Wolf’s Rain Volume 4

Hubb continues his search for Cher accompanied by Quent, resulting in a tearful reunion and a difficult decision. Meanwhile the wolves brave the worsening weather to retrieve Cheza, now joined by by Quent’s former companion, Blue. Kiba’s impatience gets the better of him and runs on ahead, only to find himself up against none other than Lord Darcia as all of their paths cross at the Noble’s crumbling stronghold.

The first two episodes of this disc, Men’s Lament and Fallen Keep, are precisely what we have come to expect from the series so far: there isn’t much I can say about the quality of what’s on offer here that I haven’t said in the previous reviews. The series reached a very high standard and now it succeeds in maintaining it, featuring some details that Cher explains to Hubb concerning Cheza and the Nobles plus some insight into the characters. At this point, the events surrounding the human cast members are as interesting as those of the wolves, if not more so.

As Hubb travels along with Quent we are treated to some flashbacks of happier days before Cher’s work and other issues drove them apart; Quent on the other hand still lets his hatred of wolves dominate his life and turns to his ever-present whisky bottle. The two of them make an interesting team to watch, and demonstrate how past mistakes and regrets can still haunt them. When Hubb finally meets Cher once again we are presented with one of this instalment’s most heartfelt moments as he decides whether to accompany her or continue his journey alone.

The would-be wolf pack now has a new member in the form of Blue, Quent’s hunting dog whose “inner wolf’ has now been awoken. Confused with her new feelings and situation, she is struggling to decide what to do and where to go; surprisingly it is the normally jovial Hige who tries to put her at ease and talks her into travelling with them. Kiba’s sense of urgency to reach Cheza, even if that means leaving his companions behind, highlights how this mismatched group of wolves are still far from being firm friends.

Driven by their individual desire to find Cheza all of the main characters converge on Darcia’s keep, resulting in one of the most tense and dramatic scenes in the series so far. Sadly the second two episodes on this disc, Grey Wolf and Dream Journey, leave us hanging on with no explanation as to what happens next. They are the first half of the series’ notorious “recap’ section: in this case the experiences of the preceding episodes are told through the eyes of Tsume and Toboe. As helpful as it may be to hear these two character’s feelings concerning their adventures, it is disappointing and almost frustrating to revisit previous episodes when the story was progressing so well.

In Summary

This volume of Wolf’s Rain has proved to be a mixed bag. The first half has all the action, emotion and intrigue that have made it so enjoyable in the past but things have been interrupted by two unnecessary “recap’ episodes. With the plot seemingly at an important turning point for all concerned I can only hope that this otherwise superb series gets back on track soon.

7 / 10