Anime: Wolf Children


Wolf Children

 

Wow, talk about anticipation. I have been waiting to watch this movie for the longest time and even more so after reading this wonderful review by Genkinahito. I missed the screening of this in Singapore and have regretted every moment of it. So it was with much trepidation that I finally sat down and watched this movie.

What can I say? Ever since I watched The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, I have been a fan of Hosoda Mamoru. I liked Summer Wars as well and I guess I enjoy his movies because they mix the fantastical with the normal and he does it to great effect. Wolf Children is no different. We have a wolf man, a seemingly fantastical creature that is in no way out of place in this movie.

The movie centers around one theme, that of a mother’s love. It highlights the difficulty of bringing up kids who are different. It shows the sacrifices she had to make, the hardships she had to go through and her determination to stay true to her beliefs of letting her children grow up in an environment that accepts them and allows them to be who they are. Along the same lines, the movie also explores the vastly different personalities and choices her two kids have. It grapples with the fragile balance that exist between parent and child. The balance of when to let the child choose and when to step in and say this should be the way (because mother knows best).

Just under 2 hours, the movie is slow moving, yet packs a lot of story. It takes it’s time in the introduction to really let us understand who Hana is as a person. As the movie progresses, the attachment to Hana begins to grow and her cheerful disposition  her perseverance and her unconditional love for her children shine. She is not the perfect mother, but she definitely love her kids. Much of the focus is on Hana, yet as the children grow and begin to choose their life paths, the movie’s focus shifts slowly to their lives. And oh, what exciting lives they lead.

For Yuki and Ame, the story is not new. The coming-of-age story has been told time and time again, although there’s some new elements in this particular story, it’s not unfamiliar ground. Still, the movie manages to capture the important moments in each child’s lives. The obstacles they faced and the eventual choice that they make.

Everything about the movie is perfect. The score is beautiful, the scenery is breathtaking, the story is poignant and heartwarming. It’s well paced and everything just falls into place easily. The flow of the movie is just right, it’s never too fast, or too slow and there’s always time for the little details that make this movie real. The moments picked to display each character’s life are very apt and that is what makes the movie amazing.

I have to admit, that after watching the movie, I wasn’t wowed. I blame that on all the hype and the expectation. Not to say that the movie wasn’t good, it was, but to some extent I was expecting more. I know the movie is brilliant, my brain tells me that even as I write this, but my heart wasn’t won over. I might have to watch it one more time and really just enjoy rather than judge the movie.

That said, I think this is a movie I would love to watch with my mum (seeing how mother’s day is approaching). She doesn’t appreciate anime and this movie is a great example of how anime isn’t just for kids. The fact that it’s a great movie is definitely a plus as well.

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Comments
3 Responses to “Anime: Wolf Children”
  1. Genki Jason says:

    Wonderful review? Thanks for the kind words :)

    I loved the movie and writing that review was a joy.

    Your review is really good as well. I think you’re comment on expectations is right. I went in with mixed expectations – I loved The Girl Who Leapt Through Time but I found Summer Wars a bit of a let down in comparison. When I watched this I was uncertain but was soon swept away and getting quite emotional at different points. I wanted to stay with the characters but the ending was perfect.

    • everworld says:

      I think your enjoyment of the movie really shone through in the review, which made it such a nice read. And yes, the movie is really emotional.

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