At a Funimation panel at Ohayocon 2015, I was introduced to this movie called Wolf Children. The preview made me remember this movie for later, when I bought it at the Otaku Flea Market at this year’s Colossalcon. I paid maybe $15 for the Blu-ray of it. Upon further review, I probably should have had to pay $50 for a film this good.
Here’s the most amazing thing about Wolf Children: there’s constant conflict, yet there’s no antagonist. How is that even possible? You can’t have a good show without any conflict; even a slice-of-life show has some conflict, and those without conflict of any sort are the rarities like Lucky Star. Here in this movie, you constantly are feeling the struggles of each character, yet there’s no one to hate. That’s what makes this movie amazing in my mind.
Wolf Children is the story of a woman named Hana, who falls in love with a man who is actually a wolf. The pair procreate two children who are half-human and half-wolves, and then the real meat of the story happens. I don’t want to spoil anything more than that. And the reason for me not spoiling is a good one. In truly great shows or movies, I never want to spoil a thing, because I want my reader to go out and see it.
The only flaw I see in Wolf Children is that it takes a long time for the plot to get moving. But once it does, your eyes are going to need windshield wipers, because scene after scene will make you tear up. The struggles of Hana trying to raise two half-wolf children are so touching and heartbreaking. The movie doesn’t ever stop, either. Every struggle produces a solution, which produces another struggle, another solution, another struggle, and so on.
Maybe Hana is a little too perfect of a mother. Maybe the plot drags a bit at the beginning. But that moment at the top of a mountain at the very end of the movie… that’s the moment I couldn’t stop the tears any longer. It’s a story about family, a story about community, a story about coming of age, a story about getting older. It’s utterly fantastic. I highly recommend it to all anime fans, especially those who are looking for something touching. This film will not leave you apathetic, that’s for sure!
Overall rating (out of four stars): ****