The world is covered in snow, human civilization is on the decline, nobility has taken away the knowledge of higher science and alchemy from the common people, and wolves have been extinct for 200 years. Still, legends about wolves survive in the Book of the Moon, which tells of a place called Paradise where wolves rule. The Flower Daughter will lead the wolves to paradise. But of course, nothing is ever that simple.
U.S. Official Site - N/A
http://www.wolfs-rain.com/ - Japanese Official Site
Created by:Bones, Keiko Nobumoto
Director: Tensai Okamura
Screenplay: Keiko Nobumoto
Character Designs: Toshihiro Kawamoto
Set Designs: tomoaki Okada, Shingo Takeba
Mechanical Designs: Shinji Aramaki
Art Director: Atsushi Morikawa
Color Designs: Nobuko Mizuta
Director of Photography: Kosuke Arakawa
Sound Director: Kazuhiro Wakabayashi
Music: Yoko Kanno
Animation Produced by: Bones
Producers: Masahiko Minami, Minoru Takanashi, Takatoshi Hamano
Produced by: Fuji Television, Bones, Bandai Visual
Number of episodes: 26
Licensed byBandai Entertainment
Wolf’s Rain is a soon to be released anime in the US. So, what’s the big deal? For one, virtually everyone who made Cowboy Bebop (save for director Shinichiro Watanabe, who had nothing to do with Wolf’s Rain) contributed to the creation of Wolf’s Rain. This includes the character designer of Cowboy Bebop and Yoko Kanno, who also created the music to Bebop, among other things. So, now that I’ve got your attention, Wolf’s Rain is about finding paradise, or heaven, known as “rakuen” in Japanese. The saying goes that wolves will lead everyone on the planet into paradise, but unfortunately, wolves have been extinct for 200 years. But, that is not true. Wolves are alive and well, and have learned a way to trick everything that sees them into thinking they are humans, when in fact they are wolves.
That’s a very very short and quick synopsis of the story. It’s been getting rave reviews all over the place, and I’ve been anticipating it myself since it was first announced back in early 2002. Everyone should keep a look out for this one. It’s a serious, dark, and moody anime series about the path to one’s own paradise, and it should really be good. Bandai has already announced the license for it and it’s also been announced that it will air on Adult Swim in summer 2004. A release date for the DVD’s hasn’t been announced yet, but a date should be announced soon.
I’ll tell my opinion from an artistic standpoint. This series looks to be a mix of the Rurouni Kenshin OAV (Samurai X) and Cowboy Bebop art styles. Quite a nice combination, don’t you think? The character design is top notch but for the most part stays basic and doesn’t stray into exotic much. There are some exceptions like Darcia, a menacing masked character with a feathered black headdress and Cheza, a crimson-eyed beauty. One thing I don’t like about the design is Tsume’s leather clothes. It just doesn’t sit well with me. Other than that, everything else is good.
Yoko Kanno and Steve Conte are collaborating for the music again, same as they did for the Cowboy Bebop. The story of wolves taking human form and masquerading with humans for 200 years searching for paradise sounds intriguing. I don’t know about you but I can’t wait to sink my teeth into this 26-episode saga! Also, rumor has it that Wolf’s Rain will show on Cartoon Network in April 2004. We shall see. (Ed. - Breaking news: Wolf’s Rain will premiere on Saturday, April 24th at 11pm on cartoon network’s adult swim)
There is a genre that isn’t often covered in film well, much less in animation. The pulp sci-fi genre is rarely touched on probably because it is difficult to write original science fiction. Wolf’s Rain is promoted as a “High Quality SF Road Movie”, so whether it was intended as pulp sci-fi intentionally or not is debatable, but original intent aside, it is what it is.
Wolf’s Rain is a brand new anime series from Keiko Nobumoto, the writer behind Cowboy Bebop. Animated by Studio Bones and containing much of the same staff behind Bebop, expectations would certainly be high and they do not disappoint. The character and mechanical designs are attractive with an interesting choice of using a mix of retro, futuristic and contemporary clothing and mechanics. Yoko Kanno’s soundtrack creates a feeling of a dark fairy tale with shades of a happier time and longings for the unattainable. The animation itself lives up to the “high quality” tag the title carries and is both fluid and dynamic.
The entire series is about a journey, but it is more of a journey of discovery than a journey of intent. As the characters journey, they will learn more about those around them while learning more about themselves. What is most important for me is that by the end of the series, what doubts and differences explored in the beginning of the series are resolved. I would recommend this series to anyone who wants an experience of a different world, and a series which does not remain in the same place but moves on to new places and new ideas as it progresses. The series might feel slow at times, but the beautiful scenery and music definitely keep even the slowest scenes in the series going at a steady tempo.
All in all, I’m looking forward to the R1 DVDs very much and I’m happy that Bones has still not let me down with their high quality of storytelling and combinations of quality animation, music and design concepts.
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Wolf’s Rain Screen Caps: