Sunday, February 2, 2014

Anime Review: Wolf Children

Not much to say this week. My cousin is in town for the next week and apparently between crashing at my Dad's girlfriend's house and hanging out with me and my brothers, he much prefers us so I might have to play host for him at some point during the week. Other than that not much is going on. Which leaves me with no segue into my anime review, so the next sentence is going to flow as naturally as a brick to the frontal lobe. Mamoru Hosoda is somewhat of a rising star in the anime world. After his start as a director for one of the Digimon movies as well as a One Piece movie, Hosoda went on to become what many would consider the next Hayao Miyazaki with such hits as "The Girl Who Leap Through Time" and "Summer Wars." Now with his latest film "Wolf Children" has Hosoda cemented his place among industry legends? Well what do you think the word "Masterpiece" means?

Nothing good happens when it rains in a movie.
Hana had a promising future ahead of her. She does well in her classes, she works hard at her part-time job, and she is well liked by everyone she meets. Then she met a tall handsome man sitting in on one of her classes, and she fell in love. However, that man was a werewolf, able to shift from his human form to his wolf form effortlessly. But Hana loved him all the same and eventually gave birth to their two children, a daughter name Yuki and a son named Ame. Unfortunately, on the day Ame was born, the father died. Now, Hana is left to raise her two children alone, a task hard enough for the single mother without the fact that the children in question are werewolves. Over the next 12 years, all Hana can do is make the sacrifices necessary to ensure her children are happy, and they can make the choice that will dictate their lives: Do you want to live as a person or as a wolf?

Those Twilight wannabes got nothing on me.
It's really hard to describe how good Wolf Children is, as a lot of what the movie does right is all the various subtle things and nuances that pepper the entire movie. I mean, the premise starts out as a Twilight rip-off with the werewolf guy getting the girl, but then takes the movie in a completely different direction with the single mother raising werewolf children concept. After that a lot of the charm the movie has is in the little bits of everyday life of trying to raise children. Moments like the near misses during the terrible twos, throwing tantrums all day long during preschool age, and of course boy troubles during early adolescence. And that doesn't even go into the unique problems of raising werewolves, like the epic decision that you won't even think about unless you where in that position: If my werewolf child is sick do I take her to a pediatrician or a vet? And that's not to mention some of the absolutely stunning cinematography like a time skip montage that is all just a single pan of a classroom hallway.

And you thought normal children where localized disaster zones.
I really have no major complaints about this movie. It is one of the best movies I've seen in a long time (okay, true I don't see that many movies but still). If I have to absolutely find ANYTHING to complain about it's that the pacing is kind of awkward, but I won't hold that against the movie. Pacing will always feel off when watching a movie like this given that stories about everyday life do not have any kind of solid "Beginning," "Middle," and "End" that is associated with traditional storytelling. And even if I was to hold that against this movie, it's such a small complaint that it is not really worth affecting my feelings about the movie. So you pretty much know what my verdict for this film is.

Wolf Children is a treat to watch. If Mamoru Hosoda is the next Hayao Miyazaki, then "Wolf Children" is his "My Neighbor Totoro." It is a fun, charming movie from beginning to end. Though I personally prefer Summer Wars out of all of Hosoda's works I've seen, Wolf Children is an easy second. You have to watch this movie at some point in your life. Wolf Children is a Must Watch!

Until next time.


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