Wolf’s Rain is an anime I started watching because I had nothing to do, but ended up seeing all the episodes on one run. Surprisingly for me, the futuristic idea and the shapeshifting did not manage to put me off the plot and idea of the show and I enjoyed it quite a lot. Action, beautiful images and a really nice soundtrack (a thing I rarely take such a notice of) are the key ingredients to the story, adapted in Keiko Nobumoto and Toshitsugu Iida’s manga.
The wolves – a terrifying power that had once ruled over humanity, spreading fear across the population. 200 years ago, the last wolf was supposedly gone and with that, the rule of the human race began on Earth. However, things are never as they seem and this is proven by the events showed by Wolf’s Rain.
After 200 years of hiding behind a human appearance, the wolves finally reappear. Kiba (meaning “fang” in Japanese) is a young man… a lone wolf who is looking for an idealistic understanding of peace and tranquillity, a paradise that only the Lunar Flowers can take him to. Entering the city, he is in the dark about what is going on there, but also does not care. That is, however, until he understands that the smell he has been following is in the centre of one of the laboratories found there. The trace is emitted by Cheza, a creature with human-like appearance who is obviously under strict supervision and surveillance. Doing everything he can, Kiba gets to the girl, but after all the men he defeats and all the battles he has to endure, although reaching the path to his paradise, the young man loses the trace of Cheza once more. This time, she is taken away by a man named Darcia.
More main characters we meet in the faces of the other three wolves Toboe (means “howling” in Japanese), Tsume (means “claw” in Japanese) and Hige (means “whisker” in Japanese). Each of them has a specific character-type and doesn’t forsake it until the very end. They do develop, although the small number of episodes (just 26+ an OVA) and manage to represent their positions in life.
What I liked about the story presented by Wolf’s Rain is definitely the look on wolves. They are not showed as the usual gang of desperate for human attention creatures, as other races are usually present in most anime on a similar topic. They are strong, frightful when they fight and self-centred. They have the means to be better and have achieved it through exercising their wits and muscles.
Kiba has a little romantic side of his and exactly it is the main topic of the story – the paradise he is looking forwards to, which, though, might not be present in the same life he is currently living. The growing of this specific character is a key line in Wolf’s Rain and it has worked out very well. From a little spoiled puppy, although more in mind rather than size, he grows to be a sincere, responsible and organized wolf.
He is not the only one who goes through a change, though; everyone else seems to have the same fate. It is like a main topic of the show as a whole. Tsume, Hige and Toboe go through a transformation of the character too, but the one who surprised me the most was Darcia-sama, the evil character who ended up having the most teary and worthy of the viewer’s acknowledgement history. At least that’s what I think, having looked deeper into this character, I do feel like there is a possibility for everyone to somehow and at some point in time be in his shoes. I just hope that the solution for their problem before leaving this world. As a whole, I am really pleased with the character development of the series and it is the main reason I will be getting my hands on the manga too, when I get to a place where they sell it legally.
Except for the character development I was really, really pleased by the show’s soundtrack. No, I am not such a music fanatic or anything, it was just really exact for the moments it was heard at and the scenes it accompanied. Amore Amaro is one great touch, a deep Italian male voice kept the background moving, penetrating my mind and sticking to my memory. As there is no way to actually feel how correctly chosen they were, I can only play you the most popular song of the two CDs.
OP “Stray” by Steve Conte
The production itself is one of the few that came out in the first year of the new millennium that made sense to me. It is a middle-length anime with decent to good animation, a surprisingly pleasant story and right on the spot soundtrack. It is a production of many companies (Bones, Bandai Visual, Asatsu DK, Fuji TV, Bandai Entertainment) since it became quite a success among the fans of adventures, action anime and fantasy stories.
I personally, admit that I started watching the show rather absentmindedly and unwillingly, but had nothing else to do so I stayed on the first three episodes. It engulfed me in an odd world that I am by no means used to and I ended up enjoying it very much. I really do suggest it to everyone who might like it only because of the adventure, the fantasy that it centres around or for the graphics that I don’t even discuss, but are considered one of the main positive sides of Wolf’s Rain by many other reviewers and otaku.
Images: (c) Studio Bones