Know your Anime: Wolf TalesBy Allen Simpson 19 February 2014 | Categories: feature articles
This week we feature a collection wolf themed anime. Not your usual Red Riding Hood one, nor werewolves from the Twilight movies. On the menus we have a fantasy about a Wolf Goddess and a story of wolf children.
Spice and Wolf (Ōkami to Kōshinryō)
In the town of Pasroe, an annual pagan ceremony is performed, made to honour the harvest goddess, who is the caretaker of the vast wheat field alongside the city. Apprentice trader Kraft, just passing through, encounters Kenrou Holo, a wolf girl who happens to be the harvest deity there.
Our main characters really are an odd pair. Holo is a pagan wolf goddess, over 600 years old appearing in the guise of an eternal 15-year-old girl, except for a wolf's tail and ears. Feeling that the town has abandoned her, she makes a deal with Kraft and leaves the village behind, travelling with him as she sets her sights for her home in the mountains far to the north.
Kraft’s main goal in life is to gather enough money to start his own shop, having been on the road for seven years, journeying from town to town. As they travel, her wisdom helps increase his profits, but her true nature also draws unwanted attention from the church.
While Spice and Wolf takes place in a fantasy world, it resembles Europe in the Middle Ages, when the Church was a power unto itself. It dabbles heavily into trade and economics, and sometimes the anime may feel like a Medieval Business 101 Course. Luckily this anime is very addictive and highly enjoyable, especially the relationship between Kraft and Horo and their interactions.
This series is a unique fantasy due to the plot focusing on economics, trade and peddling, rather than the typical staples of fantasy such as swords and magic. There is hardly any violence and though Horo spends most of the first episode and random later moments stark naked, this nakedness is non-erotic. Anime fans that are used to anime with wolf-eared girl fetish fantasies will find that this anime does not focus on that at all. These elements make Spice and Wolf unique and well worth the watch.
Wolfchildren (Okami kodomo no ame to yuki)
Madhouse and Studio Chizu
Two students fall in love, one happens to be a Wolf Man. They have two children and the Wolf Man dies tragically leaving the poor woman, Hana, to raise her children Yuki (which means Snow) and Ame (which means Rain). He passed his affliction on to the children making them ‘Wolf Children’. To live peacefully, Hana must make the difficult decision to move to a small town, close to nature. She further faces strange problems such as whether to bring the children to a paediatrician or veterinarian when they are sick.
In Wolfchildren you get lost in a movie so expertly done that you feel as if you are experiencing everything Hanna and the children are going through. Here we are dealing not with the werewolf that lives to eat human flesh and terrorize small towns. No, we are relating to wolf people that struggle not only with the same issues as humans do, but also their dual identities. Are they humans in wolf bodies or a wolves in human bodies? Their human mother must help them discover these answers since their father, who had all the answers, died while hunting for food for his children. This anime really makes one think and feel with the characters.
Wolfchildren’s animation is executed expertly and the voice acting is so good that one cannot help but get goosebumps. Scenes that really stood out were when the Wolf Children ran in the woods, with the kinetic flow of animation that gives you an adrenaline rush just watching the scene. Another great scene is when the mother hears her son howl in the mountains, and her face lights up and she smiles - unforgettable.
Also recommended: More anime with wolves we can recommend is Wolf's Rain as well as Mononoke Hime (Princess Mononoke).
About our contributor: Allen Simpson is a blogger and a published poet who has a deep passion for anime. He is also co-owner of AnimeFanatika, a reliable source of information on Anime providing fans with the latest news, reviews and goings on in the industry. Visit their Facebook page and become a Fanatik today. Sugoi!
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