I know that this was released a year ago in both Japan and France; it recently got an English Dubbed for the release for both UK and USA. Mamoru Hosoda is well known for his film on The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006) and Summer Wars (2009); his latest film Wolf Children (2012) pretty much tells a modern day folktale story set in the present day.
Hana (Aoi Miyazaki) a 19-year-old student, who falls in a fairy-tale like love with a wolf man, think of a Japanese version of Beauty and the Beast at the start of the plot. Over the course of the 13-year story Hana gives birth to two children older sister Yuki (Haru Kuroki and Momoka Ono as young Yuki) which translates “Snow”, and younger brother Ame (Yukito Nishii and Amon Kabe as young Ame) which also translates "Rain". At first the family quietly lives in the city trying to hide their wolf heritage from the public, but when the "wolf man" suddenly dies Hana makes the decision to move to a rural town, far from their previous city life.
As they start their new life in their new home away from the city the story really starts to pick up on the family, being a single mother looking after her wolf children and doing pretty much everything from scratch from fixing their roof to farming vegetables. As soon as both Yuki and Ame start to control their changing form from wolf to human, Yuki really wants to go to School and try not to lose her temper by turning into a wolf in front of everyone. And Ame pretty much skips school altogether and ends up learning what it takes to really be a wolf. The animation may feel a little murky but past films made by Mamoru Hosoda where unlike most anime, characters outlines and details are well done and detailed. The style of this is well suited to the kids Yuki and Ame where they can quick change forms to human to wolf. Looking at the expressions and emotions for Hana does for a lack of face expressions at a distance. But the art and backgrounds of the film are very well detailed when it comes to the outdoor environments or even looking at the mountains which gets mentions or seen in the film, plus looking at the expressions and faces on wolves cannot easily be ignored their faces are just cute to look at when it comes to Yuki and Ame.
Yet Wolf Children is still an excellent film which pulls off some great voice acting and some humour added in this is what Hosoda fans would want when it comes to films like these. The stunning animation art and soundtrack will make you feel drawn into that story it might not be as perfect as his last two movies but it’s still a worthy film to check out.
5/5 (5 Stars)
*DVD/Blu-Ray release is December 23rd for UK*