Sunday, 10 April 2016

Wolf Children

I was nursing a fairly deep suspicion that the intent to get round to Mamoru Hosoda's Wolfn Children would be a thing that happened way down the line, but here we are. I found the time to get it watched again, and now you can have it. It's done.

The review is done. The film has been done for a while, and available for having for the good majority of that time.

We're a little down the line here, but not as far as I imagined.

Anyway, in much the same way that The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is very much about a girl who leapt through time, Wolf Children is about wolf children. Well, they're part wolf. Wolfier than me at that age. Probably wolfier than most of us.

This one is sort of urban fantasy in a way. Which is sort of a misnomer in this instance, as it isn't really an urban setting. I mean, it starts urban. Like, super urban. Totally not really the point though.

Mamoru Hosoda tells these stories that are the invisible things that are happening in our own world. Mythology in the background noise. We don't notice because we're busy with our own lives, but he brings us up to speed. That is very much what's happening in Wolf Children.

Like, you're buying groceries and swiping right, and that lady down the hall/balcony thing is raising actual wolf children.

It feels real world. It feels like a fantasy story set deep in our real world. The details make it work out like that.

I don't really want to give any of the plot points away, so I'll only say that it's about a family in which the children (of which there are two) have some wolf heritage. Being about a family there are happy things, and there are sad things. That's what happens in families. That's what happens in life.

It's got a lot of life in it. They cover a lot of ground. The story is really about the mum, and told mostly from her point of view, but narrated by the daughter. But it's about her acquisition of, and subsequent early life with the titular wolf children.

When I say, 'acquisition of', I'm not suggesting that she poached them or anything of that ilk. She gets them in the traditional way that people get children.

The whole thing is beautifully told. And animated. I like that. I tend to watch a lot of animation, and I like it when it's beautiful.

This beautiful animation of which I speak is reminiscent of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, but you'll get that. They're both a mix of traditional and CG, but you don't really notice the latter. I mean, if you're looking for it, you'll see it. There's a bit where they're turning crops out of the soil, and the soil is CG, but it's that sort of CG where they've covered it in hand painted textures, which I quite like as a thing.

Also like The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, the details and crispness of the animation tend to wax and wane, but Hosoda knows what he's doing here. The moments are chosen well. You don't need the details when they're gone, and the fluctuating crispness is clearly a stylistic choice. These are common traits in anime (and manga), but he handles it differently. You can pick his stuff when you see it.

At the end of the day, I highly recommend Wolf Children. I think it's one of those films that everyone should see. You aren't all going to love it, but it's the sort of film they'd make live action and people would love if it was pulled off well.

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