Wolf Children

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Wolf Children
The poster shows a young woman holding two children, both with tails and wolf ears standing in a grassy field on a cloudy day with the sun coming out. At the top is the film's title, written in Japanese white letters and the tagline, written in blue letters. At the poster's bottom is the film's release date and production credits.
Japanese release poster
Directed by Mamoru Hosoda
Produced by Yuichiro Saito
Takuya Ito
Takashi Watanabe
Screenplay by Satoko Okudera
Mamoru Hosoda[1]
Story by Mamoru Hosoda
Starring Aoi Miyazaki
Takao Osawa
Haru Kuroki
Yukito Nishii
Music by Takagi Masakatsu
Edited by Shigeru Nishiyama
Production
  company
Studio Chizu
Madhouse
Distributed by Toho
Release date(s)
  • June 25, 2012 (2012-06-25) (France)
  • July 21, 2012 (2012-07-21) (Japan)
Running time 117 minutes
Country Japan
Language Japanese
Box office $53,923,613[2]

Wolf Children (おおかみこどもの雨と雪 Ōkami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki?, lit. "Wolf Children Ame and Yuki") is a 2012 Japanese animated film directed and co-written by Mamoru Hosoda.[3][4] The film stars the voices of Aoi Miyazaki, Takao Osawa, Haru Kuroki and Yukito Nishii. The story follows a young mother who is left to raise two werewolf children after their werewolf father dies.

To create the film, director Hosoda established Studio Chizu, which co-produced the film with Madhouse. Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, the character designer for Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water (1990) and Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995), designed characters for the film. Wolf Children had its world premiere in Paris on June 25, 2012, and was released theatrically on July 21, 2012 in Japan.[5] It is licensed by Funimation Entertainment in North America and was released on DVD and Blu-ray on November 23, 2013.[6] It was screened in the UK at the end of October 2013 with a DVD and Deluxe Blu-ray/DVD edition from Manga Entertainment following on December 23, 2013.

Plot[edit]

Nineteen-year-old college student Hana falls in love with a classmate with a secret: he is a werewolf and can transform into a wolf at will. He and Hana have two werewolf children: a daughter, Yuki, and a year later a son, Ame. Soon after Ame's birth, their father dies while hunting food for his children.

Raising Yuki and Ame alone is difficult; they constantly switch between their human and wolf forms, and Hana has to hide them from the world. When she is visited by social workers concerned that the children have not had vaccinations, Hana moves the family to the countryside away from prying neighbors. She works hard to repair the dilapidated house and sustain the family on their own crops.

Yuki begs her mother to let her go to school like other children. Hana accepts on the condition that Yuki keeps her werewolf nature secret. Though Yuki's classmates find her strange at first, she soon makes friends. However, Ame is more interested in the forest, and takes lessons from an old fox about survival in the wild.

Yuki's class receives a new transfer student, Souhei, who realizes something is strange about her. When he pursues her, Yuki transforms into a wolf and accidentally injures him, leading to a meeting with his parents and teachers. Souhei tells them a wolf attacked him, absolving Yuki of blame, and the two become friends.

Yuki and Ame fight over whether they are human or wolf. The next day, while Yuki is at school, a fierce storm gathers and Ame disappears into the forest; Hana goes after him. The other children are picked up from school by their parents, leaving Yuki and Souhei alone. Yuki reveals her secret to him by transforming into a wolf. Souhei tells her he already knew, and promises to keep her secret.

As Hana searches the forest for Ame, she slips and falls unconscious. Ame finds her and carries her to safety. She awakens to see Ame transform into an adult wolf and run into the mountains. She realises he has found his own path and accepts his goodbye.

The next year, Yuki leaves home to attend a dorm in junior high school. Ame's wolf howls can be heard far and wide in the forest. Hana, living alone in the house, reflects that raising her wolf children was like a fairy tale, and feels proud to have raised them well.

Voice cast[edit]

Japanese cast[edit]

English cast[edit]

Release/Screenings[edit]

At a press conference held on 18 June 2012, the director Mamoru Hosoda announced that Wolf Children would be released in 34 different countries and territories.[7] This film was first released in France on June 25, 2012, marking its international debut.[8] It was subsequently released in Japan on July 21, 2012.[8] The film made its US premiere at the 2012 Hawaii International Film Festival.[9] The film's Blu-ray and DVD release date for Japan has been confirmed for February 20, 2013.

The Newport Beach Film Festival in Newport Beach, CA, screened Wolf Children on April 27, 2013.[10]

Wolf Children was screened at Animefest 2013 in May in the Czech Republic[11] and at Animafest Zagreb 2013 in June in Croatia.[12]

Other media[edit]

In addition to the film, two novelizations and a manga written by Hosoda (with art by Yū (?)) were released by Kadokawa Shoten.[13] As tie-ins to the film, a film picture book, an art book, and a storyboard book were released from Kadokawa, Media Pal, and Pia.

  • Wolf Children Ame and Yuki by Mamoru Hosoda, Kadokawa Shoten, 22 June 2012, ISBN 9784041003237
  • Mamoru Hosoda Pia, Pia, 10 July 2012, ISBN 9784835621203
  • Wolf Children Ame and Yuki by Yū (illustrations) and Mamoru Hosoda, Kadokawa Comic Ace, 14 July 2012, ISBN 9784041203217
  • Wolf Children Ame and Yuki by Mamoru Hosoda, Kadokawa Tsubasa Bunko, 15 July 2012, ISBN 9784046312488
  • Kadokawa Picture Book Wolf Children Ame and Yuki by Mamoru Hosoda, Kadokawa Shoten, 15 July 2012, ISBN 9784041102473
  • Wolf Children Ame and Yuki Storyboards Animestyle Archive by Mamoru Hosoda, Media Pal, 21 July 2012, ISBN 9784896102468
  • Wolf Children Ame and Yuki Official Book: Hana no Yō ni edited by the Wolf Children Ame and Yuki Production Committee, Kadokawa Shoten, 23 July 2012, ISBN 9784041102480
  • Wolf Children Ame and Yuki Artbook edited by the Wolf Children Ame and Yuki Production Committee, Kadokawa Shoten, 25 August 2012, ISBN 9784041102862

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

Wolf Children was the second-highest grossing film in Japan on its debut weekend of 21–22 July 2012, beating Disney Pixar's animation film Brave, which debuted in Japan on the same weekend.[14] It attracted an audience of 276,326 throughout the weekend, thus grossing a total of 365.14 million yen.[14] The film subsequently surpassed Mamoru Hosoda previous work Summer Wars's Japanese gross of around 1.6 billion yen during the weekend of 12–13 August 2012.[15]

In total, Wolf Children grossed 4.2 billion yen, making the 5th highest grossing movie in Japan in 2012.[16]

Critical reception[edit]

The film received a 72 out of 100 from review aggregate website Metacritic based on 5 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews."[17] and a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes.[18]

Mark Schilling from The Japan Times compared Hosoda to the acclaimed director Hayao Miyazaki, saying that "The Miyazaki influence on Hosoda's own work seems obvious, from his cute-but-realistic style to his concern with pressing social issues and the messy emotions of actual human beings".[19] Moreover, he said that the director "has integrated fantastic elements into otherwise everyday settings".[19] However, Schilling added that he felt that this film was "on the conventional and predictable side".[19] He added that the film was like "appealing to "Jane Eyre" fans in one scene, "Call of the Wild" fans in the next", with him taking issue with "the well-worn, stereotypical rails on which the stories ran".[19] Overall, Schilling gave the film a rating of 3 out of 5 stars.[19]

Par Thomas of Le Monde rated this film as a "Excellent", and gave it a rating of five out of five stars.[20] Dave Chua of Mypaper also praised the film, saying that "There is a magnificent understated eye for detail, from the grain of wood on doors to the lovingly captured forest scenes, that help lift the movie above regular animation fare."[21] Chris Michael of The Guardian gave the film a rating of four stars out of five stating that "telling the story through the eyes of the harried, bereaved but indomitable mother gives this calm, funny, only occasionally schmaltzy family film a maturity Twilight never reached."[22] Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times reviewed the film, referring to it as "an odd story, told in a one-of-a-kind style that feels equal parts sentimental, somber and strange." Turan also said while the visuals are "colorful and at times lyrical, the dubbed English-language soundtrack can sound overly sweet and simplistic while the narrative takes some rather harsh turns."[23] Steven D. Greydanus, writing in the National Catholic Register, said, "Despite brief early problematic content and an ambiguous climactic letdown, the main story is magic."[24]

Awards[edit]

Wolf Children won the 2013 Japan Academy Prize for Animation of the Year,[25] the 2012 Mainichi Film Award for Best Animation Film,[26] and the 2013 Animation of the Year award at TAF.[27] It has also won two awards at the Oslo Films from the South festival in Norway: the main award, the Silver Mirror, and the audience award.[28] Wolf Children won an Audience Award at 2013 New York International Children's Film Festival.[29] Wolf Children won the 2014 Best Anime Disc award from Home Media Magazine.[30]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "staff". Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Okami kodomo no ame to yuki (2012). Boxofficemojo.com. Retrieved on 2014-05-12.
  3. ^ "Summer Wars' Mamoru Hosoda Creates Anime Film for July". Anime News Network. 2011-12-13. Retrieved 2012-01-17. 
  4. ^ "Ame & Yuki Film by Summer Wars' Hosoda Slated for July 21". Anime News Network. 2012-01-16. Retrieved 2012-01-17. 
  5. ^ "Paris to Host World Premiere of Mamoru Hosoda's Ame & Yuki Film". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2012-05-30. 
  6. ^ "Funimation to Release Wolf Children, Toriko on Home Video". Anime News Network. Retrieved 14 October 2012. 
  7. ^ "宮崎あおい : 夫役・大沢たかおと相合い傘で登場 「大きな優しさに支えられた」". Mainichi Shimbun Digital Co.Ltd (in Japanese). 2012-06-18. Retrieved 2012-09-18. 
  8. ^ a b "Paris to Host World Premiere of Mamoru Hosoda's Ame & Yuki Film". Anime News Network. 2012-05-30. Retrieved 2012-05-30. 
  9. ^ "The Wolf Children Ame and Yuki". HIFF Website. Retrieved 18 September 2012. 
  10. ^ ”Wolf Children Newport Beach Film Festival 2013 Screening”
  11. ^ "Vlčí děti" [Wolf Children] (in Czech). Animefest. Retrieved May 24, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Okamikodomo no Ame to Yuki / Wolf Children". Animafest Zagreb. Retrieved May 24, 2013. 
  13. ^ "hyaloplasm" (in Japanese). Retrieved February 8, 2013. 
  14. ^ a b "『海猿』V2で早くも動員200万人突破!『おおかみこども』ピクサー新作超えて2位初登場!【映画週末興行成績】". Cinema Today (in Japanese). 2012-07-24. Retrieved 2012-09-18. 
  15. ^ "『海猿』が『仮面ライダー』から首位奪還!本年度No.1『テルマエ・ロマエ』超えまでわずか!【映画週末興行成績】". Cinema Today (in Japanese). 2012-08-14. Retrieved 2012-09-18. 
  16. ^ "2012年度(平成24年)興収10億円以上番組 (平成25年1月発表)". Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan, Inc. (in Japanese). 2013-03-30. Retrieved 2013-05-30. 
  17. ^ "Wolf Children". Metacritic. CBS. Retrieved January 19, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Okami kodomo no ame to yuki (The Wolf Children Ame and Yuki)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved January 19, 2014. 
  19. ^ a b c d e Schilling, Mark (2012-07-20). "'Okami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki (Wolf Children)'". The Japan Times. Retrieved 2012-09-08. 
  20. ^ Sotinel, Par Thomas (2012-08-28). ""Les Enfants-Loups, Ame et Yuki" : une épopée intime dans un Japon oublié". Le Monde (in French). Retrieved 2012-09-08. 
  21. ^ Chua, Dave (2012-09-06). "Movie Review: Wolf Children". Mypaper. AsiaOne. Retrieved 2012-09-08. 
  22. ^ Michael, Chris (October 24, 2013). "Wolf Children – review". The Guardian. Retrieved December 25, 2013. 
  23. ^ Turan, Kenneth (September 26, 2013). "Review: Mamoru Hosoda's 'Wolf Children' anime is wild". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 25, 2013. 
  24. ^ Greydanus, Steven D. (January 17, 2014). "SDG’s Top Films of 2013". National Catholic Register. Retrieved August 25, 2014. 
  25. ^ "Japan Academy Prize (2013)" (in Japanese). Japan Academy Prize. Retrieved March 12, 2013. 
  26. ^ "Wolf Children, 'Combustible' Win at 67th Mainichi Film Awards". Anime News Network. February 7, 2013. Retrieved March 25, 2013. 
  27. ^ "Wolf Children, SAO, Kuroko's Basketball Win Tokyo Anime Awards". Anime News Network. March 24, 2013. Retrieved March 25, 2013. 
  28. ^ Prize winners - Films from the South 2012. Films from the South.
  29. ^ Groves, Sara (19 March 2013). "NEW YORK INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN’S FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES 2013 AWARD WINNERS". New York International Children's Film Festival. Retrieved 20 March 2013. 
  30. ^ "Wolf Children Wins 'Best Anime Disc' Award from Magazine". Anime News Network. 1 May 2014. Retrieved 2 May 2014. 

External links[edit]