Wolf Children is one of the first anime films I can remember watching.
I was part of a youth group where we spent a night watching films and Wolf Children was one of them.
I remember it as a moving experience so, when I saw it for sale at an Armageddon Expo, I naturally bought it to relive the happy memories.
Directed by Mamoru Hasoda, Wolf Children opens by showcasing the romance between college student Hana (Aoi Miyazaki) and a self-isolated but kind man (Takao Osawa), who turns out to be a Wolfman, although calling him a werewolf would not exactly be accurate.
From this point, we get a montage of their relationship that reminds me a lot of the opening minutes of the film Up.
Sadly, just like in Up, Hana and the Wolfman’s romance ends in tragedy, leaving Hana to take care of their two titular Wolf Children Yuki (Haru Kuroki and Momoka Ono) and Ame (Yukito Nishii and Amon Kabe).
Being a single mother would be hard enough but Hana having to raise kids who are part wolf is on an entirely different level.
Nevertheless, Hana perseveres and strives to protect her children while giving them happy lives.
As a result, she is a highly relatable character with the audience being on her side throughout.
Likewise, Yuki and Ame go through a lot of development, which causes them both to end up in completely different places compared to how they started out.
Watching these three characters grow, both together and apart, as a family makes for plenty of heartwarming and heartbreaking scenes.
The emotional weight of these scenes is helped by the fantastic music and animation.
Although, while the animation is mostly great, whenever there is a long shot with the characters in the distance their faces will pretty much disappear.
There is also an incredibly cringey moment at the beginning of the film that hints at bestiality, which I did not need to think about.
Other than these two specific problems though, Wolf Children is still the same moving film I remember seeing all those years ago.
Hana’s struggles in raising her children continues to be a heart warming tale about love, loss and letting go, and I highly recommend it.