12 Days of Anime: Day 6

Even though I watched a bit of anime over the course of 2018, I only watched one anime film that I had never seen before. This one film also served as my first introduction to one of Mamoru Hosoda’s works.

My husband and I were at the library in November 2018, and we saw a copy of Wolf Children sitting on the shelf. We’d both seen trailers for the film on various FUNimation Entertainment home video releases that we’d watched, and we were both curious to see the film. My husband checked it out, and I believe we watched the movie that night.

After watching the film, I thought there was a compelling story and engaging characters. It was interesting to watch the two children as they grew and seeing how their personalities shift over the course of the film. I also admired Hana as a character, being a single mother trying to raise two children who part wolf and not knowing how to handle the wolf part.

If Wolf Children is any indication of Hosoda’s work, then I’ve been missing out and I need to see more of his films.

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Anime Film Review: Wolf Children

Wolf Children is a film directed by Mamoru Hosoda and released by Studio Chizu.

Wolf Children
Directed by: Mamoru Hosoda
Written by: Satoko Okudera and Mamoru Hosoda
Starring: Aoi Miyazaki, Takao Osawa, Haru Kuroki, Yukito Nishii
Run Time: 117 Minutes

My husband and I were in the library the other day and found a DVD for Wolf Children on the shelf. It’s a film we’d seen a lot of trailers for on various FUNimation Entertainment releases over the past couple of years, so we were kind of curious about it. Also, as much I hate to admit this, in the 11 years that I’ve been writing about anime on the internet, I had not yet seen a film by Mamoru Hosoda. I’ve heard his name a lot over the years, but I had never actually gotten around to watching something he directed. I knew I needed to finally rectify this.

The film starts out with a college student named Hana encountering a mysterious man in one of her college classes that she has never seen before. After an initial brief interaction, they start hanging out together and become a couple. But the man reveals a secret: he is a wolf man. He’s afraid Hana will leave him, but she doesn’t. She becomes pregnant, and the two become parents first to a little girl named Yuki, then a little over a year later, to a little boy named Ame. After Ame is born, the man decides to become a wolf and hunt for some food. Unfortunately, he is killed, and Hana becomes a single mother raising two wolf children on her own.

As a mother, I could relate to what Hana is going through raising her children. I may not have the added stress of having children that can transform between human and wolf and trying to hide this from the world, but many of the normal parenting issues she encounters are relatable to people who have been through similar situations.

Another thing I wanted to mention is the fact that the wolf man is never given a name in this movie. Hana never refers to him by a name, and his driver’s license always has the characters for his name hidden or blocked somehow. I can’t read the characters, so being able to see these wouldn’t help me. But for viewers who are familiar with reading Japanese characters, they still wouldn’t be able to figure out what his name is. I found this to be an interesting storytelling choice on the part of Okudera and Hosoda.

Unfortunately, as the children start to get older, Hana finds it harder and harder to hide the fact they’re part wolf. Between Yuki transforming into a wolf in public, and an insistence of case workers to see the children, Hana realizes that she needs to leave the city and get away from the prying eyes of neighbors. She ends up getting a beat up old house out in the country, where the nearest neighbors are a significant distance away. She has the challenges of making the house habitable for herself and her children, as well as trying to find a way to grow food in order to help save money. She finds over time that some of the families in the village want to help her and she starts forming some friendships. Hana muses at one point that she’s grateful for all the help she’s receiving, she thought she had moved out to the country to get away from people.

At the beginning of the film, Yuki is depicted as being a very energetic and emotional character, while Ame is timid and unsure of himself. As children, Yuki is excited about being part wolf, while her younger brother has a harder time embracing this part of himself due in large part that wolves are always depicted as bad and evil in stories. But as the children age and go through experiences, their personalities and how they embrace being part wolf shifts. I appreciate how Okudera and Hosoda wrote this shift, because it isn’t something that happens suddenly and with no explanation. The shift in the character dynamics feel realistic. And the character development and interactions that take place are believable.

When it comes to the animation, it’s overall a well animated piece. My only real complaint is a scene that takes place in winter, where Hana and the children are running through the woods in the snow. There’s this weird and sudden shift from traditional animation to CG, which is jarring and feels unnatural to the viewer. There’s another running scene later in the film where it goes from traditional animation to CG, but the transition there felt more natural and was nowhere near as jarring for the viewer.

Outside of that one complaint, though, I thoroughly enjoyed Wolf Children. There are many elements in this fantastical story that are relatable to viewers, and the characters and story are very compelling. If Wolf Children is any indication of what Mamoru Hosoda is capable of, I’ve been missing out and need to make more of an effort to see the other movies in his filmography.

FUNimation Entertainment Is Streaming Mamoru Hosoda’s Films With English Dubs

FUNimation Entertainment has announced that it is streaming the English dubs of all four of its films directed by Mamoru Hosoda.

The films available to subscribers of FUNimation’s streaming service are: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Summer Wars, Wolf Children, and The Boy and The Beast.

Source: ANN

Philadelphia International Children’s Film Festival to Screen Wolf Children and Welcome to the Space Show

New York International Children’s Film Festival and the Philadelphia Film Society have announced that they will be screening the Wolf Children and Welcome to the Space Show anime films at the first annual Philadelphia International Children’s Film Festival.

Wolf Children will be screened on November 16, 2013 at 3:00 p.m. Welcome to the Space Show will be screened on November 17, 2013 at 5:30 p.m.

The Philadelphia International Children’s Film Festival will be taking place November 15-17, 2013 at the PFS Theater at the Roxy.

Source: ANN

Wolf Children Opening in Los Angeles

The Wolf Children anime film is opening at the Laemmle Town Center 5 theater in Los Angeles on September 27, 2013. The film is being screened with an English dub from September 27-October 3, 2013, and tickets are available through the theater’s website.

People in other cities can organize with the Tugg website to bring the film to their local theaters also. This platform allows users to create a Tugg event in their city of choice and share it on social media; the film will only screen if enough tickets are reserved.

Source: ANN

Anime Weekend Atlanta Announces Anime Screenings

Anime Weekend Atlanta has announced that it will be hosting the following anime screenings during their upcoming convention:

  • The English dub of One Piece: Strong World
  • The English dub of Magi
  • The Blu-ray remaster of Sakura Wars: The Movie
  • Space Adventure Cobra
  • Cutie Honey
  • Mazinger Z
  • Gatchaman
  • Girls Vs. Butlers
  • Evangelion 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo
  • Fairy Tail: The Movie
  • Tiger & Bunny: The Beginning
  • Wolf Children
  • Akira

Anime Weekend Atlanta will be taking place September 27-29, 2013 at the Renaissance Waverly Hotel and Cobb Galleria Centre in Atlanta, Georgia.

FUNimation’s Announcements at Otakon

FUNimation announced during the company’s panel at Otakon that it has acquired the license for the Cowboy Bebop television anime series, and that the company will be releasing the series digitally and on Blu-ray Disc for the first time in North America. FUNimation is planning to release the series in 2014.

In addition, FUNimation announced that it has also acquired the North American licenses for the following anime titles:

  • Outlaw Star
  • The Vision of Escaflowne
  • Escaflowne: The Movie
  • My-HiME
  • My-Otome
  • My-Otome 0~S.ifr~
  • My-Otome Zwei

FUNimation also announced that the company has licensed the rest of the Fairy Tail television anime series that is currently in existence (up to episode 175), and that the Wolf Children anime film will ship on Blu-ray Disc and DVD on November 12, 2013.

Source: ANN

English Dub Cast for Wolf Children

FUNimation has announced the English dub cast for the Wolf Children anime film.

  • Colleen Clinkenbeard is Hana
  • Alison Viktorin is Ame (child)
  • Micah Solusod is Ame
  • Lara Woodhull is Yuki (child)
  • Jad Saxton is Yuki
  • David Matranga is Ookami (the father)
  • Jerry Russell is Grandpa Nirasaki
  • Jason Liebrecht is Souhei

Mike McFarland directed the dub.

Source: ANN

Anime at the Japan Film Festival of San Francisco

The 2013 J-POP Summit Festival has announced that it will launch the Japan Film Festival of San Francisco. This event will be taking place July 27-August 4, 2013.

The anime being screened during this festival includes:

  • The U.S. premiere of Hunter x Hunter: Phantom Rouge on August 3, 2013
  • The U.S. premiere of Naruto Shippuden: The Lost Tower on July 28, 2013
  • The U.S. premiere of Resident Evil: Damnation on July 28, 2013
  • The San Francisco premiere of Wolf Children on July 28, 2013
  • An encore screening of Tiger & Bunny The Movie – The Beginning on August 2, 2013

Source: ANN