10~
This movie focuses around a mother (Hana) and her two children (Yuki and Ame).

Hana starts off at the beginning of the movie at the age of nineteen college student who soon meets the man of her dreams, named Ookami. Ookami later on in the movie decides to reveal his true self to Hana and she undeniably accepts him for who he is. These two later decide to have kids, and one event led to another that rendered Hana to soon become a single mom who is left to raise the two children on her own. Hana is the type of character that will go out of her way to do whatever she can to give her children the best life possible. She is willing to move to a rural area and learn how to plant crops for the first time, while also was working diligently to repair the torn up house that she had purchased. Hana is kind-hearted and is not afraid to admit to her children that she doesn’t know how to do everything, and it is this aspect of her personality that makes me want to aware her with the “Best Mother in Anime” award.

Yuki is the oldest of the two children and is the narrator of this movie. Yuki is very energetic and outgoing girl, she isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty and roll around in the mud. In her childhood years she loved to be the center of attention and tended to throw tantrums when everything didn’t go her way. While growing into her kindergarten years she always wanted to become someone she that was not. During the movie Yuki was willing to stand up and defend her brother Ame whenever he was getting bullied at school.

Ame is the youngest of the two children in the movie. Ame is extremely shy and fearful during his childhood years. He is the type of child who would always stick to their parents like a magnet and would rather stay in his current situation where he is most comfortable, in a sense he is the “I want to go home” type of child. During his elementary years he was always the kid who would get bullied and ultimately always got in trouble at school and being sent home hallway through the school day became the norm.

The thing that makes this movie stand out among others is how overtime the viewer is able to witness these children’s view on life take a complete 180°. This occurs around the age of ten. When the two children end up deciding on their path on life. It is with this drastic change in personality that is both stunning and extremely realistic for most children going through their teenage years. Since these children are also wolves, they naturally mature at a far faster rate than more other children. I love seeing the two break out of their shells and find a path in life.

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~Music 9/10~
This soundtrack is absolutely breathtaking at times. The thing that stands out in this OST the most is how it is specifically placed in different scenes to not only set the tone but also amplify it as well. Whether it be a slow and elegant song like “Meguri”, or an fun and adventurous song like “Yonhon Ashi no Odori”, or even a childish like song such as “Taiyou Wo Motta Hi”. This selection of music is very well put together, and some of the songs are upgraded versions of other songs in the soundtracks to match as if how the children are maturing, so is the music. If you were to ask me what my favorite song was from this soundtrack, my response would be “Yonhon Ashi no Odori”.

As for the Ending Theme “Okaa-san No Uta” by Ann Sally. My thoughts on this song is that is made in a way to feel sort of nostalgic. It gives me shivers whenever I hear it while also being reminded of how far those two children have changed over time and how quickly time has flown by. It is the ultimate feels trip of a song that can make me think back of not only these children’s past but also my own and how far I have come.

~Art/Animation 10/10~
I am going to go straight forward and say how every single still frame of this movie could be considered a work of art. The detailing in this movie’s BluRay version is absolutely breath-taking. If you were to take the time, you would notice how every single brick, flower, tree, rock, tile, and blade of grass all have a unique yet detailed design to them.

As for the art style it is simple yet elegant, the character design is a more flat tone to it. When the backgrounds are a moving piece of art. It is a very difficult detail to describe but instead of explaining, how about I show you? At the bottom of this review you will see multiple different examples of what I am trying to explain. And all of these photos are of screenshots that I personally took while watching the movie.

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~Final Thoughts~
If anyone was unaware, this was my first time watching this movie and that was just a week before this review was even made. Whenever I think back at this movie, I want to just watch it over and over and over again. This movie just so happens to have hit every single note for me. Whether it be for: my love of children, living in the mountains, or by relating myself towards Ame. This movie just happened to hit all the right notes to not only peek my interest, but also drag me into the movie and allowing me to watch a long time lapse of someone else’s life.

Personally the thing that amazed me the most about this movie is the extremely complex yet simplistic directing choices that were made for this film, and the way how this movie is the ultimate definition to the term “Show Don’t Tell”. The best example of “Show Don’t Tell” in this movie is how not once is the word “love” mentioned. But instead of saying that Hana loves her children, the movie portrays it in a way of showing us many different ways in how she does in fact love her children. Some of these examples is how she is willing to move to the countryside, warn her children of the dangers if they turned into wolves in front of others, and even by just repairing the house and planting a garden.

If you want to see one example of many brilliantly directed scenes in this movie, then click here to see a more in-depth analysis of how this movie used the famous Later Tracking Shot.

This movie has always been sitting on my Plan To Watch list, but I just never got to it until now. And boy am I glad that I finally decided to give it a shot. I am awarding this movie my second ever 10/10 rating, and has positioned itself into my #2 favorite anime of all time. I can’t express this enough, if you haven’t seen this movie yet. Stop whatever you are doing and go watch it. Also, this movie is a great way how to introduce your family into anime.

Side Note: This movie’s English Dub is one of the best that I have ever seen.

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~Similar Anime Recommendations~
Barakamon, Girl Who Leapt Through Time, & Usagi Drop (which you can find my review of here)

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~Upcoming Review~
Stay tuned next week when I review another movie that I’ve been sleeping on for awhile, Princess Mononoke.

~Screenshots~
As promised, here is a large selection of beautiful screenshots that I took while watching this movie.

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31 Comments Add yours

  1. This a beautiful movie that people can enjoy regardless of whether they like anime or not. If it had been made by Studio Ghibli I am sure it would have gotten an Oscar nomination. Hana is a great mom that faces life’s challenges with a smile.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I need to watch this movie badly

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes you really need to. It’s such an excellent movie.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I should watch this again only to see the animation more.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. crimson613 says:

    I’ve watched this movie SO.MANY.TIME. and I always smile laugh cry and just live with these characters! I was so sad and upset at what happened to the dad and seeing how Hana didn’t let this stop her is what made me love her, just everything that she does for Ame and Yuki is amazing.

    This is also a good movie if your family (like mine) isn’t fluent in English. My parents don’t generally like cartoons because they’re wordy but there are some that just have so much expression and context that they can follow along well. One of my family’s favorite and only anime that we can all watch without become disinterested (parents)

    And as a side note both the english and sub are amazing. I tend to watch sub but I also ‘watched’ this at work. I had the dub playing and it didn’t make me feel like something was off. The cast really brought the characters alive just as much as the japanese cast xD

    Love the detail you put into all this, ah~ you’ve given me a post idea lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you enjoyed the review.

      If you were wondering I currently am following a schedule of releasing one new review every saturday (even if it means me writing the review the day of release, like I did with this review and ZnT’s review…).

      Liked by 1 person

  5. shiroyuni says:

    ‘Best Mother in Anime Award’ indeed 🙂 Its hard to find any other anime that focuses on and shows this so poignantly.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. LitaKino says:

    Awesome review was very enjoyable to read and looks like you have found your writing flow hehe 🙂 I love this movie so beautiful yet sad….

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This movie is one of my favourite movies in anime.Great direction by Hosoda,A good story makes this movie a formidable piece of art.Great writing on your part makes this review even more sweeter to read.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks 😀

      I take pride in almost all of my reviews and strive to make them all as spoiler free as possible. That way I dont alienate anyone, but it also gives people the chance to introduce a show that they may have never though of watching or even heard of before *cough* Bartender *cough* .

      but yeah, my reviews take awhile to write but they are the most fun to write if i enjoy the series at hand.

      Like

      1. Pro Tip: Listening to Nagi no Asukara’s OST while blogging, is the best way how to stay focused on the task at hand… Also it’s really great music.

        Like

      2. I will next time,i normaly listen to Beethoves moonlight sonata.Music is truly a good way to get you do thing effitivly.Thanks for advice.And sorry for my sloppy english lol:.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. In comment sections it’s fine. But in blog posts, you really need to work on it.

        Like

      4. Just read my comment I wrote on your grimgar blog post.

        Like

  8. I cant see your comment is it bug of some kind?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Can you post it on my new post?

        Like

  9. Arria Cross says:

    Oh wow. You gave this anime a “perfect” rating. I’ve been wanting to watch this for a long time now, but I don’t normally watch a lot of anime films, so it’s been on my backlog for quite a while now. Anyhow, I really like how organized your review is. Perhaps my only issue is the lack of spoilers—I LOOOOOOOOOOOVE spoilers, but oh well. Nice post. Thanks for submitting it to my blog carnival. And oh, just curious. Did you watch this in dub only or did you watch the original Japanese audio as well?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dub!!!!! The dub is SOOOO GOOD!

      Wolf Children is one of only two anime that I’ve ever given a 10/10. The other being a show called Rainbow: Nisha Rokubou no Shichinin, which is kind of similar to Shawshank Redemption.

      Also I purposely make my reviews spoiler-free so I don’t alienate anyone from reading my reviews. Also I like making my reviews not only a review but also a recommendation…especially for the lesser known series like Bartender, TM 8.0, and Usagi Drop (all great reviews and shows).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Arria Cross says:

        I see. Well, good to know. When I’m in the mood to watch an anime film, this would be my priority. The other one will be Miyazaki’s “The Wind Rises”. I’ve been putting them off for quite a while in favour of series.

        Aw. That’s fine. I’m not criticizing your reviews being spoiler-free. I just personally LOOOOOOOOOOOVE spoilers, and use them liberally whenever I write my posts. I loved Usagi Drop. I finished the manga, as well. It kind of turned into a forbidden romance in the end, so I was a bit disappointed after watching the adorable and warm-hearted family-themed anime series.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Also I suggest you watch this movie in the highest possible quality you can. Honestly I believe it’s well worth purchasing the BD of Wolf Children, which you can find on amazon for only $20.00

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Arria Cross says:

        No problem. I like watching my anime films in my big-a– TV. Especially since most films are of higher animation quality than the regular series shown on TV.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Just look at that slide show at the bottom to see why you should watch it in BD quality.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Kapodaco says:

    Aside from a few grammar errors here and there, a decent post. Well done. I’ll be sure to watch this sooner or later.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks 😀

      I try to spot all of my grammar errors before I post but I can never get them all :/

      Like

      1. Kapodaco says:

        Would you like me to point them out?

        Like

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