I’m a huge fan of Mamoru Hosoda’s Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo and Summer Wars, with the former being one my favorite anime film. Although this film doesn’t place it on my favorite list, it doesn’t mean I didn’t like it nor it lacked anything major. It also took me a while to watch it, but I finally did a few months ago. I’ve seen numerous .gif’s at Tumblr when it first came out but not enough to be exactly spoiled.
This film is about the life of a single mother. You ask, what’s so different about this movie about single-motherhood among the many other TV/films out there? The twist of it all is that Hana, the main character, mothered wolf pups. Well, not exactly like wolf wolf pups. They are half-human, half-wolves, with the wolf genes coming from their father who died tragically at the first quarter of the movie. Being a single parent is already a struggle in itself, and to add that they are wolf pups. Hana had to really study from animal books how she can raise them, but those books can only help so much because they aren’t fully one or the other kind.
This movie actually hits me on a personal level, which is why it didn’t have to do too much to make me bawl my eyes out. The pacing of the story was relatively ok. First quarter of the movie, it did fill slightly rushed, but then, we weren’t focusing on how Hana and Ookami fell in love anyway. After Hana and her kids move, there were some physical struggles they had to deal with–such as, fixing their house, finding their means of living (food-wise), etc.. However, those were dealt with through the help of the townsfolk. What I think that gave Hana a heavy heart is raising her children–the emotional side of it all. With this, the film tackled identity. Thoughts like “What is the right thing to do?” “Should I do this because it’s ‘normal’ or should I do that because that’s what my gut tells me?” “I want to do this, but…” were talked about through their daily troubles. The characters were very realistic, which is always a nice thing. (I mean, disregarding the fact the Ame and Yuki are half-wolves too.)
Actually the ending did hurt me quite a bit, and my sister was furious. (lol) She kept saying how inconsiderate the son was. I guess, in a way he is, looking from one side of the coin. However, I wasn’t exactly that surprised. That’s what I thought a lot of boys in reality would end up deciding, to assure their place in this world…? (By any means, I’m not placing any gender in stereotypes.) I thought Ame did feel constraint from living double lives wherein he could be free in the mountains, and take up the alpha role.
But come on, letting your mom go through that just to find you? She was worried sick. Then left her like that? Wow.
Accompanying the story was a nicely done background art. Character design and animation were at most average, but then again, I’ve seen Sadamoto Yoshiyuki’s works. Nothing you should pick on, really. However, I still hoped a balance on both background and characters since the latter fall in comparison to the former. The credits’ song is a good pick to conclude the tone of the overall film. The voice cast is ok, but not strikingly great nor my favorite.
If you think about it, the story is quite simple. There’s nothing overly complicated about it, but it’s because the way it was told made it compelling. It hit the right emotions when it needed to so it didn’t feel “cheesy” or too much.
Sound/VA cast: 3/5
Note: This post was initially written on October 11, 2015, but finished as of today January 11, 2016.