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roriconfan

  • Thessaloniki, Greece
  • Joined Dec 22, 2011
  • 33 / M

Wolf Children

Mar 5, 2013

PROPER MINDSET 
Wolf Children is a coming of age movie regarding a young woman as she raises her children. She has a hard time doing that, since the husband died, her parents can’t help her in any way, and the kids are werewolves, a thing that must be kept secret from the others. Sounds weird? Yes. Was it an enjoyable watch? Yes. Was it satisfactory in how it portrayed its themes? No.

THE STAFF 
- Animated by Madhouse, which automatically means the movie looks great since it’s made by the best anime studio ever!
- Directed by Hosoda Mamoru, who did several good films in the past such as two Digimon movies, Baron Omatsuri and the Secret Island (by far the best One Piece movie), The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, and Summer Wars. I really like how he combines dark themes in otherwise children’s stories; although this one is one of his weaker works. 

PRODUCTION VALUES 
As far as looks go, the movie is splendid at showing the way people live in cities and rural areas. The backgrounds are detailed, the characters have smooth animation when moving, and various simple cinematics in lightening effects and proper use of background music make it one heck of good movie to stare at.

This of course applies to very standard uses of technology. Outside the simple wolf transformations, the movie could have easily been made in live action fashion. Meaning, there are no funky special effects or characters with weird clothes and art style. Aesthetically the movie looks normal to the point you can call it bland, a thing which makes it forgettable in the long-run. 

SCRIPT 
The story is fairly simple; as it is usually the case with coming of age works. The description I gave in the beginning pretty much covers all there is to it. Although over a decade worth of time passes during the film, there aren’t many events happening in it and very few of them have any real tension. Although this can be seen as having a fast pace that will not let you to be bored, it also means that there isn’t much time invested in each scene to properly analyze each situation. And in a way that is both a blessing and a curse. It constantly keeps you engaged by jumping from one event to another before your emotions start to dull and you begin to think of stuff that make no sense. And it is true; most of the plot makes no bloody sense if you try to rationalize it. It is like a sappy fairy tale in a way; it pretends to be about a normal life when in reality it is as magical as it gets. 

Anyways, for a story that moves fast, makes no sense, and doesn’t exactly end in a solid way, it is fine. Nothing exceptional since it doesn’t try to develop any of its themes in any particular way. It could have a lot to show regarding how to live, work, and raise a family in secrecy but just skims all that in packages of 20 minutes each and heads for drama alone. Decent for its kind but eventually weak. 

CAST 
All the characters are fairly simple personalities; you can describe them in two lines and have no backdrop stories. I can even say they end up being plot devises to the most part. I mean, sure, if you let your emotions to take over you will definitely love them for the simple and real way they act. They don’t have something particular to remember them for but the way they live feels natural enough to be fond of them and to even identify with if you go easy with them. 

Of course if for any reason you begin to question their actions you will realize they are all idiots. But that is not what the movie was going for so it is not exactly right to expect things it never attempted to be. It’s just that if it presents itself as coming of age, it should feel as a bit more plausible. And seriously, it wasn’t. Do you know what I felt about the heroine? I felt she was Bella from Twilight. 

“Lalala going to school, OMG A HANDSOME MYSTERIOUS TRANSFER STUDENT, I AM IN LOVE (20 minutes later) oh you are a monster, who cares, lets have babies (5 minutes later) oh my love got drowned, now I have to raise those kids alone IN THE WILDERNESS” 

How about waiting a few years before you hump him? How about using protection? How about asking your relatives to help you? Do you even have relatives? Why are the country folk all so gentle to a stranger who lives isolated to the mountains? WHAT IS GOING ON HERE? I can go on forever with the plausibility issue. 

LEGACY 
Well, I am sure all the B types out there will cry like little bitches with this film. A types like me as well as veterans won’t feel much about it and will forget it soon as just another firework that pops and disappears in the night sky. It didn’t feel plausible at all to me and thus couldn’t get emotionally attached to it. I also don’t believe what many think about it; being great because it doesn’t have fan service and other otaku stereotypes in it. Hello, it has a wolf fetish and a romance that is just like Twilight (but of course still better). Plus it was very simple and rushed for the context it had. That is why I recommend the following titles as something that does far more with the whole theme of romance, coming of age, and animals hiding in human society. 

SUGGESTION LIST 
Wolf's Rain, Pom Poko, 5cm per Second, Clannad

And now for some excused scorings. 

<div>ART SECTION: 8/10 
General Artwork 1/2 (generic)
Character Figures 1/2 (generic)
Backgrounds 2/2 (basic but detailed)
Animation 2/2 (fluid)
Visual Effects 2/2 (simple but elegant) 

SOUND SECTION: 8/10 
Voice Acting 3/3 (simple but mature)
Music Themes 3/4 (not great but fitting with the feeling of the series) 
Sound Effects 2/3 (ok I guess)

STORY SECTION: 5/10 
Premise 2/2 (interesting)
Pacing 1/2 (too fast)
Complexity 1/2 (not much)
Plausibility 0/2 (none)
Conclusion 1/2 (simple and almost open)

CHARACTER SECTION: 5/10 
Presence 2/2 (simple but highly emotional)
Personality 1/2 (simple)
Backdrop 0/2 (practically zero)
Development 1/2 (rushed but it’s there)
Catharsis 1/2 (simple but it’s there)

VALUE SECTION: 3/10 
Historical Value 0/3 (none)
Rewatchability 1/3 (low because of too little plot)
Memorability 2/4 (very emotional but hardly makes use of its content to be that memorable)

ENJOYMENT SECTION: 5/10 
Art 1/1 (looks nice) 
Sound 1/2 (sounds ok)
Story 1/3 (feels simple)
Characters 2/4 (they are ok but nothing special)

VERDICT: 5.5/10
</div>

5/10 story
8/10 animation
8/10 sound
5/10 characters
5.5/10 overall

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naejin says...

OVERALL: 7.66/10

ART SECTION: 9/10

General Artwork 2/2 (Not innovative, but generally flawless)

Character Figures 1/2 (generic)

Backgrounds 2/2 (basic but detailed)

Animation 2/2 (fluid)

Visual Effects 2/2 (simple but elegant)

SOUND SECTION: 8/10

Voice Acting 3/3 (well fitting)

Music Themes 3/4 (thematically accurate)

Sound Effects 2/3 (ok, nothing too memorable)

STORY SECTION: 7/10

Premise 2/2 (may be off-putting to non-anime audience, but interesting none-the-less)

Pacing 1/2 (too fast, but given how much story they want to tell within their time budget, understandably so.)

Complexity 2/2 (a bit layered that some people may not realize immediately. They probably do realize at a subconscious/Zen level, but may require a bit of thought to fully understand all the themes that were presented.)

Plausibility 0/2 (none, but so many good fictitious fantasy stories score a zero here.)

Conclusion 2/2 (simple yet strong theme oriented)

CHARACTER SECTION: 7/10

Presence 2/2 (simple but highly emotional)

Personality 1/2 (simple)

Backdrop 1/2 (no flashbacks used, but instead the first 30 minutes or so is essentially a backdrop)

Development 1/2 (rushed but it’s there)

Catharsis 2/2 (simple but it’s there)

VALUE SECTION: 7/10

Historical Value 1/3 (Another great achievement by the staff from The Girl who Leapt through Time & Summer Wars. Starting to get the Studio Ghibli comparison.)

Rewatchability 2/3 (I rewatched it, particularly the cute-factor areas.)

Memorability 4/4 (very emotional, but also poignant thematic messages makes this standout. Especially compared to other anime released this year that are rather vapid.)

ENJOYMENT SECTION: 8/10

Art 1/1 (looks nice)

Sound 1/2 (sounds ok)

Story 3/3 (seems simple, but themes are well developed. Looks can be deceiving.)

Characters 3/4 (cute-factor & good development, albeit a bit rushed, which can cause a slight loss in clarity.)

Dec 1, 2013
naejin says...

I feel that you sell the story concept short. It didn't seem to be merely a coming of age story to me. I felt that it's was simultaneously a coming of age story from a split background, and how to reconcile those differences. I saw this as an allegory of sharing two starkly different/divergent racial backgrounds. The most relevant to Japanese culture being only half Japanese, but other cultural half-breeds are of course included. I found the themes to be quite astute.

I agree with you that the premise sounded rather weird to me initially as well (rather mature even), I found the execution to be presented quite respectably.

(SPOILER ALERT: the most oft putting scene was probably the coitus act done in wolf aspect. I suppose it was done to reiterate/remind the fact that he's not a normal human, but the plausibility alarm did go off here for me as well.  /END SPOILER)

I also agree with you that the pacing at times felt "unrealistically" rushed, but I found it to be understandably so. For instance, Hana's relationship with her mate & pregnancy of her kids was fast paced, because that was not the focus of the movie. I think it was just more to set up of how Hana's family came to be. And the quick growing up at school montage is a common film technique on a limited resource (such as time) which attempted to give hints to how the characters are developing mentally.

I believe there is a certain level of suspention of disbelief to witness a film/story. I mean, an astute person should already know that the premise of this moveie is a rather far fetched, but no more far fetched than any vampire, werewolf, or other unexplained spiritual anomaly/phenomenon or fairy tale. I mean, isn't that that essentially the art of story-weaving? To turn a mundane retelling into a tale of interest, no?

Although you are free to judge things however you like (just like everyone else can), I suspect you may have gotten too far ahead of yourself in criticism. It almost felt like you wanted to dislike it, even though you yourself stated that you thought it was enjoyable (near end of first paragraph). There can be a danger of being a critic. You can fall into the overanalytical whirlpool of purely looking for stuff to criticise for the sake of criticism. For instance, I felt that your criticisms of Hana in the last paragraph of your "Cast" section seems to be an example of this.

Overall, I believe this was a well thought-out, produced & directed anime. Although one may disagree with some of the decisions they choose, I can see potential reasons for their decisions. The movie was 117 minutes (~2 hours), which is rather long by most movie standards not affiliated with Tolkien. I would gamble to say that scenes had to be cut. Some of the weird plausibility aspects can be alleviated with a fairly small dose of suspension of disbelief (unless you're a biologist, then maybe a fairly large dose).

I may concede to you that this anime may cater more to B personality types to appreciate the endearment or Cute-factor (perhaps not as overused as shock-factor?) heavily used in this anime (similar to Studio Ghibli, which I believe is why people compare this to Studio Ghibli). I felt that the direction /production had a no-holds barred attitude at subject matter to display their themes (in all honesty, the subject matter was probably rather oft-putting for general non-anime audiences, but mostly par for the course for anime-fans).

Come on now, with the rampant chockful fan-service sell-out animes out there that you yourself have criticised, how could not one feel a bit of relief from an anime such as Wolf Children. However, I felt that it made no compromises at catering to the over-fished otaku fanimes out there. Being a self-proclaimed otaku of some degree, I enjoyed this refreshing anime immensely.

Dec 1, 2013
perdy says...

Im agree, your review is good. Its a nice movie but not special or memorable.

May 30, 2013
sopuli says...

Sterob, did you seriously register to this site just so you could comment this shallow comment of yours? I mean really now, you didn't even use proper grammar and your sentence structures and points you are trying to make are all all so poorly backed up i could even feel bad you, but too bad the forced memes killed it. You don't even have a chance.

On topic: Nice review, you always succeed on demolishing my emotical connection to series through unbreakable logical thoughts.

Apr 5, 2013
sterob says...

Why people are so nice? Japan :ailien-meme.jpg:

Romeo x juliet or any love story can be related to Twilight as juliet meet a boy, 5 min later omg i am in love, 5 min later, both died. That what happen when you ignore the time skip.

They met at sping- summer time. Then the first time they decided to have sex was Christmas. I believe murica girls have sex with their boy friend after the first dinner. Then Yuki was born on Jan-Feb the next next year which mean they decided to not use protection after 4 months, and had their first child after 2 years in relationship.

Good luck with asking your relavties to help, just make sure they wont call police to shoot some wolfs that sudden appear in their house.

And let not lie to ourselves that you wouldnt hump a cute wolf girl immediately when you have chance. If not what are you doing in this site. :yaoming.jpg:

Mar 6, 2013