Setting in a common suburban area, 19 year old Hana leads the casual lifestyle of a college teenager. However, while in class, Hana takes great interest in Ookami who turns out not being a college student. It is revealed that his nature is that of a wolf man, and two fall into young love only to soon start a family with the upbringing of a girl and boy, Yuki and Ame. Misfortune hovers over them as one day, the Wolf Man is found dead leaving Hana to care for her children alone. Join Hana as she faces the trials of a single mother raising two wolf children as well as the evolution of Yuki and Ame and their journey of finding their place in the world.
From the plot synopsis, many of you will immediately think “Oh, another twilight spinoff…great!” But this movie goes deeper and transcends the typical wolf man-woman relationship. The film goes into depth on the hardships of being a single mother as well as shedding light upon two youngsters who are born “different.” Yes, it is not 3D animated, but director Mamoru Hosoda has projected a familiar moral of family with 2D animations that does more than enough in teaching us all a lesson.
To start off, the storyline was spectacularly magnificent. The introduction of the film sets upon Hana, a college student, who falls madly in love with Ookami, a stranger, as if following the idea of “young love” from Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare. Even though Hana was impregnated at such a young age and most people would condemn such hasty, reckless action, she was ultimately happy. Happy to have a family, happy to share her love, and happy to have Ookami beside her. She portrays a strong and responsible young mother who is not saddened by her pregnancy, but embraces it as a gift. And the film does take into account the low income of a college student with no family aid. Even the father Ookami mans up and takes responsibility for his children with no complaint. At this point, I was overwhelmed by the raw emotion of such a heart filled and lovely family. It amazed me that with such a controversy issue with teenage pregnancy, the couple acknowledged it rather than demean it.
However, the climax arrived with the death of Ookami as he was hunting for food. A saddening scene that left me stunned as endless thoughts of how will the mother handle the working world and care for her children simultaneously emerged. This is the issue that makes this animated movie blossom beautifully. The journey truly starts here for the widowed family as money, education, and work environment are pitted against the trio. Yet, throughout the film, I never felt sympathy for the family because they always emphasized happiness above all else. Even with the “I want” stages of Yuki and Ame as kids was solved by the mother’s rational and fair judgement.
The movie brings forth a strong connection to the real world and that is its highest perk. It relatively portrays the struggles of any young, single mother trifled with countless struggles. And on top of that, the bestial attributes of her children reveals the prejudice of people’s notion of being different. Rather than shielding her children from the dangers of the outside world because of their wolf-like characters, Hana encourages their integration into the world. This powerfully depicts equality for all. The movie emphasizes that the theme that one’s birth should not deter them from being shunned by society. Embrace who you are and pursue what you ultimately want in the end as Yuki continued attending school and Ame chose the path of nature.
Overall, this one of kind film reintroduces the emotional power of 2D animations. With its mix of happiness, sorrow, and marvelous theme of pursuing your path, Wolf Children Ame and Yuki reaches out to the audience with a comforting hand that says, “Everything will be alright.”
Produced by: Madhouse
Director: Mamoru Hosoda