The story begins with the start of the eponymous wolf children’s parents’ love, and progresses through births, deaths, moves, the first day of school, and their growth into adults. The story is almost too ordinary, but in its normality, its moments are universal. One can’t help but stare in awe at the beauty of life as it happens, and be reminded of the beauty of one’s own mundane yet special lives. The art is also quite something. Tokyo’s bustling life is reduced to warm glows of winter, and the Japanese farms and countryside is rendered beautifully whether it be in rain, sun, or snow. Watch it. It’s not of the same scale as Hosoda’s previous Summer Wars or The Girl Who Leapt through Time, but it packs an emotional punch
Braving possible societal prejudice, the young lovers have two children – Yuki and Ame. Unfortunately Hana has to raise them all by herself. Being a single mother is tough enough, let alone raising two special kids who are so different from others. Like Hosada’s previous works, this film has fantastic and unique character designs; that aim more to realism and art-house scene than traditional anime designs. The story is very heartwarming and cute as time goes on, there are some dark parts that become very heart wrenching. There’s some very distinctive Ghibli influence in this piece of work, But I’m glad Hosada takes to his own territory. To some viewers it maybe a little too long running at almost at 2 hours. But overall its a superb anime film even if your familiar with Hosada’s other films or not Wolf Children is great and must be seen.
For the most part the story is done quite well but at times some problems shows. The first one being that Ame, the boy wolf, comes of as insensitive, egoistic and very unlikable person. It’s not that easy to write characters that want reject their humanity but this just didn’t really work at all. Another problem was the first part of the Wolf Children, where the mother met the father. It’s fairly rushed and I really needed more out their relationship than montages and few scenes of brooding. And less we speak about the father’s death, the better it will be. To put it simply, it’s terribly done and just comes out of nowhere and leaves no impact on the audience. As Yuki ages and tentatively learns to trust those that aren’t her mother, Ame quietly retreats from the world and accepts a destiny inconceivable to his loving mother, who in turn struggles to stand by her promise to let her children live free from parental repression.
Mamoru Hosoda knows how to show and tell story well while being mature and both accessible for the younger audiences. It’s slightly more adult than Summer Wars with scenes of brief nudity and some adult themes going around. I saw Wolf Children in Japanese with English subtitles and the voice acting was good as you might expect. No huge standouts, just quality work all round the place. With deliberate pacing and thoughtful composition that allows feelings to swell as we watch cobwebs in the rain or waterfalls on the mountains, Mamoru Hosoda’s deeply moving and astoundingly contemplative work touches on the fleeting nature of life. Though devastating and gut-wrenching, the process of love, family and eventual moving on is considered a thing of beauty and something to be appreciated during the brief moments for which it lasts.