Japanese release poster
|Directed by||Mamoru Hosoda|
|Produced by||Yuichiro Saito
|Screenplay by||Satoko Okudera
|Story by||Mamoru Hosoda|
|Music by||Takagi Masakatsu|
|Editing by||Shigeru Nishiyama|
|Running time||117 minutes|
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. The film stars the voices of Aoi Miyazaki, Takao Osawa, Haru Kuroki and Yukito Nishii. In Wolf Children, Hana falls in love with a Wolfman. After the Wolfman's death, Hana decides to move to a rural town to continue raising her two wolf children Ame and Yuki.
For the production of the film Hosoda established Studio Chizu, a studio that co-produced the film along with Madhouse. Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, notable for being the character designer for Neon Genesis Evangelion and Fushigi no Umi no Nadia, served as character designer on the film. Wolf Children had its world premiere in Paris on June 25, 2012, and was released on July 21, 2012 in Japan. The film is licensed by Funimation Entertainment in North America and was released on DVD and Blu-ray on November 23, 2013.
The film 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.
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (January 2014)|
Nineteen-year-old college student Hana meets a young man who sneaks into her classes for lessons and falls in love with him immediately. They soon start dating. One day, the man reveals his identity to Hana; he is a werewolf and the only surviving descendant of the extinct Japanese wolf. Undeterred by this fact, Hana invites him to live with her, but that night, they mate. A year later, Hana becomes pregnant and she decides not to visit a hospital out of fear that her child will be born looking like a newborn puppy. Their daughter, Yuki ("Snow"), is born at home on a snowy day. Their son, Ame ("Rain") is born a year after her, on a rainy day. Not long after Ame's birth, Hana's lycanthropic husband disappears. When she goes searching for him, she is devastated to find workers pulling out a wolf's carcass out from a canal, which meant he was killed accidentally when trying to find food for his children. She is deeply saddened from the loss of her husband, but she decides to raise her children alone.
Hana finds living in the city is rather difficult: Yuki often becomes a wolf constantly, and sometimes Ame would just cry constantly, for no reason. Eventually she was visited by social workers claiming Her children had never had any shots or vaccines: Hana feared for Yuki, as she did not want them becoming wolves in public. So then she and her children move to the countryside, and she buys an abandoned house, that is rent free but needs lots of work.
Hana gets down to work immediately, repairing the house and trying to grow crops. Skeptical of her at first, the other villagers warm up to her and help her to settle in. An elderly man who treats newcomers harshly even shows Hana how to grow her crops. At the same time, Hana tries to find ways to educate her children about wolf survival in the wild. She eventually gets a job as an assistant in a nature reserve to learn more about nature. One snowy day after the family goes into the forest for a run, Ame (in his wolf form) finds the will to chase after a kingfisher. However, Ame loses his footing and falls into a stream, nearly drowning before being pulled out by Yuki. Nevertheless Ame gains confidence in himself.
When Yuki and Ame reach school-going age Yuki begs her mother to send her to elementary. Hana is worried about sending Yuki to school due to her frequent transformations. After days of crying, whining, and begging, Hana accepts on one condition: they must never transform into wolves in front of people. Although Yuki does not fit well into the school environment initially due to her background, she soon adapts and makes many new friends at school. However, Ame does not adapt very well and he eventually stops attending and frequently wanders into the woods behind their house. Later, Hana discovers that Ame is taking lessons from an old fox called Sensei about hunting and survival in the wild.
In school, Yuki's class receives a new transfer student, Souhei. He immediately asks Yuki if she has dogs based on her natural body scent. Concerned that he will expose her identity, Yuki avoids him but Souhei pursues her. Eventually, Yuki transforms into her wolf form from anxiety, and she scratches Souhei's ear with her claws. Hana meets with Yuki, Souhei, and his mother. Souhei says that a wolf had hurt him to the confusion of his mother, causing Yuki to decide not to attend school. Moved by Souhei's persistence in sending her homework and foodstuffs every day, Yuki eventually returns to school, and even becomes good friends with Souhei.
Hana begins to notice Ame acting strangely, including getting into a fight with Yuki when she claims he must return to school. Later on, Ame tells Hana that Sensei has broke his leg and he may die from it, so he must take his place in the forest. A fierce storm manifests while Yuki is at school. Ame disappears into the forest with Hana chasing after him. Hana searches for Ame in the forest while Yuki waits to be picked up by Hana. Yuki and Souhei are the only students who were left behind. There, Yuki tells Souhei her secret by transforming into a wolf after opening the window. Souhei tells Yuki that he already knew she was a wolf and that he will continue to keep her secret.
Hana falls down a slope in the forest. As Ame, in his human form, carries her to a parking lot, she has a vision of her husband praising her for how she raised their children, and that Ame has found his own path in life. She awakens just in time to see Ame turn into a full grown adult wolf, and run into the mountains. However, when he leaves she is able to accept it. Back home, Yuki has moved out into the dorm rooms in Junior High school. Ame's howls can be heard far and wide in the forest, therefore having Hana know Ame is alive. Although Hana lives alone now, she says that raising her wolf children for twelve years was like a fairy tale: She had raised them well.
- Aoi Miyazaki as Hana
- Takao Osawa as Ookami (The Wolfman)
- Haru Kuroki as Yuki
- Yukito Nishii as Ame
- Momoka Ono as Yuki (Child)
- Amon Kabe as Ame (Child)
- Takuma Hiraoka as Sōhei Fujii
- Megumi Hayashibara as Mrs. Fujii
- Tadashi Nakamura as Hosokawa
- Tamio Ōki as Yamaoka
- Shota Sometani as Tanabe-sensei
- Mitsuki Tanimura as Doi's wife
- Kumiko Aso as Horita's wife
- Bunta Sugawara as Nirasaki
- Tomie Kataoka as Nirasaki's daughter
- Colleen Clinkenbeard as Hana
- David Matranga as Ookami (The Wolfman)
- Jad Saxton as Yuki
- Micah Solusod as Ame
- Lara Woodhull as Yuki (Child)
- Alison Viktorin as Ame (Child)
- Jason Liebrecht as Sōhei
- Lydia Mackay as Sōhei's Mother
- Jerry Russell as Grandpa Nirasaki
- Kenny Green as Mr. Nirasaki
- Wendy Powell as Mrs. Nirasaki
- Sonny Strait as Mr. Tanabe
- Bob Magruder as Uncle Doi
- Linda Leonard as Aunt Doi
- Kate Oxley as Mrs. Doi
- Mark Stoddard as Uncle Hotta
- Melinda Wood Allen as Aunt Hotta
- Jamie Marchi as Mrs. Hotta
- R Bruce Elliott as Hosokawa
- Bill Flynn as Yamaoka
- Kent Williams as Tendo
- Mike McFarland as Kuroda
- J.C. Miller as Radio Announcer
- Leah Clark as Shino
- Kristi Kang as Keno
- Alexis Tipton as Shouko
- Felecia Angelle as Bunko
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. This film was first released in France on June 25, 2012, marking its international debut. It was subsequently released in Japan on July 21, 2012. The film made its US premiere at the 2012 Hawaii International Film Festival. 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.
In addition to the film, two novelizations and a manga written by Hosoda (with art by Yū (優?)) were released by Kadokawa Shoten. 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
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. It attracted an audience of 276,326 throughout the weekend, thus grossing a total of 365.14 million yen. 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.
In total, Wolf Children grossed 4.2 billion yen, making the 5th highest grossing movie in Japan in 2012.
Wolf Children received positive reviews from film critics. 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". Moreover, he said that the director "has integrated fantastic elements into otherwise everyday settings". However, Schilling added that he felt that this film was "on the conventional and predictable side". 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". Overall, Schilling gave the film a rating of 3 out of 5 stars.
The French newspaper Le Monde rated this film as a "Excellent", and gave it a rating of five out of five stars. Singapore newspaper 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." 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." 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. 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."
Wolf Children won the 2013 Japan Academy Prize for Animation of the Year, the 2012 Mainichi Film Award for Best Animation Film, and the 2013 Animation of the Year award at TAF. 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. Wolf Children won an Audience Award at 2013 New York International Children's Film Festival.
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- Prize winners - Films from the South 2012. Films from the South.
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- Official website (Japanese)
- Official website (English)
- Wolf Children (film) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- Wolf Children at the Internet Movie Database
- Ôkami Kodomo No Ame to Yuki at the Big Cartoon DataBase
- English Dubbed Trailer For Manga Entertainment UK release on 23 December 2013