Ookami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki
Single mother Hana must bring up her wolf children away from the prying eyes of the neighbours in this stunning anime.
Even if a screening is sold out, tickets are often available 30 minutes before the start of the film at the box office at each venue.
Director Mamoru Hosoda
Producer Takuya Ito, Yuichiro Saito, Takashi Watanabe
Screenwriter Mamoru Hosoda, Satoko Okudera
Voices Aoi Miyazaki, Takao Osawa, Huru Kuroki
Sales Nippon Television Network Corp
Recommended ages 8+
Hana, a student at Tokyo University, is intrigued by a mysterious man who sits in on lectures despite not being registered to attend. Before long, they fall in love and she discovers that he is a wolf-man; he has the blood of both man and wolf and, as wolves have been extinct in Japan for many years, he is the last of his kind. Before long, they bring two children into the world – Ame and Yuki – who begin to display wolf characteristics, and as such may need to be brought up away from the outside world. As they grow older they will have to deal with their differences and decide which path to take. This beguiling, lyrical anime is a departure of sorts for Mamoru Hosoda (The Girl Who Leapt Through Time; Summer Wars) who takes a fantastical idea and makes it irresistibly touching and relevant without ever becoming a mere genre piece.
How did you come up with the idea of Wolf Children?
Couples around me were starting to have children, and I was really impressed with the parents, especially the mothers. They looked dazzling to me, and I wondered if I could make a movie about raising children. I made a movie about something I admire and want to experience.
Why did the parents look dazzling to you?
When you have children, you change dramatically as a human being. Maybe I’m attracted to people who have responsibilities. I was especially dazzled by a friend who became a mother. Until then, ‘mothers’ were unfamiliar people to me, but a friend became one, and child-raising became a more familiar subject to me. I was impressed by her sense of responsibility for raising a child. That’s why I wanted this movie to be a story about a woman through her role as a mother.
The movie was about the mother and also about the two children.
The focus is on the woman who becomes a mother, but I wanted to respect the daughter and the son as independent characters, so in that sense, all three of them are the main characters. The two children finding their own lives is a major aspect of their lives, and the mother watching them do so is a part of her life too. That’s what I wanted to show in the movie.
Was there anything you tried for the first time in this movie?
The ‘passing of time’. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time was a story about traveling to and from a certain week, and Summer Wars was a story of about three or four days. It was a big challenge for me in this movie to pack 13 years in a 2-hour footage. Depicting the long passing of time as a child grows is extremely difficult in a live-action film. Because this is an animation, it was possible to illustrate the 13 years from when the children were born. I was adamant about doing the voice recording in sequence because I wanted Aoi to assimilate into Hana’s feelings. I think it shows on the screen. The other day when I watched the rushes for the first time, I went back to the opening scene and was surprised because Hana looked so young! It made me think, ‘Hana went from being a girl to a mature adult.’ Even the director thought so when he saw the grown Hana, so I’m sure the audience will also sense a unique passing of time. When they walk out of the movie theater, they might think it’s 13 years later.
Born in 1967 in Toyama prefecture, he studied oil painting at the Kanazawa College of Art, and soon gained experience as a studio animator. Turning freelance, he released The Girl Who Leapt Through Time in 2006, dubbed Animation of the Year at the Japan Academy Prizes, and honoured at festivals from Annecy to Sitges. Summer Wars, screened at Berlin in 2010, compounded his reputation as a fine animation director.
2003 Superflat Monogram [s]
2005 One Piece: Omatsuri danshaku to himitsu no shima (One Piece: Baron Omatsuri and the Secret Island)
2006 Toki o kakeru shôjo (The Girl Who Leapt Through Time)
2009 Samâ uôzu (Summer Wars)
2012 Ookami Kodomo No Ame To Yuki (Wolf Children)
Enjoy a world of benefits with BFI Cinema Membership.
Follow the BFI London Film Festival live blog.