Most helpful positive review
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A simple and beautiful film
on 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.