Although Japanese anime was the first thing that got me really interested in Japanese culture, the more I studied Japanese the more I learned to appreciate other media such as Japanese novels, dramas, and (live action) movies.
Having said that, once in awhile I still get in the mood to enjoy some high-quality anime from Japan, and “Wolf Children” was a great way to satisfy my craving.
Like most of my reviews I won’t go deep into any of the story or be too nitpicky about little things. My main goal is to tell you whether something is worth watching (or reading) and the basic reasons why.
This movie was quite certainly very worth watching, with it’s beautiful backgrounds, creative music, and universal themes. Above all, there was a sense of what I would call naked innocence persistent throughout the movie – a style of storytelling that isn’t showy but instead gets to the heart of things.
If the above paragraph sounds a bit vague, it was supposed to, but let me put it another way. Some of the more touching scenes in this movie (and there are several) remind me of “Grave of the Fireflies”, and others of a connection with nature present in some of the Ghibli films.
This movie is also useful for those studying Japanese, since there is much dialog involving children which is easier to figure out than average adult-dialog. If you don’t know Japanese don’t fret, since the subtitle translations were pretty well done (I only saw a handful of lines that were not to my liking).
I could go into detail about some of the good reviews this movie has received, or the box office numbers, but really that would just waste your time. Go out and rent this, or even better, buy the Blu-Ray so you can see it again and again. If you have kids even better – my son really enjoyed watching this.
The director, Mamoru Hosada, also worked on the anime titles “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time” and “Summer Wars” which are both great films, be sure to see them if you haven’t already.