College student Hana falls in love with another student who turns out to be a werewolf. Hana moves to the rural countryside where her husband grew up to raise her two werewolf children.
Ugh, the premise blurb had spoilers (like, it seems obvious by the trailer, but still!). Anyway! This is from the same director who did Summer Wars, another movie I rather enjoyed (brother introduced me to it) but the premise is very different.
Firstly, premise blurb above is still a little off: Hana’s love was not a werewolf per se, and nothing was ever mentioned of them getting married.
Moving along, this movie is very much about Hana’s journey in motherhood, raising two young childen, half-human and half-wolf, alone after their father died. Her love story with her lover was lovely (she accepted him for who he was) albeit short, cut off rather tragically. I really felt for her as she struggled to raise them alone, her journey heightened by the fact that her children are not fully human and cut off from certain services that could help her. Moving out into the countryside, she’s able to raise them without much trouble, although she’s faced with new obstacles of how to sustain their new lifestyle. It’s hard, and it made for a stressful watch as she toils every day while also trying to figure out how to raise her children. It’s lovely though that the community in the area helped her out and dropped by when they could.
Less-so a focus but integral to Hana’s story is Yuki and Ame growing up. They are very different in personality, and yet it’s interesting to watch them grow up and how different they become, almost opposite: at the start Yuki was more in tune with her wolf side and causing a bit of mayhem with it but in the end it is Ame who chooses his wolf side over his human side. Their experiences with their surroundings helps inform their eventual choice. Here lies a powerful message about parenthood, how parents look out and try to protect their children from the dangers and the outside world, but in the end the children make a decision of how they want to live their lives. In that sense, Hana fulfills the role she and her lover (gosh, I just realised he never gave his name, the website lists his name as “Wolfman” O_o) made after Yuki was born, that they would help them find their place in life that they want and will be happy with. On an unrelated note, it was amusing rather to see how much Ame looked like their father while Yuki took after Hana 😛
So, the reason why I didn’t rate this movie higher? I did have one quibble: Ame’s story.
The animation in this movie is gorgeous, light and wondrous at parts and artsy in others. It feels as though you’re standing in a field of flowers or you’re tumbling in the snow. The detail of their new home as she cleans and scrubs is wonderful, and everything–down to the food (mmm, food)–was wonderously depicted. I liked Wolf Children despite of the minor quibbles at the end, it’s a lovely contemplation about motherhood and children.