• Wolf's Rain


    published in Empire No.65, Sydney
    Complete Collection


    If one checked the alt/indie rock charts over the last few years, one would note hardly any cool band seems to not have the word 'wolf' in their name. Anime has exploited wolves as much as any other culture, and Wolf's Rain plugs into the worldwide association of wolves with outsiders, loners and nomadic teams. It is this latter aspect that Wolf's Rain especially relates to, extending that mythology into a melancholic saga of a wolf pack who in a future devastated version of Earth take human form and embark on a long and winding trail toward the paradise realm of Rakuen. The 'team ethic' narrative typical of anime provides the recognizable shape of this series' story, yet Wolf's Rain is refreshingly free of the obvious mechanisms which profile its characters in stilted fashion. Perhaps what aids Wolf's Rain in creating a more complex net of characterization is the way the story shifts continually from showing the wolves in animal and human form. The turns, changes and transformations between the characters' states perfectly reflects their schizophrenic composure. The simmering tensions within Tsume and the compassionate learning curve undertaken by Kiba are central paths to the pack's turbulent bonding. The animated medium is well suited to any act of metamorphosis, and breath-taking moments pepper Wolf's Rain. The wolves strike bold and inspiring poses throughout, drawn and made to move with a high level of craftsmanship that imbues this anime with an engaging momentum. From savage action battles accenting the wolves' ability to jump, charge and hurtle through space, to achingly depicted details evoking the pain that wracks their bodies on their long haul, Wolf's Rain melds the precision of the animal documentary with the tone of Japanese haiku poetry. An impressive and emotionally charged anime.