WOLF’S RAIN (2003)

 

Format: 26 TV episodes and 4 OVA episodes, all 24 minutes, gradually being released on DVD in the U.S.

Rating: PG-13 (AC, GV)

Type: Action/Drama (Sci-Fi)

American Production: Bandai Entertainment

English Dub Production: Animaze

Japanese Production: ???

 

Grading

 

Premise:

B+

Story:

B-

Writing:

B

Character Design:

B+

Animation:

B+

Artistic Merits:

A-

English Dub:

B-

Musical Score:

B

Opener:

Not reviewed

Closer:

B

 

 

Humor Content:

n/a 

Action Content:

B

Drama Content:

B

 

 

DVD Presentation:

Not reviewed

DVD Extras:

Not reviewed

 

 

OVERALL:

B

 

Synopsis

      In a post-apocalyptic world, supposedly extinct wolves have learned to pass themselves as humans. A pack of wolves unites around a determined loner named Kiba, who has one goal: find the Flower Maiden and let her guide them to Paradise, which supposedly only wolves can find and enter. On their trail is a determined human hunter, a police officer and his scientist ex-wife, and a pair of Nobles who seek the route to Paradise for themselves.

 

The Long View

      Though based on a clever concept and at time satisfying in both action and dramatic elements, Wolf’s Rain falls short in its attempt to be one of the true recent masterpieces of anime. Oh, it’s still a good series, but it is weighted down by the painfully drawn out pace it takes for much of the series and the fact that the regular TV run used four recap episodes (which have been skipped in the Cartoon Network broadcasts). Those who weather the slower early parts will find a good deal of angst and drama in the series’ tragedy-laced final stages; those who get drawn in by this will find the ending to be powerful and emotional, though it didn’t fully work for me.

      The human character designs for the series are good, with the one standout being Cheza, the Flower Maiden, who has one of the most distinctive looks for a female character that you’ll see anywhere in anime. This category shines most brightly when the main characters are in wolf form, however, as it is quite clear that the artists put a lot of time and effort into studying how wolves move and attack for the rendering of this series. The overall quality of the artistry and animation makes Wolf’s Rain one of the better-looking of recent anime series. Given how great the series looks, it’s a pity that the plotting is so ponderous. The writing fares better in its characterizations, and it is interesting to watch how some of the characters change and develop over the course of the series. How involved you get with these characterizations will determine how effective you find the ending to be.

      The voice work for Wolf’s Rain is respectable but not exceptional. The musical score is solid, with a strong and graceful closing tune. Graphic content can get a bit strong at times; there’s a fair amount of graphic violence and bloodshed, though it isn’t intense or pervasive enough to warrant more than a PG-13 rating.

 

DVD Extras

      Not reviewed – review is based on Cartoon Network broadcast

  

Principle English Voice Actors

Role

Voice Actor

 Kiba

Johnny Yong Bosch 

 Tsume

Crispin Freeman

 Hige

Joshua Seth

 Toboe

Mona Marshall

 Cheza

Sherry Lynn

 Cher Degre

Kari Wahlgren

 Blue

Jessica Staus

 Darcia

Steven Jay Blum

 Hubb Lebowski

Robert Buchholz

 Tom Wyner

Quent Yaiden

 Jagura

Mary Elizabeth McGlynn*

 Leara

Michelle Ruff

 Owl

Joe Ochman

 

* - Also the ADR director

 

 

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