“A gentleman is simply a patient wolf.” – Lana Turner.
Wolf Children is the third of Mamoru Hosoda’s feature films (if you ignore ones like One Piece which are based on already existing anime/manga) and follows on from the success of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and Summer Wars.
These films have also spawned manga versions, with Wolf Children‘s version being spread over three volumes. However, Yen Press has decided to release all three volumes as a single hardback, complete with glossy colour pages and bonus chapters.
For those who have not seen the film, the story begins with a college student called Hana who encounters a guy whom she falls in love with almost immediately. The relationship blossoms even after the man reveals something shocking: he is a wolf-man. Later Hana becomes pregnant and gives birth to two children: eldest daughter Yuki, who is rather wild and something of a glutton; and youngest son Ame, who is somewhat sickly. Both of them are wolf children, and so Hana must hide their true identity from everyone else around her. Tragically however, shortly after Ame’s birth, the father is killed in accident.
The tale sees Hana trying to raise Yuki and Ame on her own. After getting into trouble with her neighbours, she decides to move to a remote house in the country, grow her own food, and raise the kids/cubs as best as she can. The story takes place over several years and sees how Ame and Yuki change as they get older.
For fans of the film version, the manga remains faithful to the original. At times the plot is funny, at others very moving. The art, created by an artist simply known as Yu, looks especially good. The scenes are very realistic and vivid. The characters are also very charming and look wonderful, thanks to the work of Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, the man behind the manga adapation of Neon Genesis Evangelion.
The production of the book as a hardback is also good. This is mainly because – as this work is based on a film – it’s rather a short read. Combining all three volumes as a single collection is more pleasing aesthetically and you can easily experience the entire story in a single visit. This is an all-round nice read.