A little heavy at times, but very very good
Absolutely awesome to look at, fits perfectly
The music is excellent; it fits to every part of the show. The dub for this anime is one of the best around
A little cliché at times, but still good
Excellent, but have something light-hearted lined up afterward to watch
I enjoy wolf rain.The story was slow and in the end it was waterfall of feels and the ending blown me away with question that cannot be answers .The animation wasn't that bad just looked old ,then it should be tbh.The character was good but toboe didn't have a back story and was just like toboe was in their so can see some yaoi between them and chiza was only their so she can muruder them.
This review covers both Wolf's Rain and the Wolf's Rain ova.
Wow, I really wasn't expecting to like this series as much as I did. Wolf's Rain is a rather cheesy anime with strange pacing changes and a mediocre plot. But what makes a series work as a whole? The answer to that is easy, it was just enjoyable. The characters, the atmosphere, every little detail was somehow able to hold this anime together.
Let's start with the story. Simply put, it's not that great from a technical standpoint. The story begins with a wolf named Kiba's thoughts about paradise. No one knows exactly what paradise is, but obviously all believe it to be the most most wonderful, perfect place in existence. It is said in the mysterious Book of the Moon that wolves will be the ones to reach paradise. That is what the entire story revolves around, wolves (and people) trying to find paradise. Not exactly the most creative plot, and the execution is a problem as well. Two-thirds of the story is slow, it goes very slow and then after 4 recap episodes (really guys?) the pacing picks up speed. I'll go more into the story later.
The animation quality is quite good. It was made in 2003, so its age is noticable, but it's still pretty darn good. Especially the wolves, the wolves look great and move with amazingly well-done animal anatomy and action. The human characters also look pretty good and all have different, defining features. The backgrounds are detailed and there are not a whole lot of still shots used to waste up time.
The music. My god the music is wonderful. From the rather dated, but still catchy opening "Stray" to the beautiful ending theme "Gravity" to all of the great background music, wolf's rain had a superb soundtrack. There are also many subtle but spot on sound effects, usually more noticable during battles, with splashes of blood, the clicking of guns, and sometimes (like near the end) snapping of bone (ugh, I'll never forget that scene...) being prominent.
Now for the really important stuff. The story, as I said earlier, was problematic. The Book of the Moon and the legend of paradise is not exactly explored in full, nor are the wolves. Most of the anime is about the group of four pretty-boy wolves, Kiba, Toboe, Tsume, and Hige running around to many different places, and the side characters Hub, Cher, Quent, and Blue searching for the stolen flower maiden and the wolves. In a way, the side characters seem unimportent to the main story, as they somewhat end up helping the protagonists, but mostly deter them (Mainly Quent doing this by trying to shoot them.) As someone once said (Don't remember who, sorry.) the anime seems to have side characters just to show that it has side characters. This does not mean that those characters were bad at all, though. Cher was a strong scientist searching for the flower maiden with the persistent Hub following her every step of the way. Their relationship was interesting, as they were torn apart by work and called off the marraige they had planned. Quent was even more interesting with his manic desire to murder every wolf left alive because they killed his family (well... ) along with his trusty dog Blue. As for the wolves themselves, their personalities seem to work well together. Tsume is the tough, hard to convince, city wolf who says he despises humans. Hige is laid back, seemingly careless, and just goes with what goes. Toboe is the little one, the runt, who loves humans and is always positive and working to keep the group together. Oddly enough, Kiba, the main wolf, is the hardest to describe. He seems somewhat cliched, though quite likeable as well. Cheza, the flower maiden, is a strange creature. Born from lunar flowers, they say she is the key to opening paradise. She refers to herself in the third person "this one" and has strange healing abilities. All of the wolves are attracted to her (not sexually though, there is no real romance going on. Even Hub and Cher feel like just an old fling, but one that still tries to hold its roots) and are drawn in to the scent of lunar flower. As for the evil characters, they are certainly well-defined as such. The two main nobles, Lord Darcia and Lady Jaguara, are both after the key to paradise, though they are also working to stop each other. SPOILER The reason for this is later explained by Lord Darcia's love, Hamona, who is basically in a coma due to paradise sickness. END SPOILER
The major problem with the story, as mentioned, was how slow it goes. I love slow-paced animes, but there is a time and place for such pacing. In a drama anime about finding the place of eternal happiness, it seems somewhat out of place. There seemed to be some filler (Definitely the four recap episodes, but I ended up skipping those both times I watched it) especially near the middle. SPOILER The deadly forest with the wierd pointless talking owl, the false paradise Kiba sees in his paralyzed state in the desert, just to name some that I remember. END SPOILER Now, these are not that bad, as far as filler goes, but they break the flow of the anime up a bit. They have some important elements, but could have been done better.
Now the ending. My god, the ending. This seems to be a love it or hate it ending and I absolutely loved every minute of it. No spoilers, but it gets pretty damn tragic. It made me emotional in all four of the last episodes, almost as much as AnoHana did, and that is saying something. It is a happy ending, also a sad ending. Optimistic, but pessimistic. Nothing changes, yet everything changes. Words can't accurately describe what happens: it must be seen. To me it was one of the most amazing endings of any anime, and I could not see Wolf's Rain going out on a perfectly happy "all-is-well" ending at all.
In the opening theme, the line is sung "Stray, no regret 'cause I've got nothing to lose."
That one line sums up the bittersweet journey that is Wolf's Rain.
TL;DR - An interesting but flawed drama anime that holds an atmosphere that seems much more lost and sad, and less filled with fanservice and action than one would expect out of the show. Quite a nice surprise, really.
Have you ever watched a show that played with your heart so much that you actually cried when watching it? This is what happen to me when I watched Wolf’s Rain. Now before I get pegged for saying that it’s the best show ever, that is not the case. While I love most of the concepts and ideas, followed by music and characters, the show does have one or two downfalls that keep me from saying it’s the best. The story is very slow and almost always seems to go one step forward and two steps back in many different places, leaving you feeling like you don’t want to watch anymore once in a while. I warn people that this is not exactly the show you want to be marathoning, especially if you have a tendency for feeling too much for a character or get to involved in the show.
The characters are almost all wonderful and fleshed out with their pasts, and they even explain their pasts instead of saying, ‘go read the manga’ which is good because when it came out, there wasn’t really any manga on the shelf. The manga only got out just as the show was in completion. Something most people don’t get out of the show is that each of the main characters (the wolves anyway) is actually supposed to symbolize a different type of wolf that is actually endangered.
Kiba is an Arctic (Tundra) wolf, a very beautiful white wolf. He is my favorite of the pack for he has a rather strong will about him. He’s proud of his wolf heritage to the point that he hates showing himself as a human though he does to survive. I consider him much more spiritual and idealistic of the wolves for he seems to always look for a reason why he exists. Most of the time, he seems lost in thought and rather disconnected from everyone else except for Cheza whom he stays very loyal to. Now, still I have one or two nit picks about his character. You would think that threw a long series like this, he would grow to trust and change a bit more then he does, but yet near the end, he seems to still be exactly the same as he was in the beginning. The journey doesn’t really change him in any way and I feel it makes him seem like he was a little to perfect.
Tsume is a Gray wolf with a large scar across his chest from his old pack. He’s untrusting of both human and other wolves for much of the series, ready to snap at a moments notice when something happens. He’s always on edge, and with turn away from almost anyone, except Toboe. I can see why there are so many people out there that have paired him up with Toboe in a romantic way for he always seems to be more protective of Toboe then any other. Although I fall into the wishing to god that the romance were there, I can see what actually is there. I believe that Tsume protects Toboe more for the fact of almost protecting his own ‘innocence’ and love that he lost long before the series even started. Toboe being a pup means he never got to deal with the heartache of being betrayed by his pack. He looks at him more like a brother then a lover (Sorry fan girls). In my opinion, Tsume seems to be the one that grows the most out of any of the wolf characters.
Now, speaking of Toboe, he is my second favorite character of the whole show! Toboe is a Red wolf, and the pup of the group. Tsume always calls him the runt because he’s a bit smaller of the group and acts the most immature of times. He had a sort of sheltered life being brought up by a old women he called Granny so he’s rather friendly to people, even trusting them enough to sometimes show what he is. For most of the show, he does act rather whinny and childish, although he grows as the story goes on making him a bit stronger as a ‘person.’ He stops wanting to rely on others and tries desperately to be on his own, though he looks up to Tsume a lot for his strength. Again, people may see this as a romance between the two but I see it more as a little brother looking up to his tougher big brother more.
Hige is a Mexican Wolf who seems to be the most laid back of the group. He’s flirty, eats a bit more then the others considering how chubby he is, and just goes with the flow most of the time. He’s also a rather interesting jokester, being quick to poke fun at a situation. He also doesn’t really change like Kiba, though he does fall in love with someone and gets the reason he needed to protect them.
All I can say about the next wolf is that it’s a black wolf dog but if I said anymore, it would be a spoiler.
Then we come to the main villain of the show, Darcia. He is one of the nobles somewhat responsible with the ‘extinction’ of the wolves. He searches for the flower maiden for his love, Hamona, who was stricken with an illness that her soul was taken to Paradise and she had fallen into a coma. After a while, Darcia is driven insane by the act of wanting to go to Paradise to be with her.
Now, I have one thing to say about the ending, DEPRESSING! And yet I really want more! It may be a spoiler but I want to see what happens after. I wish it had a second season to it or a series that happened after.
The animation is rather beautiful yet dark, keeping a rather steam punk and post apocalyptic look. The animation is pretty fluid, with nothing really being comical. Actually, if it had anything comical in it, it would destroy the feeling of the show. Everything has a gray filter over it and keeps it dark to where sometimes I had to pop up the brightness a tad to see things.
The instrumental is beautiful monotones and almost music box like. It’s gentle and keeps the sad slow tone that the show has within itself. The opening song ‘Stray’ has a rather dreamy like quality that gives it an almost hunting feeling while staying rather energetic. On the other hand, the ending song ‘Gravity’ is a more slow, sad song that has almost a sleepy tone to it. The difference in both of these songs mimics well to how energetic the show is, to how slow it gets in the middle, and then the climax will have you grasping your seat to see what will happen.
The voices in the English dub are awesome! Johnny Yong Bosch perfectly betrays Kiba better then I think most of his other roles in how almost dreamy his voice is. It’s done as though you’re walking in a daydream looking for something but never finding it. On the other hand, Crispin Freeman gives a perfect contrast as Tsume with his rather brash and almost barking attitude. Unsurprisingly, Mona Marshall is the voice of Toboe with his rather childish personality and girly looks and voice. Now, though they play these roles so well, that I didn’t even notice who was playing the characters because I was two into the characters!
Wolf’s Rain (WR) is in effect a well written dark fairy tale around freedom, life, happiness and wolf-huggers. Watching it is a good way to see how different a mainstream show can be and still be entertaining as long as you get in the proper mood. The show helps you as much as it can in that by having appropriate artwork and soundtrack that fits the atmosphere of the story. Most areas are dark and depressing, snow keeps falling, songs and dialogues keep referring to freedom from pain and sadness. Even the main characters being cool wolves that transform to pretty boys is an easy way to keeping watching.
I feel like warning the reader of the mindset he should be in if he wants to fully enjoy the anime. There is a huge fanbase behind it and without proper excuse of WHY you may end up disappointed for getting something you didn’t like. First of all, if you are to enjoy this anime, you should not pay attention to the pacing, which is EXTREMELY slow. Hell, it even has 4 RECAP EPISODES! This is not an issue if you are one of those people who don’t mind watching ten episodes just for something plot related to happen but it will sure feel boring at times if you are a fan of fast plot. So you can imagine how I who belong in the later group felt really bored most of the time. The series could easily be half as long without any problems. The story was not that complicating and the main characters not that many to delve into with further duration.
Another thing is that the story unfolds anyway the scriptwriter feels like it. There is a high dosage of magic and fantasy in it, and there is also a villain with broken powers doing anything he feels like without anyone else being able to do the slightest thing to stop him. The sky can turn pink and you can shit rainbows and it will all be excused in the story as some weird gimmick. If you are a fan of fantasy this is good; if you prefer logic and reasoning WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?
With the above two in mind, now is the time to reveal the core story to you. It is about four wolves who disguise as pretty boys being hunted by everybody in a dying world as they follow their instinct to reach paradise where a flower girl will resurrect everything. Did that make any sense? No but it is a cool concept for a dark fairy tale.
And anyways, 90% of everything in this series is about getting to know its characters, staring at the gloomy backgrounds, and listening to the teen angst filled soundtrack. You might as well not pay attention to the story at all. If everybody would HELP the wolves reach paradise and thus help themselves instead of trying to KILL the wolves which will not help them at all, then the show would be over in an hour tops. Plus having a magical panacea place that Dragonballs the dead back to life and offers happiness and rainbows to everybody is something that takes away all excitement and drama.
It is all about the artistic side of the show, as well as about the emotions it transmits to its viewers. Does it work? Well, if tens of millions of anime fans world wide give 10 to Naruto and Bleach, yeah, sure, it is an awesome show. For me though it is a theater play that lasts twice as it needs as well as having a random storyboard. The action scenes lack realism, the mysterious villain does anything he likes no matter how hard it is, the wolf guys evade dozens of bullets, and so on and so on.
The cast is definitely interesting, both colorful and developed, having a purpose and a goal and something to leave behind and something else to look forward to in their lives. Having wolves disguised as bishis is a double win because kicking puppies and drooling over pretty boys never fails to sell. The thing is, nobody is actually fully fleshed out and eventually just follows a one-track mindset. All the wolves spend the show jus looking for paradise, all the Nobles spend the time looking for the wolves, that investigator is just looking for the mysterious villain, and so on. It eventually makes them all feel as nothing but plot devises, while the finale is just as overblown as possible to make them look dramatic when they are just mechanically following their instinct.
The above makes complete sense if you just look at who made the show. That’s right, it’s the “we have good ideas and lots of money but do shit in presentation” team, aka BONES. These guys make enjoyable anime but hardly try to work on their storyboards.
It is not a bad anime but hardly deserves its fame. It needed less episodes, less plot devices, and someone NOT FROM BONES to work the storyboard. If everything else fails, just listen to its soundtrack, the one thing that is truly magnificent no matter how crappy the pacing is.
And now for some excused scorings.
ART SECTION: 8/10
General Artwork 2/2 (well-done)
Character Figures 1/2 (generic)
Backgrounds 2/2 (fitting with the feeling of the series)
Animation 1/2 (basic)
Visual Effects 2/2 (nice use of darkness)
SOUND SECTION: 8/10
Voice Acting 2/3 (corny but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Music Themes 4/4 (fitting with the feeling of the series)
Sound Effects 2/3 (ok I guess)
STORY SECTION: 4/10
Premise 2/2 (interesting)
Pacing 0/2 (super slow, many recaps)
Complexity 1/2 (not much)
Plausibility 0/2 (none)
Conclusion 1/2 (solid but messy and even convenient)
CHARACTER SECTION: 7/10
Presence 2/2 (strong)
Personality 2/2 (rather cheesy but well founded)
Backdrop 1/2 (generic and simplistic but it’s there)
Development 1/2 (overblown but it’s there)
Catharsis 1/2 (overblown but it’s there)
VALUE SECTION: 7/10
Historical Value 2/3 (quite famous)
Rewatchability 2/3 (high if the slow pacing doesn’t get to you)
Memorability 3/4 (nice concept and directing so it is easily memorable)
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 5/10
Very slow and random story but otherwise nice in character portrayal.