Film Review: Wolf Children
Reviewer: Olen Bjorgo
Valentine’s Day, that holiday where couples can be lovey-
Pictured: The objects of absolute love and adoration.
Wolf Children is a sweet, tender film written and directed by Mamoru Hosoda (The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Summer Wars) about a young woman named Hana who has to raise her wolf children, Yuki and Ame, without her mate who had died after a hunting accident. On paper it’s your typical story of a single mother that has to endure trial and tribulation to raise her kids alone, and how they grow up into their own people in time, and how a mother’s love is sacrificial, but the film itself is so much more than that; it’s beautiful in every sense of the word.
Just try not to dwell on how much this character resembles a lupine version
of Bambi’s dad. You’re welcome.
Mr. Hosoda, whom many have likened to the legendary and renowned animator and director
Hayao Miyazaki, strikes again with animation and scenery that is simply sublime.
From the crowded streets of Tokyo, that change through the weather and seasons of
the year, to the rural countryside that Hana goes to raise her children in for fear
that the city is a dangerous place for their secret to be discovered, each area brings
its own beauty, but none more so than the scenic country, filled with wide green
fields, farm land, lush forests, and an imposing mountain that stands over the small
village like an ever-
The soundtrack for the film is very much on the soft side, with an emphasis on violin
and piano all throughout. The most bombastic and fast-
The story is told in such a way that Twilight wishes it had even half this film’s maturity and genuine emotion. The love between Hana and her mate is most similar to the opening minutes of Pixar’s Up in that there is very little said, but we see the passage of time and the love build between them as they start their family and life as a couple. We see the reluctance of Hana’s mate not showing what he is and how Hana still loves him, how they fear being discovered and give birth to the children in their small apartment in case the children came out as wolf pups instead of human babies, the heartbreaking tragedy of when her mate is found dead, the fear of raising two rambunctious children who can’t control their abilities, and the difficulties of being in a modern society that couldn’t accept them. There is love and tenderness, but we also see that it’s not a cakewalk or perfect, and there is genuine struggle. The passage of time is shown through imagery of seasons changing, notches on a post that show growth as they age, the classrooms that shift down the hall that increase in grade level, years of life and struggle shown in small bursts that tells us so much by saying so little. If there’s one thing that Wolf Children does best with its story, it’s to show and not tell.
No, really. This may look comical at first, but put yourself in her
position for a moment. …Your eyes just widened a little, didn’t they?
As always, Funimation has produced a wonderful dub with a good cast of folks. The
usual suspects that any fan of them can catch appear, as well as some folks I hope
to hear more from in the future. Colleen Clinkenbeard (Princess Jellyfish, Space
Dandy) plays the kind and ever-
And finally, there are the titular wolf children, Yuki and Ame, each played by two
different actors for different times in their lives. Yuki is played by Lara Woodhull
(One Piece, Deadman Wonderland) as a child, and by Jad Saxton (Future Diary, Fairy
Tail) as a teenager and adult; Woodhull gives Yuki a cranky and high-
And puberty just gets all around awkward…er.
The film is just engrossing, visually and emotionally, with its animation and atmosphere despite being a predictable story, and that is more of a credit to Mr. Hosoda as a director and writer. To give you an idea of what I mean, this movie made me cry. Maybe I can only speak for myself, but any movie that can do that, even if I know what’s coming, deserves any accolades it gets. Is it a good Valentine’s Day film? Well, I did this mostly as a joke because of the full moon, but this would be more appropriate for Mother’s Day if there had to be a holiday to watch it on. Or it would be an amusing gift for any mothers that will be having children in November (thanks Mom!), but the father watching might be a bit nervous. No matter when you see it, you need to do yourself a favor and watch this whenever you can because it truly is worth seeing. Even if you don’t love animated films, you might enjoy this. If you enjoyed Summer Wars, you will enjoy this. Wolf Children cannot be recommended enough.
Atmosphere & Experience: 10
Director: Mamoru Hosoda
Producer: Yuichiro Saito
Studio: Studio Chizu/ Madhouse
Release Date (U.S.): June 25, 2012
Release Date (E.U.): June 25, 2012
Release Date (JP): July 21, 2012
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