“When the world reaches its end, a paradise will appear somewhere… but only wolves will know the way,” says the old story. Apparently, the time for this prophecy is about to come, but there is one problem: wolves are extinct, and have been for over two hundred years now… or are they? A hunter named Quent Yaiden doesn’t believe they are, and he’s proven right when a great, white wolf appears roaming in a rundown city. Now wolves that were once passing for humans are appearing, ready to begin the long quest towards paradise… that is, unless Quent manages to stop them.
summary by Griveton
Highs: High production values; creative concept
Lows: Subplots are more interesting; the Recap Block; disappointing ending
Let’s get this question out of the way: does Wolf’s Rain live up to the hype? The short answer is “no”; however, saying that would be doing this anime a disservice. The long answer is complicated but more fitting than what one word can accurately describe.
There’s no denying that Wolf’s Rain has some pretty good production values. With an animation studio like Bones and a musical composer like Kanno Yoko, the visual and audio aspects of this anime are well in its favor. Choreography, art and many of the songs hit time and time again. I’m not about to say that this is some of Kanno’s best work, but it’s still impressive. What’s even more impressive is the actual concept behind this series; it isn’t everyday that you find an anime based in folk lore, wild animals and an apocalyptic prophecy. Indeed, it’s very easy to believe that this anime has a lot of potential behind it, and it has quite a bit of potential at its outset.
Unfortunately, there comes a point in Wolf’s Rain where you just grow indifferent towards bishounen-looking wolves that are searching for paradise. Perhaps it was the Weiss Kreuz feel of the main protagonists, but I found myself far more interested in the subplots that were taking place all throughout. And undoubtedly, the Recap Block (as I prefer to call it) takes the series from mildly entertaining to greatly annoying in no time. Spanning episodes 15 to 18, this chunk of the anime is utterly useless if you’ve been keeping up with everything that has been going on. And considering that the ending is less than satisfying, I think that this series could have managed its time more wisely to bring about a better conclusion. Not everything comes full circle, and I was left at the final episode’s credits wondering if it truly was the end.
I’m not going to say that Wolf’s Rain was horrible, but I was expecting far better seeing as how much of the staff worked on Cowboy Bebop and Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door. Perhaps it is just a case of setting the bar too high, but I still believe that this anime could have been so much more. Ultimately, I am strongly reminded of Scrapped Princess: a potentially great Bones anime that doesn’t live up to the hype. And believe me, this series deserved better.