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4.8 out of 5 stars
Wolf Children [DVD]
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 5 December 2014
Outside Japan it can sometimes feel like we're over-exposed to Studio Ghibli, and it's easy to think that that's where Family Anime starts and ends. But of course, there are other Anime studios, and this film is from Studio Chizu, one of the studios which, based on this and other recent offerings, may well take the crown, just as Pixar shoved aside Disney in Hollywood.

This is a beautifully made film, with a very simple story about a woman who brings up two children who can change at will between human and wolf, having been fathered by a man who could do likewise. The woman, Hana, is entirely human, so when the Wolf Father dies, she struggles to raise these two half wild children in her Tokyo apartment. She therefore takes them to the countryside, where her struggles continue, but are more manageable. The second half of the film then focuses on the children themselves as they mature into adolescence and undertake their own struggles - for them its the struggle to find their places as wolf/human hybrids, and discover themselves. So the second half is very much "coming of age" or "rites of passage".

The main character is Yuki, the girl wolf, the narrator. She's a terribly cute little girl, and just as cute as a wolf cub. Her little brother Ame is just as cute, but features very slightly less in the story. The mother Hana is a perfect and devoted mother. The whole family set-up is very sweet and endearing, but not overly-sentimental because the characters are very three dimensional and very engaging. The struggles that the three of them go through are nothing like the struggles that we ourselves might face, and are each very different, but I was drawn into those struggles completely.

This is definitely a lovely family film to watch with kids, from age 5 and above, but adults can enjoy it on their own too. With Studio Gibli and Hayao Miyazaki we became accustomed to some quite serious themes in films such as Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away and The Wind Rises. This film is not like that at all. It focuses on telling a simple story with engaging characters. It is proper family entertainment.

The animations is a little mixed. Most of the nature animation is breath-takingly beautiful, but the animation of the human and animal characters is just plain, simple anime.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 13 November 2013
being a fan of their previous work "The Girl who Leapt Through Time" and "Summer Wars" I was looking forward to watching this when I stumbled upon this film on youtube

thought I could only watch it with English subs the emotions of the story still came across and the animation was as stunning as always.

If you're a fan of anime/manga films this one is a must see
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on 14 September 2013
I haven't seen the dub yet so this is a review of the Japanese original with English subtitles which i first saw at a film festival a year ago.

I'm quite the anime nerd and have seen all of Hayao Miyazaki's works among many other things and i have to say that i rate this as one of my favourite ever anime films and think any fans of Miyazaki's works would enjoy this just as much. It's incredibly heart warming whilst also very funny in places and just all around wholesome (much in the same way that Clannad (tv show) is if you have seen that.

Would recommend for anyone, fans of anime or not and i CANNOT WAIT for this to be released on dvd!

Buy buy buy! ( but leave a copy for me!) :)
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 16 February 2014
This was a winner in the cinema. I noticed the audience joined in with the characters' emotions very readily, laughing, gasping and silence in the moments of tension. The range of emotions as the story progressed got more and more intense, as the characters move from the relative safety of urban life and supermarket convenience, to the stark battles with nature and decay in the countryside. This tension between the two worlds is also in the characters themselves, battling with half-wolf, half-human traits which their mother can only try to understand from her all-human perspective. The drawing is just gorgeous, and the scope of variations of scene, reflections, surfaces, subtle cues to the passing of time, weather changes and vegetation is marvellous. From a beautiful field of different wildflowers in the sunshine, to a torrential gale, the weather seems to reflect the mother's inner struggle to give her children the right to choose whether to be human or wolf, and ultimately being content with their choice. The musical score is beautiful, and perfectly accompanies the animation. There were happy faces going home, from tiny tots to pensioners, and this mum here had a few teary moments too. Just beautiful - I'm going to watch it again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 10 September 2014
The easiest word to describe this movie is 'Wonderful'.
Mamoru Hosada's movie have got better with each release and considering the high standards of 'The Girl Who Leapt Through Time' and 'Summer Wars' that is really saying a lot. I really liked those movies but with this movie has captured perfection.
'Wolf Children' is easily up there amongst any of the Ghibli movies and any other anime as one of the greatest anime movies ever made.
This movie reminds me of 'My Neighbour Totoro' meets Call of the Wild'.
Great characters and a truly fascinating story make this such wonderful movie to watch that I would recommend every one, and not just anime or animation fans but fans of quality movies in general, should watch.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 4 May 2014
I'm a huge anime/manga fan and this is another wonderful movie. It's a decent length (which sometimes you don't get from this genre) and mixes all kinds of emotions with the beauty of nature. You won't be disappointed of you're a fan of the genre and it's a brilliant animated movie in its own right. It's brilliantly dubbed but also can be watched in it's original format. The story is about a woman who loses her husband and is left to look after her two children, who are a type of werewolf, in a way. She moves them to the countryside where they both chose their paths and grow up surrounded by nature. It's lovely!
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 28 November 2013
I am a massive fan of director, Mamoru Hosada. I think his breakout film, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is one of the greatest anime films of all time and even rivals some of the movies created by the spiritual godfather of anime cinema, the great Hayao Miyazaki. What I like about Hosada's work is that all of his stories (Girl Who..., Summer Wars and The Wolf Children) are grounded in real, every-day believable settings and that his films all explore universal themes of family. The other advantage Hosada's film-making has over Miyazaki's is that he embraces the three act structure, so you could argue he has a more Hollywood approach to story-telling compared to many of his Japanese contemporaries.

Wolf Children is the story of a family of shape-shifting humans. As the title suggests, they are able to transform into wolves. When tragedy strikes it is up to the mother to raise her two rambunctious little children. The film is both funny, sad, uplifting and overall very moving. When I saw it originally on screen in Paris earlier this year I couldn't believe how many people in the audience were crying by the finale. I highly recommend this movie to anyone who loves their family, who loves nature and who loves good animated movies from the likes of Studio Ghibli, Pixar and Disney. BUY IT.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 28 July 2014
Version I saw: UK DVD release (subtitled)
Actors: 7/10 Plot/script: 7/10
Photography/visual style: 7/10
Music/score: 7/10
Overall: 7/10
Wolf Children is the third film from director Mamoru Hosoda, after The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and Summer Wars. The latter is an
incredibly difficult act to follow, and although Wolf Children does not quite come up to that standard, it gives it a damn good try and comes out with plenty of credit.
It's a mythic story, drawing on Japanese folklore stories of wolves that could take on human appearance. This idea is transposed to modern Japan, where it is played out as a love story between a young university student and a mysterious man who turns out to be a wolf. They have children, and then he is forced away, leaving her to raise the children by herself.
Family is a major theme of what follows, and as in Summer Wars, the family relationships really have the ring of truth about them, to me at least. This is clearly a strength of Hosoda's work, and that of writer Satoko Okudera. Interestingly, their perspective seems to have shifted between the two films, from that of the youths to that of the parents. Everyone grows up, I suppose.
For my full review, see my independent film blog on Blogspot, Cinema Inferno: http://cinemainferno-blog.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/wolf-children-2012.html
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 15 March 2014
in more ways then one. The animation is stunning and incredibly detailed and colourful, while the story is imaginative and compelling. It's different from the norm in that there is no bad guy to drive the plot; instead, it's all about the journey of the family. Loved it.
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on 21 November 2014
Though I'd argue not as strong as Hosoda's previous feature films (Summer Wars and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time respectfully) this is still an engaging, beautifully animated film about Hana, a single mother, and her experiences raising her children in the typical Japanese countryside. It has powerfully emotional moments, especially upon Hana's arrival in the countryside and the film's climax.
The only real issue I have with the film is it leaves you to unintentionally question Hana's parenting decisions (notably concerning her daughter during a storm) but if you allow it some liberties for storytelling it's a great film which will resonate especially with families - as Hosoda's works usually do.

The sub (as expected) was great and the dub was just as good. Give it a go!
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