Monday, 20 November 2017

Animated Discussions: Wolf Children by Mamoru Hosoda

I am not so much of a wolf ... as I am a rabbit. But you know that I love my cartoons and that I love Japanese cartoons particularly.
Yesterday I watched "Wolf Children"Mamoru Hosoda's 2012 film release, very reminiscent of the Ghibli tradition of fantasy family tales for all ages.

Its story is about student Hana who falls in love with a mysterious young man she sees at her college lectures. But his dark secret is that he is a werewolf, a race long thought to have died out in Japan. Their love affair continues and he and Hana go on to have two young children: a girl, Yuki (Snow), and a boy, Ame (Rain). Fate forces Hana to lose her lover and soon the intrusions of modern urban life prove too much for Hana and her tiny human-wolf children. Hana moves to a rural community and the film follows the family as the children grow towards adulthood. How can Hana raise them as a human on her own? And how will they live? As wolves or humans?

I enjoyed the film very much but somehow it missed something that I find in the Ghibli classics. It's not so much the visuals, I think, as in the story-telling. Ghibli or rather Miyazaki's characters can be subtly drawn in terms of ambiguity or gender "type". In Hosoda's film it seems that boys are expected to be "tough" wolves and girls to be more human "tender" and perhaps woe betide if they do not conform that easily. Mmmnn! (She do say stroking her old-lady chin thoughtfully.) But it's a great story which involved me and The Old Man easily on a wintry evening.

And I wouldn't mind getting hold of a copy of the the next Hosoda: "The Boy And The Beast".

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