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.
Theatrical release poster
Japaneseおおかみこどもの雨と雪
HepburnŌkami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki
Directed byMamoru Hosoda
Produced by
  • Yūichirō Saitō
  • Takuya Itō
  • Takashi Watanabe
Screenplay by
Story byMamoru Hosoda
Starring
Music byMasakatsu Takagi
Edited byShigeru Nishiyama
Production
companies
Distributed byToho
Release date
  • June 25, 2012 (2012-06-25) (France)
  • July 21, 2012 (2012-07-21) (Japan)
Running time
117 minutes
CountryJapan
LanguageJapanese
Box office$55 million[1]

Wolf Children (Japanese: おおかみこどもの雨と雪, Hepburn: Ōkami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki, lit. "Wolf Children: Ame and Yuki") is a 2012 Japanese anime film directed and co-written by Mamoru Hosoda.[2][3] This is the second original feature film directed by Hosoda, and the first work written by him. The film stars the voices of Aoi Miyazaki, Takao Osawa and Haru Kuroki. The story's central theme is "parent and child,"[4] and it depicts 13 years in the life of a 19-year-old college student who meets a werewolf and raises the resulting half-human half-wolf siblings following his death, Ame and Yuki, who grow up and find their own path in life.

To create the film, director Hosoda established Studio Chizu. 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]

In Tokyo, college student Hana falls in love with an enigmatic man. The man reveals that he can transform into a wolf, and they later have two wolf children: a daughter, Yuki, and a son, Ame. Soon after, their father is killed in an accident while hunting food for the children.

Hana's life as a single mother is difficult; Yuki and Ame constantly switch between their human and wolf forms, and Hana has to hide them from the world. After she receives noise complaints and a visit from 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 a dilapidated house, but struggles to sustain the family on their own crops. With help from a strict old man named Nirasaki, she learns to farm sufficiently and becomes friends with some of the locals.

One winter day, Ame almost drowns in a river after trying to hunt a kingfisher, but Yuki rescues him, and Ame becomes more confident in his wolf abilities. Yuki begs her mother to let her go to school like other children. Hana accepts on the condition that Yuki keeps her wolf nature secret. Yuki soon makes friends at school. Meanwhile, Ame is more interested in the forest and takes lessons from an elderly fox about survival in the wild.

In fourth grade, Yuki's class receives a new transfer student, Sōhei, who realizes something is strange about her. When he pursues and harasses her, Yuki gets angry, transforms into a wolf, and inadvertently injures him, leaving a scar on his right ear. At the meeting with their parents and teachers, Sōhei tells them a wolf attacked him, absolving Yuki of the blame. The two become friends.

Yuki and Ame fight over whether they are human or wolf. Two years later, a fierce storm gathers and Yuki's school is let out early. As Hana is about to leave to pick her up, Ame disappears into the forest to help his dying fox teacher so she follows him. The other children are picked up by their parents, leaving Yuki and Sōhei alone. Yuki shows Sōhei that she can transform into a wolf and it was really her who attacked him. He tells her he already knew, and promises to keep her secret.

As Hana searches for Ame, she slips and falls unconscious. She sees a vision of the children's father, who tells her that Yuki and Ame will find their own paths in life, and that she raised them well. Ame finds Hana and carries her to safety. She awakens to see Ame fully transform into a wolf and run into the mountains. She realizes he has found his own path and happily but tearfully accepts his goodbye.

One year later, Yuki leaves home to move into a junior high school dormitory. Ame's wolf howls are heard far and wide in the forest. Hana, living alone now, reflects that raising her wolf children was like a fairy tale, and feels proud to have raised them well.

Voice cast[edit]

Character Cast
Japanese English
Hana () Aoi Miyazaki Colleen Clinkenbeard
The Wolfman (, Ookamiotoko) Takao Osawa David Matranga
Yuki () Haru Kuroki
Momoka Ono (child)
Jad Saxton
Lara Woodhull (child)
Ame () Yukito Nishii
Amon Kabe (child)
Micah Solusod
Alison Viktorin (child)
Sōhei Fujii (藤井 草平, Fujii Sōhei) Takuma Hiraoka Jason Liebrecht
Sōhei's mother (草平の母, Sōhei no haha) Megumi Hayashibara Lydia Mackay
Grandpa Nirasaki (韮崎のおじいちゃん, Nirasaki no ojii-chan) Bunta Sugawara Jerry Russell
Mr. Nirasaki (韮崎の旦那さん, Nirasaki no danna-san) Takashi Kobayashi Kenny Green
Mrs. Nirasaki (韮崎のおばさん, Nirasaki no oba-san) Tomie Kataoka Wendy Powell
Tanabe (田辺) Shota Sometani Sonny Strait
Hosokawa (細川) Tadashi Nakamura R. Bruce Elliott
Yamaoka (山岡) Tamio Ōki Bill Flynn
Tendō (天童) Hajime Inoue Kent Williams
Kuroda (黒田) N/A Mike McFarland
Horita (堀田) Kumiko Asō Jamie Marchi
Uncle Horita N/A Mark Stoddard
Aunt Horita N/A Melinda Wood Allen
Doi (土肥) Mitsuki Tanimura Kate Oxley
Uncle Doi N/A Bob Magruder
Aunt Doi N/A Linda Leonard
Shino (信乃) Rino Kobayashi Leah Clark
Bunko (文子) Chika Arakawa Felecia Angelle
Sōko (荘子) Fūka Haruna Alexis Tipton
Keno (毛野) Mone Kamishiraishi Kristi Kang
Masashi () Shunya Kaneko N/A
Masanori (礼儀) Ruiki Satō N/A
Tadatomo (忠与) Tensei Matsuoka Eric Vale
Radio Announcer (ラジオ・アナウンサー, Rajio anaunsā) Taichi Masu
(Nippon TV announcer)
Jason C. Miller

Production[edit]

One of Hosoda's motivations for working on this film was that people around him had started raising children, and he "saw them shining as they became parents." In an interview with Anime! Anime! in February 2013, Hosoda explained why he chose the setting of Wolf Children despite the fact that it is a story about raising a child: "It is generally taken for granted that children are raised and then grow up. But for the actual people involved, it is not natural at all. In order for the audience to share this feeling, I thought it would be good if we all shared an experience that no one else had (raising a werewolf child)."[7]

In an interview with Famitsu, Hosoda said, "I used to take it for granted that people would have children. However, after getting married, I began to realize that raising children in the city is a hardship in terms of the environment, such as public support, and that living in the countryside is not necessarily easy, and that there is a hardship of not having anyone of the same age. I wanted to make a film about such endurance." Human parenting cannot be done in complete isolation, and the reason for choosing wolves as the material for the project was that "wolves are very family-oriented, and they are disciplined animals that have a leader who leads the pack and lives with the whole group in mind."[8]

The setting of the early part of the story, "a national university on the outskirts of Tokyo," is modeled after Hitotsubashi University in Kunitachi, Tokyo.[9][10] In addition, the countryside where Hana moves to is modeled after the undeveloped woodland in Toyama Prefecture. The backdrop of the film depicts the landscape of Nakaniikawa District's Kamiichi, Hosoda's hometown, and the neighboring town of Tateyama, and it was divulged that the former mayor of Kamiichi, Naoshi Itō, approached Hosoda to "make a film based on the town." The old house that served as the model for Hana's house was a private home owned by Masao Yamazaki, who lived in Kamiichi. In 2007, five years before the movie was released, Yamazaki passed away, and the house was considered for demolition, but it was chosen as the model for Hana's house, and after the movie became a big hit, it was opened to the public by the owners (relatives of Yamazaki) and volunteers (as of 2015).[11] The elementary school that Ame and Yuki attended was modeled after Tanaka Elementary School (only the gymnasium is still in existence). The yakitori with sauce that appears in the film is oidare yakitori, a local dish from Ueda, Nagano, where Hosoda's wife's parents live.

Release[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.[12] This film's premiere was in France on June 25, 2012, marking its international debut.[13]

It was subsequently released in Japan on July 21, 2012.[13] The film's Blu-ray and DVD release date for Japan was February 20, 2013. The film had a limited release in the United States on September 27, 2013.[14]

Wolf Children was screened at Animefest 2013 in May in the Czech Republic[15] and at Animafest Zagreb 2013 in June in Croatia.[16]

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.[17] The manga was translated into English by Yen Press and was nominated for the "Best U.S. Edition of International Material—Asia" category at the 2015 Eisner Awards.[18] 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.

  • Mamoru Hosoda Pia, Pia, 10 July 2012, ISBN 9784835621203
  • 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
No. Title Original release date English release date
Wolf Children: Ame & Yuki (light novel) by Mamoru HosodaJune 22, 2012[19]
978-4-0410-0323-7
May 21, 2019[20]
978-1-9753-5686-6
Wolf Children: Ame & Yuki (manga) by Yū (illustrations) and Mamoru HosodaJuly 14, 2012[21]
978-4-0412-0321-7
March 25, 2014[22]
978-0-3164-0165-4

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 Pixar's animation Brave, which debuted in Japan on the same weekend.[23] It attracted an audience of 276,326 throughout the weekend, grossing 365.14 million yen.[23] The film subsequently surpassed Hosoda's previous work Summer Wars' gross of around 1.6 billion yen during the weekend of 12–13 August 2012.[24] In total, Wolf Children grossed 4.2 billion yen, making it the fifth-highest-grossing movie in Japan in 2012.[25]

Critical reception[edit]

The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reports that 94% of critics have given the film a positive review based on 18 reviews, with an average rating of 8.46/10.[26] On Metacritic, the film has an weighted average score of 71 out of 100 based on 5 critics, signifying "generally favorable reviews."[27]

Mark Schilling of The Japan Times gave the film three out of five stars and wrote 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". He felt the film was "on the conventional and predictable side ... appealing to Jane Eyre fans in one scene, Call of the Wild fans in the next" and criticized its "well-worn, stereotypical rails".[28]

Thomas Sotinel of Le Monde gave the film five out of five stars.[29] Dave Chua of Mypaper also praised the film's "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."[30] Chris Michael of The Guardian gave the film four out of five, writing 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."[31] Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times described it as "an odd story, told in a one-of-a-kind style that feels equal parts sentimental, somber and strange," and felt the English language performances were inappropriately sweet and simplistic.[32] Steven D. Greydanus, writing in the National Catholic Register, named the film a runner-up in its list of the best films of 2013, writing: "Despite brief early problematic content and an ambiguous climactic letdown, the main story is magic."[33]

Awards[edit]

Wolf Children won the 2013 Japan Academy Prize for Animation of the Year,[34] the 2012 Mainichi Film Award for Best Animation Film,[35] and the 2013 Animation of the Year award at TAF.[36] It won two awards at the Oslo Films from the South festival in Norway: the main award, the Silver Mirror, and the audience award.[37] It won an Audience Award at 2013 New York International Children's Film Festival[38] and the 2014 Best Anime Disc award from Home Media Magazine.[39]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Okami kodomo no ame to yuki (2012)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 26, 2015.
  2. ^ "Summer Wars' Mamoru Hosoda Creates Anime Film for July". Anime News Network. 2011-12-13. Retrieved 2012-01-17.
  3. ^ "Ame & Yuki Film by Summer Wars' Hosoda Slated for July 21". Anime News Network. 2012-01-16. Retrieved 2012-01-17.
  4. ^ "ジブリの好敵手になるか? 細田守監督最新作『おおかみこどもの雨と雪』2012年7月公開決定". ORICON STYLE. 2011-12-13. Retrieved 2011-12-13.
  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. ^ 映画『おおかみこどもの雨と雪』細田守(監督・脚本・原作)インタビュー 前編(アニメ!アニメ!)
  8. ^ 細田守監督最新作『おおかみこどもの雨と雪』監督直撃インタビュー(ファミ通.com)
  9. ^ "【公開中!】映画「おおかみこどもの雨と雪」【国立も舞台のモデルに】". ビジテ!国立―国立市の地域プロモーションサイト. Archived from the original on 2012-08-24. Retrieved 2019-09-07.
  10. ^ "映画「おおかみこどもの雨と雪」 一橋大学編". 国立ハッピースポット. 2012-07-22. Retrieved 2019-09-07.
  11. ^ "Ookami kodomo no Hana no ie". Archived from the original on 2015-02-12. Retrieved 2015-01-25.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ a b "Paris to Host World Premiere of Mamoru Hosoda's Ame & Yuki Film". Anime News Network. 2012-05-30. Retrieved 2012-05-30.
  14. ^ Wolf Children (2012) - IMDb, retrieved 2019-08-10
  15. ^ "Vlčí děti" [Wolf Children] (in Czech). Animefest. Retrieved May 24, 2013.
  16. ^ "Okamikodomo no Ame to Yuki / Wolf Children". Animafest Zagreb. Retrieved May 24, 2013.
  17. ^ "hyaloplasm" (in Japanese). Retrieved February 8, 2013.
  18. ^ "All You Need Is Kill, In Clothes Called Fat, Master Keaton, One-Punch Man, Mizuki's Showa, Wolf Children Nominated for Eisner Awards". Anime News Network. April 22, 2015. Retrieved November 8, 2015.
  19. ^ "おおかみこどもの雨と雪" (in Japanese). Kadokawa Shoten. Retrieved 2019-05-10.
  20. ^ "Wolf Children: Ame & Yuki (light novel)". Yen Press. Retrieved 2019-05-10.
  21. ^ "おおかみこどもの雨と雪 (1)". Kadokawa Comic Ace (in Japanese). Kadokawa Shoten. Retrieved 2019-05-10.
  22. ^ "Wolf Children: Ame & Yuki". Yen Press. Retrieved 2019-05-10.
  23. ^ 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.
  24. ^ "『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.
  25. ^ 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. Archived from the original on 2014-11-02. Retrieved 2013-05-30.
  26. ^ "Okami kodomo no ame to yuki (The Wolf Children Ame and Yuki) (2012)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved November 30, 2019.
  27. ^ "Wolf Children Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved January 19, 2014.
  28. ^ Schilling, Mark (2012-07-20). "Okami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki (Wolf Children)". The Japan Times. Retrieved 2012-09-08.
  29. ^ 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.
  30. ^ Chua, Dave (2012-09-06). "Movie Review: Wolf Children". Mypaper. AsiaOne. Retrieved 2012-09-08.
  31. ^ Michael, Chris (October 24, 2013). "Wolf Children – review". The Guardian. Retrieved December 25, 2013.
  32. ^ Turan, Kenneth (September 26, 2013). "Review: Mamoru Hosoda's 'Wolf Children' anime is wild". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 25, 2013.
  33. ^ Greydanus, Steven D. (January 17, 2014). "SDG's Top Films of 2013". National Catholic Register. Retrieved August 25, 2014.
  34. ^ "Japan Academy Prize (2013)" (in Japanese). Japan Academy Prize. Retrieved March 12, 2013.
  35. ^ "Wolf Children, 'Combustible' Win at 67th Mainichi Film Awards". Anime News Network. February 7, 2013. Retrieved March 25, 2013.
  36. ^ "Wolf Children, SAO, Kuroko's Basketball Win Tokyo Anime Awards". Anime News Network. March 24, 2013. Retrieved March 25, 2013.
  37. ^ Prize winners - Films from the South 2012. Films from the South.
  38. ^ Groves, Sara (19 March 2013). "NEW YORK INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN'S FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES 2013 AWARD WINNERS" (PDF). New York International Children's Film Festival. Retrieved 20 March 2013.
  39. ^ "Wolf Children Wins 'Best Anime Disc' Award from Magazine". Anime News Network. 1 May 2014. Retrieved 2 May 2014.

External links[edit]