Wolf’s Rain Anime Review
Written by: ClayDragon
Not quite paradise, but it comes close.
Wolf’s Rain is a strange show. For a start, the 30-episode anime was made first, with a manga adaptation following. It tells the story of a pack of four wolves, as they search for a plant called the Lunar flower which will lead them to paradise. Oh, and the world is entering a nuclear winter due to fallout from a massive war, there’s a wolf hunter after the pack, and an insane noble is trying to find and claim paradise for himself. Fun times.
Whilst watching the first few episodes, I wasn’t really sure what to think. A lot of the backstory was left unexplained, and a number of the characters felt two-dimensional. However, I was struck by the feeling that Wolf’s Rain was trying to reference Cowboy Bebop on some level. The general tone of the series felt similar, as did some of the setting and characters, at least at first. Of course, this made more sense when I did my research and found out that the writer of Wolf’s Rain also did the screenplay for the Cowboy Bebop anime.
|This is clearly going to be one of those days...|
The pack of wolves is led by a white wolf named Kiba, and consists of three others: Hige, Tsume, and Toboe. At first they just seemed to fulfil the usual roles of characters in a group; there’s the leader, the comic relief, the aloof ally, and the tagalong kid. This wasn’t limited to the main cast though, as almost every character I saw seemed to be hewn from some template. There’s an alcoholic wolf hunter who chases them for personal motives, an obsessive scientist, and her bumbling but well-meaning ex-husband. They’re characters that we’ve seen time and again, and so I just didn’t become as emotionally invested in them as I should have been. On the other hand, the character of Cheza (essentially a human grown from a Lunar flower) was more interesting, as she added some variety to the cast.
|Lord Darcia has a...unique fashion sense.|
The main villain of the story, Lord Darcia, is an interesting bad guy despite us knowing very little about his backstory. We know why he wants to find paradise so much, but we know nothing about how he managed to obtain his wolf’s eye, which is his most distinguishing feature. His motivation is fairly clichéd, but he still manages to be a credible threat despite disappearing halfway through the story (although he does show up permanently in episode 25).
|Elrond, is that you?|
Despite this, the story was enjoyable, at least up until the point where there were four clip-show style episodes in a row, which completely destroyed the momentum. Thankfully, after that, the show seemed to shift gears, and the characters got more development and became a lot more likable. Of particular note is Tomoe, who arguably grew the most as a character, and quickly became one of my favourites.
Sadly, the anime technically ends its run after the 26th episode, although the story continues on in four OVAs, which tie up all the loose ends. They also make this anime have one of the most depressing endings I have ever seen. Seriously, every OVA episode seems to exist purely to deliver a series of punches to your gut.
The use of music in Wolf’s Rain is pretty much spot-on. Every important moment in the show, be it sad, awesome or otherwise, is accompanied by the perfect piece of music that just serves to heighten the emotions. The opening is good, but it isn’t amazing (strangely for an anime, it’s sung completely in English). Also, the scenes shown in the opening will make no sense unless you’ve seen the very end of the final episode.
|What do you mean, it's an invasion of privacy?|
Overall, provided you can get past the fairly slow start, Wolf’s Rain is a fairly solid series. The characterisation is done well, the story is engaging, and it’s filled with emotion. It’s not as good as, say, Cowboy Bebop, but it is definitely worth a watch.
Good Things: Character development is well done.
The background music fits the mood perfectly.
The main characters are all (mostly) likable.
Bad Things: Slow first half.
The massive downer ending.
Got any ideas for an anime I should review? Post your suggestion in the comments below!
ClayDragon is currently studying Physics at university, and is constantly bewildered by it. The main method of contacting him is his Gmail account at email@example.com. The alternative is his Skype account at kyleroulston1993. When not playing games or reading, he can be found with his head in his hands whilst trying in vain to understand quantum physics. He dreams of building his very own armed space station,so he can crush those who oppose him.