The wolves have now left Freeze City behind and are continuing their search for Rakuen. Their travels cause them to cross paths with some other wolves living in a strange town with a secret that could well help them, but not surprisingly nothing is as it first appears. Meanwhile Darcia has made his escape after kidnapping the flower maiden Cheza, with a rival task force including Cher sent to retrieve her.
In the opening scene we are presented with an interesting central theme that runs through the heart of Wolf’s Rain: the four wolves are discussing the nature of Rakuen and seem have differing ideas as to what they will find there. They each have their own individual motivations and expectations, and it is becoming apparent that this fabled place is not necessarily an easily recognisable Promised Land. Indeed, the journey continues to be fraught with danger and our heroes will have much to do before they get there.
The city that appears in these episodes for example highlights both the positive and negative aspects of each of their personalities, and sets them on the way to the next stage in their journey. This story arc on its own could make for a decent enough action-adventure, but there is so much more going on around them that lifts Wolf’s Rain out of the average and into the outstanding.
As Darcia takes flight, we see that there are not one but three parties who have an interest in Cheza. Darcia sees her as a potential salvation for Hamona, a woman who is clearly dear to him; Cher is also determined to get her back, while having issues with the very people she is assigned to work with; and the wolves sense that she is able to lead them to Rakuen. In addition to this Lebowski, Cher’s former husband, and the old sheriff Quent are making investigations of their own into the existence of the wolves and the ancient Book of the Moon. Not surprisingly this volume builds on the intrigue that began in the opening episodes and we are far from learning everything just yet.
The episodic nature of the wolves’ journey could otherwise have made the story a little repetitive but in this case it allows for some really imaginative and varied settings for the story. As before the visuals are a delight with the greys and browns of the run-down cities clashing with the colourful beauty of the natural environments and seamlessly blend the fantasy and sci-fi elements. It goes without saying that the soundtrack is still of the same high standard so fans of Yoko Kanno will find much to enjoy here.
After an impressive start Wolf’s Rain continues to be thoroughly enjoyable and high quality adventure: the cast are varied and interesting, the plot is complex and intelligent, and overall it looks and sounds fantastic. So far it is proving to be one of the most striking and original UK DVD releases of the past twelve months.