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  • AKA: ウルフズレイン
  • Aired: 01/07/2003
  • Episodes: 26

In a dying world, there exists an ancient legend: when the world ends, the gateway to paradise will be opened. This utopia is the sole salvation for the remnants of life in this barren land, but the legend also dictates that only wolves can find their way to this mythical realm. Though long thought to be extinct, wolves still exist and live amongst humans, disguising themselves through elaborate illusions.

Source: MAL



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Wedgy

· Edited by Wedgy

  

Wolf’s Rain takes place in the dystopian future in which wolves are considered mythical creatures, long since extinct by the hands of hunters. However, the truth is, wolves are very much alive, and are able to hide in plain sight thanks to their ability to transform into humans. They are all gripped by an instinctive urge to search for a place called Paradise, a sanctuary from the end times which can only be found by wolves who follow the scent of lunar flowers. The anime follows Kiba, a lone white wolf who is drawn to Freeze City by this aroma, as well as the other wolves he meets there.

The plot is fairly straightforward, and ultimately, the series seems to focus more on the world rather than being character-centric. To its credit, however, the characters are introduced via a basic archetype, and are later fleshed out as the anime moves forward. Most of the characters appearing in Wolf’s Rain are animals, but even the human characters learn to overcome their struggles. The wolves face despair, mistrust, doubt, and even wonder if finding their promised land is worth losing their identities. The humans in the story are plagued with facing reality versus accepting comforting lies, living in denial, and learning their self-worth.

The anime relies on the viewer paying attention to details, as just about everything that happens narratively is explained through action and dialogue, with very minimal exposition. Personally, I find this to be a good thing when an anime doesn’t have to handhold to point out when something important happens. In fact, there is a lot more subliminal allegory going on under the surface which references not only religion, but animal symbolism and various philosophies. It’s all very subtle metaphor, however, and while the writing clearly doesn’t expect you to dive too deeply into that side of it to enjoy the story, you may find it much more profound if you recognise these themes.

Wolf’s Rain has only one glaring problem, but thankfully it isn’t incredibly detrimental. There are four recap episodes in the middle of the series which feel completely useless. This perhaps can be blamed on a lapse in airtime, but it could have easily been avoided by simply re-airing the first half of the series on the network before showing the next set of episodes, if they were worried about the audience forgetting what had happened up until that point. This doesn’t take away much these days, since you’re probably either streaming it or watching it on discs, so these episodes you can simply skip over if you wanted to.

Overall, Wolf’s Rain is refreshingly different, and while controversial at times, resonates a captivating emotional hold over the viewer. Everything from the gorgeous artwork and beautiful soundtrack to the powerful and dramatic ending points back to how much faith studio BONES had in this anime. It will make you cry, and I can’t guarantee you’ll like it, but it cannot be denied that Wolf’s Rain represents a very unique niche in the fantasy genre.

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