If you can get past that one little scene towards the start of the movie, the story forms a great ride that is enjoyable from beginning to end. It makes you cry and laugh with the characters and sigh every time the kids behave like……….well………..kids.
After reading,watching and bashing numerous young adult fantasy romance story, we finally have one that follows the female lead after she has achieved her happily ever after with her hunky dory werewolf or as known in this case as ‘wolf man’. From acclaimed director Mamoru Hosoda who was responsible for movies like ‘the girl who leapt through time’ and ‘summer wars’, comes a fairytale, not about how an angsty teenager achieves her life long dream of landing a vampire/werewolf boyfriend, but the story that follows after.
!9 year old Hana meets and falls in love with a tall dark stranger in college and ends up having kids with him. In a twisted turn of events, she ends up raising her two children all by her self. The movie follows Hana as she tries to do the impossible, raise two children who can’t decide whether to be wolves or human
Though the anime picks up stereotypical characters for the story, their all but extraordinary behaviour is what lends beauty to this fairy tale. Other than being the partner of a werewolf, Hana is your regular college student, from a not so affluent background, trying to make a living in a bustling city. The fast moving characters moving in the background form the perfect backdrop to highlight the slow and mellow story of the protagonist. Ookami no kodomo.. maintains a perfect balance between drama and romance. It does not rely on mushy encounters or any fluffy conversations to show the dedication of both Hana and Ookami Otoko towards each other. Two people meet , fall in love, and despite being an unconventional couple,( though given the pop culture today, its probably very hip to have a supernatural creature for boyfriend), and get married, I think…
But thats when the real story begins. They are forced to hide the knowledge of having kids (which, trust me readers, is no spoiler) from everyone and raise them in secret. But life isn’t easy for Hana. Ookami otoko or wolf man dies on a hunting trip and she is forced to raise them alone turning her into a one of a kind soccer mom. It might make me sound obnoxious, but hey, your kids double as your pets, thats gotta be fun right? Hana is challenged in every possible way, and has to deal with her herself. But despite everything, her kids stick with her and somehow the three make it through.
The characters are brilliant.
Realistic and fantastic at the same time. On one side Ame and Yuki are werewolves and on the other they are children. They are unable to control their transformations and switch between the two forms as their emotions dictate them. One of the best things about the characters in this movie is their freedom to choose their path. Hana is the only one who acts in response to a situation. The kids on the other hand, act as they please. The audience is roped into having fun with them when they play around and have their hearts catching in their throats when they hurt themselves playing. Ame and Yuki are kids acting as kids and that has the viewers fawning over the adorable characters.
Born on a snowy day and hence named Yuki, the female ookami no kodomo starts out as a naughty and nice brat who loves ‘bringing down the house’, sometimes literally. She loves messing around and exploring her wolf side. She is brave and doesn’t think once before running off into the unknown and trying out her wolf skills on other animals. But with age comes a certain sense of maturity and also the human desire to fit in. Yuki joins school after much begging and pleading but soon realises that most girls dont play like animals do. She tries to mingle amongst her human friends more and starts suppressing her wolf side. She chooses the path of humans.
Ame, a stark opposite of his sister, started out as a shy kid, afraid to embrace his wolf life for fear of being condemned and hated by other humans. Born on a rainy day and hence named Ame, he is a child of observation. His curiosity about wolves however, puts him at odds with others which makes him take the path of a wolf life. His yearning to learn more about everything takes him to the jungle where he eventually leads the rest of his life.
Hana, the one who started it all. My opinion about her as been conflicting since the beginning of the movie. I feel like lecturing her about the consequences of settling down with a werewolf, oh wait she already did that. Why would a girl who is barely making a living out of a part time job along with paying for college open her home to a guy she met days ago. What was that chick thinking? In contrast, I feel like applauding her to accept a man who was as lonely as her and daring to start a life with him.
Hana is a woman of strong character who smiles in the face of adversity and shoulders her responsibility towards her children. Her tribulations throughout the movie makes your heart ache for her and cheer the small family of three on. Their innocence wins the heart of all character they interact with.
The animation quality in this movie plays the trick of not being perfect and hence giving off the impression of being artsy. The characters in the background are not give much attention nor developed enough to have any recognisable similarity to human anatomy. This highlights the main characters and is helpful in keeping the viewer attention on the character concerned. Unfortunately, being titled wolf children, one may expect the movie to pay a little more attention to the scenery and the dramatization of other animals and the kids’ interaction with these animals.
The sound in the movie makes for a beautiful background mood for the movie. Numerous reviews state this as being something that ‘generated feelings of motherhood in them’, (well at least the women stated so). Though they repeat a single opera-like track throughout, it seems to work. The entire aura of the movie make you sympathise with Hana and feel protective towards the children.
Wolf children is a fairy tale, quite literally. It has fictitious characters who tell you a heart warming story and disappear as soon as they came. But, the ending was a little disappointing in my opinion. For someone who dedicated everything in life to her kids, to spend the larger part of her life without them is a huge sacrifice. I would have liked to see the children grow up and deal with the supernatural/animalistic aspect of their lives. It seemed hurried to get the ookami no kodomo to make their decisions about choosing a human or a wolf life right in their early teens. Of course that would require an entire series, which would make wolf children lose its charm.
Like Hana puts it at the end :’raising those kids has truly been a fairytale’
What I wouldn’t give to see this ending.
Authour’s note: This is my first time writing a review on an anime movie, so the format is different from a series review and I am still trying to figure out ways to present it.