Review: Wolf Children
Ookami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki (The Wolf Children Ame and Yuki)
An anime produced by Madhouse. Adapted from a Novel and Manga by Hosoda Mamoru
First aired June 2012.
Fantasy, Slice of life.
A review by Garry
At 2 hours long, it must rank as the longest single anime feature I have ever watched, but it is well worth the time invested. As soon as the screen brightened with the first images, I knew I was in for a treat.
The plot is very simple, and there are no elaborate back stories. Girl meets boy, falling in love, and starting their life together as a couple is told very visually with little dialogue. Indeed, the whole film relies on it's visuals and score to impart emotions and story advancement.
The viewer is drawn into the quiet world of Hana, Yuki and Ame so well, that you don't notice that 12 years of life experience have been crammed into just 2 hours. As the title implies, the greatest growth occurs in the characters of Yuki and Ame. The film is very much about them discovering their true natures and how incidents in their lives shape their development.
Yuki starts as a boisterous confident individual who becomes withdrawn and unsure of herself following an incident at school. Ame is at first very shy and almost sickly boy, but he becomes the child who fully embraces his heritage and reaches "adulthood" before his older sister.
As the only other constant character, Hana presents a number of contradictions. Always soft spoken, her demure nature conceals a steely strength that drives her forward. This is first revealed when her patience and determination keeps her waiting all night when her lover appears to have lost courage in their relationship. Her decision to have a home birth. Her determination to raise her children as true to their heritage as she could. Despite all her doubts, she over comes each obstacle as it is presented.
In the early part of the film, the emphasis is on hiding and self reliance. This is contrasted later on with the spotlight shining on the generosity and support that a community can provide.
In itself, the film is an outstanding piece of work that leaves you hungry for more, and there is plenty of room for development if the decision is made produce any more. Hana is only in her early 30s at the end of the film. How will her life change with the children away from home? Will Ame come down off the mountain to see her? As the last of his kind, what companionship can he expect? Will he return to seek a wife?
This review doesn't comes come close to portraying just how much I enjoyed this film. All I can do is urge you to watch it.