Critics' Pick

Wolf Children (Okami kodomo no ame to yuki) (NR)

Animation 110 min.
By Sherilyn Connelly
Mamoru Hosoda's beautiful anime film Wolf Children begins like a generic post–Twilight Y.A. story: University student Hana (Colleen Clinkenbeard) is intrigued by a hunky new classmate, Ookami (David Matranga), who is revealed to be of supernatural origin. He's a wolf-man, the last of his kind, able to change between human and lupine forms at will. But rather than protracting the will-they/won't-they question, Wolf Children wastes little time: They fall in love, start a family . . . and then Ookami dies in an accident, leaving Hana to raise their half-wolf children, Yuki (Jad Saxton) and Ame (Micah Solusod), by herself, far from civilization. Though it's one of the few recent anime films not based on an existing property, Wolf Children feels like an ancient folk tale, a fable from an era when certain taboos were not so strong-- Ookami is unquestionably in wolf mode when he and Hana first have sex. Still, it's no cautionary tale in the way that fantasy stories about girls and wolves tend to be. Instead, the lushly pastoral, gorgeously rotoscoped, and cynicism-free Wolf Children focuses on Hana learning to protect Yuki and Ame from a hostile world while helping them to find their own paths into it, which is difficult enough for families in which the children don't turn into wolves at inopportune times.
Mamoru Hosoda Aoi Miyazaki, Takao Osawa, Kumiko Aso, Megumi Hayashibara, Takuma Hiraoka, Amon Kabe, Tomie Kataoka, Haru Kuroki, Tadashi Nakamura, Bunta Sugawara Mamoru Hosoda, Satoko Okudera Takafumi Watanabe, Takuya Ito, Yuichiro Saito


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