by Maral Agnerian,

Wolf's Rain


Wolf's Rain
Hundreds of years from now, most of the Earth is a ruined wasteland and people live in a few domed cities. Legends speak of how wolves know where Paradise lies at the end of the world. But wolves, along with most wild animals, have been extinct for 200 years...or so everyone believes. In fact, a few wolves still survive, disguised as humans, eking out a living in the alleyways and gutters of human cities. All this changes when a strange new wolf named Kiba arrives from the wilderness, drawn by the scent of the Flower Daughter, a mysterious girl held captive by human scientists.
A lot of people have been waiting impatiently for Yoko Kanno's new project, and judging from the first 4 episodes of Wolf's Rain, they won't be disappointed.

Wolf's Rain deals very delicately with the issues of human-animal relations as well as the very real issue of environmental destruction. It's not pounded into our heads, though--it's just the reality of the world these characters live in. The wolves have nowhere left to go--they can scavenge for food in the city, or leave it to face an empty wasteland and only a vague hope of freedom and happiness.

The art is excellent, with subtle, mostly monochromatic colours and beautiful sweeping vistas adding to the sense of gloom and melancholy. The animation isn't fancy with jaw-dropping CGI or anything, but it's clean and smooth and quite sufficient for the needs of the show. As for the music, Yoko Kanno works her usual magic, creating a score both beautiful and mournful. There's one track in particular that sounds eerily like wolves howling (even though it's not), and will send chills up your spine. The voice acting is also good, especially the seiyuu for Tsume, who has a definitely 'wolf'-like timbre to his voice.

The characterisation is truly excellent for humans and wolves alike. Best of all, the wolves act like wolves, not like some anthropomorphic furry creatures. They may look like humans much of the time, but it's clear they're not human. Fangirls will be pleased by the cool bishounen wolf characters, but thankfully the writers have avoided resorting to excessive cheese or angst. It's certainly a nice change as far as bishounen are concerned.

The pacing is good--there are occasional slow moments but it's never boring, and the introspection is nicely balanced with exciting action sequences. It's a bit reminiscent in style to the darker episodes of Cowboy Bebop--melancholy, dark, understated, and very powerful. There are a few questionable plot elements that come up with the problem of wolves-that-look-like-people, such as when they are required to do something that would obviously require fingers (like use a key), but it's a small gripe and doesn't really detract from the rest of the show.

Wolf's Rain is absorbing and fascinating, with interesting characters, a novel plot and brilliant music, and will undoubtedly get picked up by somebody very soon. Definitely recommended.
Overall : A
Story : A
Animation : B+
Art : A-
Music : A

+ Interesting story and characters, excellent music
A few plot anachronisms

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Production Info:
Series Director: Tensai Okamura
Script: Keiko Nobumoto
Miya Asakawa
Touko Machida
Keiko Nobumoto
Tensai Okamura
Ichiro Okouchi
Dai Sato
Aya Yoshinaga
Masahiro Ando
Hiroyuki Nishimura
Tensai Okamura
Manjiro Oshio
Jun'ichi Sakata
Yoshiyuki Takei
Kenji Yasuda
Episode Director:
Masahiro Ando
Hiroyuki Kanbe
Masaki Kitamura
Tomoyuki Kurokawa
Masayuki Kurosawa
Tomoki Kyoda
Kunihiro Mori
Tensai Okamura
Ikurō Satō
Koji Sawai
Yoshiyuki Takei
Akitoshi Yokoyama
Takashi Asahi
Tomoyuki Asakawa
Bernardo Bessler
Michael Bessler
Steve Conte
Ricardo Costa
Otohiko Fujita
Lula Galvão
Fernando Gama
Adriano Giffoni
Chikanari Gokan
Ilaria Graziano
Tomonao Hara
Masami Horisawa
Tsuneo Imahori
Masakazu Ishibashi
Yoko Kanno
Mario Klemens
Mauricio Maestro
Carlos Malta
Francesco Marini
Hiroyuki Minami
Tutty Moreno
Chris Mosdell
Claudio Nucci
Pascoal Perrota
Raju Ramayya
Alceu Reis
Yasuo Sano
Masaharu Satō
Masatsugu Shinozaki
Satoshi Shoji
Ronaldo Silva
Akira Sotoyama
Marie-Christine Springuel
Yosuke Sugimoto
Marcos Suzano
Midori Takada
Shoji Togame
David Tygel
Keishi Urata
Hitoshi Watanabe
Original creator: Keiko Nobumoto
Character Design: Toshihiro Kawamoto
Art Director: Atsushi Morikawa
Animation Director:
Koichi Horikawa
Takeshi Itou
Tomoaki Kado
Hiroki Kanno
Toshihiro Kawamoto
Takahiro Komori
Masahiro Koyama
Shigeki Kuhara
Ayumi Kurashima
Kenji Mizuhata
Toshihiro Nakajima
Satoshi Ohsawa
Naoyuki Onda
Hiroshi Osaka
Tsunenori Saito
Takashi Tomioka
Mechanical design: Shinji Aramaki
Art design:
Tomoaki Okada
Shingo Takeba
Sound Director: Kazuhiro Wakabayashi
Director of Photography: Kosuke Arakawa
Executive producer: Masahiko Minami
Go Haruna
Masahiko Minami
Minoru Takanashi

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Wolf's Rain (TV)

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