Raising Wolf Children: A Story of Family, Community, and Love
by Tanya Lindquist
Full Metal Lindquist
Full Metal Lindquist
Mamoru Hosoda’s Wolf Children is the story of Hana, who falls in a love with a mysterious student in her college class. They begin dating, but before they can get serious he has a secret to share with her. He is part of an ancient line of wolves, and he can transform at will. This is not a problem for our young heroine, because the bonds of love are too strong to be tamed. Shortly thereafter, they get married and have two children. The father dies tragically in an accident, and Hana is left alone to raise them. The children take after their father and can transform into wolf cubs. This leads to chewed up furniture, howling, and collecting animal bones.
While the manga contains several humorous moments, the story is grounded in reality. Hana’s fears of failing as a parent and learning to let go resonate. Hana, at first, tries to do everything by herself including growing and harvesting her own vegetables. Neighbors and strangers stop by and see her struggling. Instead of just walking away, they teach and guide her to self-sufficiency.
The story also chronicles the lives of the children Ame and Yuki from infancy to their middle school years. Hana asks them in one scene what side of their nature do they want to embrace? Wolf or human? Ame, the more pensive of the siblings struggles being in the human world. Yuki, on the other hand, has a natural curiosity about humans and desires to fit in with them.
The manga and the anime are both worthwhile to seek out. They complement each other and deliver a unique experience. The manga abbreviates certain scenes featured in the anime. The only change that is striking comes towards the end. In the anime, sound is a huge part of the emotional impact of the the final scene. The manga changes it to visually hit the same notes. This reminds one that while an anime can hit you through sight and sound, a manga has to convey these feelings through visuals only.