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Mar 26

Movie March – Wolf Children Ame and Yuki

Once upon a time, far far away

If that titles sounds familiar, it’s because Anicom showed this film earlier in the year. The latest piece from Mamoru Hosoda, director behind the superb Girl Who Leapt Through Time (not to be confused with Girl Who Leapt Through Space, completely different thing) and later Summer Wars, expectations were through the roof. And then we found out it was a film about… furries… There was no way Hosoda could pull this one off, right? Well, if you saw it you’ll have made your own opinions on it, but here’s my take on the plight of Ame, Yuki and their mother.

The story begins when Hana, the mother character meets the father character during one uni class (I don’t think he’s ever refered to by name), and ends up chasing him down afterward. The two bond and get to know each other and we watch them become closer and closer until he reveals he has a secret to show, that being he’s a werewolf. But Hana is able to accept that, leading to the two becoming intimate, and we see a montage of their happy life as she becomes pregnant with their child. Thus Yuki is born, and a year later comes Ame.

It’s at this point the story decides to deliver a cruel twist, as their father dies for unknown reasons, and due to the half-human half-dog nature of her children, she’s forced out of her small city apartment and into the great outdoors.

The story shifts at this point to what it always wanted to be about, the upbringing of Ame and Yuki, and how Hana copes with it all. If you’re expecting action or high drama here, you’d better look elsewhere, as besides a few wolf scraps this is strictly focused on the raising of wolf kids.

Ooh, ooh, I know, I know!

We see joyful runs through snow and rain, we see the kids struggle to fit in and find their place in life, and we see the struggle Hana has to keep life going for them while maintaining the secret of her children. Or are they offspring?

Talking of Hana, you really warm to her over the film. Given the life philosophy of always keep smiling by her father, she manages to throw herself into whatever needs doing, be it home repairs, tending a farm, knitting a dress, looking after her kids when they’re sick (where would you take them, afterall). You almost never see her with a stern look on her face, and its that attitude which helps her kids flourish under the best possible circumstances.

Hana is probably the best mother figure I’ve ever seen in any piece of media

And of course, at heart that is who the film is about. Yuki, a year older than her brother, starts off as a tomboy, always eager to explore and play, to devour whatever new sites she sees and push the limits of what she can do. Ame, however, is more frail and prefers to stick close to his family, regularly seen clinging to them and never wanting change or surprise in his life.

But of course they can’t remain so young forever, so we see them grow up into their early teens, dealing with the horrors of school and life in the real world. Yuki goes on to embrace her human side while Ame gets more and more in touch with the natural world around him, at complete odds to the kids they used to be. You see them evolve and eventually fly the nest, as Hana reflects on how fast it all seemed to go.

Why am I welling up goddamnit

There’s a billion things that happen over the course of the 13 years this movie takes place over, obviously, but that would be somewhat spoiling the experience. And it’s those experiences that make this movie such a feelgood production, even at the moments where you’re welling up.

What also helps is some neat visuals, but even more so is the soundtrack. It’s utterly phenomenal, and is especially well showcased in the montages the film loves, always fitting the mood to a tee and helping the overall production be that much more than it already was.

I feel by this point my thoughts on this film should be clear, but just in case, let me say this. The Wolf Children Ame and Yuki is the best animated film I’ve seen. It’s another step up from Summer Wars, which was already superb, and proof that Hosoda is going to be an all-time legend among anime directors. If you’re not some narrow-minded weeaboo who needs an upskirt shot or terrible joke every five seconds, you’ll see this film in the same beautiful light I do.

You owe it to yourself to see this. Thank you Mamoru Hosoda. It been a long time since I shed a tear over animation.

They even fit in a Monty Python reference. If that doesn’t sell you, you’re a heartless sod.

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The 100th blog post! No movie this Friday, you’ll see why then, but there’s one more review to come on Monday. But hey, maybe you’ve seen all this and want to write an article yourself? Perhaps you’re watching a show over Spring and want to join in on the recap action? Well then, get in touch! Be it me, Reaf or one of the committee, let us know. Or you could tweet us, or write on the Facebook, or post on the forums! Whatever you do, be sure to let people know the blog’s updating regularly again, and I’ll see you back on Friday, cool? Cool.