Review: Wolf Children (2012)

Director: Mamoru Hosoda

Starring: Aoi Miyazaki, Takao Ohsawa, Haru Kuroki

Release Date: 25th October 2013 (UK)

Wolf Children is the most recently released film from Mamoru Hosoda, the much-admired director of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and Summer Wars. This movie is charming and simply lovely. The art style is breath-taking, the music is fitting, the characters are extremely likable and the story is very, very heart-warming.

The movie follows Hana (Aoi Miyazaki), a 19-year-old student who falls in love with the mysterious wolfman, Ookami (Takao Ohsawa), the last of his kind who can shape-shift into a wolf at will. Despite the revelation, they fall in love and start a family together with their two children; Yuki and Ame. However, when the wolfman suddenly passes away her life changes forever as Hana makes the decision to move to a rural town to raise her two children on her own.

The main focus in this movie is the hardships that the family go through to try and live a normal life. Children can be quite difficult to handle at times, but as Yuki and Ame are far from normal, switching from human to wolf at random times and with little control this is on a whole new level.

Hana gives Yuki and Ame the opportunity of choosing their own paths in life; the path of a wolf or the path of a human. As she struggles to keep their identities a secret and to do whatever she can to support her family, lots of problems arise as she teaches her children about life. The way the movie handles the children is amazing. When the children get sick, are they supposed to be taken to the doctor or a vet? What do you do when the landlord wants to evict you for breaking your agreement on keeping pets in a no-pets apartment? And the most important question, how do you stop their secret from being exposed  to the world? These are the types of questions the movie throws at Hana and the audience, with the solutions being both emotional and entertaining.

Wolf Children is not a very fast paced film, so the audience can get to know more about the characters and start a bond with them, especially towards Hana. Mamoru Hosoda does a great job in setting the main character for this movie as you start to care a lot for her as she has to look after two children and she doesn’t really know anything about half of them when their wolf sides come out. This film can be suitable for all ages, adults who have children of their own will be able to relate to the hardships of parenting and protecting their loved ones, so with this films colourful and stunning animation, this film is a definite must see!