28
Feb
09

Studio BONES retrospective (pt 2) – Wolf’s Rain

gallery_683_227_760008

Searching for paradise.

It’s time for another Studio BONES retrospective, something I’ve ignored since the FMA writeup which was ages ago. What spurred me to write today was listening to the OST again. More on that later, let’s begin with one of BONE’s best work to date.

As usual, I won’t go into too much detail about the story except the basics. In a post apocalyptic world where wolves have been hunted down to near extinction, one lone wolf continues his search for Paradise. Legend has it that only wolves can enter once Paradise appears, thus the search.

While the basic story of this adventure is very interesting, the episodes themselves play out in a thoughtful process, if a bit painfully slow sometimes. The animation quality was mind blowing for 2003, and even six years after it’s release, the anime still holds it’s own against the current crop of high tier productions. The music here is one of Yoko Kanno’s best. Let’s get one thing out of the way first, this anime is quite emotional and sadness is lurking around every corner, but in a way that you will like. Kanno’s music will really accentuate your emotions during many such scenes, pulling at your heartstrings and leaving you deeply moved, if not a bit teary eyed.

flower-maiden

With that, let’s get to the meat of Wolf’s Rain: the characters. There are many ways to lead into, but let’s start where the anime did. A lone wolf that is badly wounded seems to be staggering it’s way to some place. The white wolfs falls over as snow starts to fall down, barely visible on the ground where it’s last breath steaming up is the only sign that he’s still alive. Thinking to himself, the wolf starts to wonder what his whole journey was for, a search for Paradise. But he hasn’t found it.

kiba-in-the-snow1

In the dangerous future, survival of the fittest is required, and the wolves have taken into human shapes to live in society. Don’t ask me how this happens, whether it’s something scientific or some other mystical reasoning behind this transformation. Just know that wolves can shape shift into humans (reflecting their personality). In the slums of one such post apocalyptic city, we find our main characters. These are four wolves named Kiba (fang) our always-serious protagonist, Tsume (claw) our rebel without a cause, Toboe (howling) our trap and Hige (whisker) the ladykiller. Yes, the play on their names was a nice touch.  These four at first meet each other under suspicion and go off on the wrong paw foot. Soon however, they realise that each of them is going for the same goal subconsciously, to seek out Paradise. Before you all start scratching your head over such a vague idea, let me tell you of the old legend. It is said (by I don’t know whom) that when the world ends, the Flower Maiden of the Lunar Flowers will bring Paradise, which like I said earlier, will only be accessible to wolves. Was this the reason wolves were hunted down? I can’t remember now, but I think so.

the-pack

So yeah, these four are actually in search of the Flower Maiden called Cheza, a girl artificially created from Lunar Flowers by Lord Darcia the first. That dood is dead now, and the thrown to douchebaggery and all around villainy is taken by his grandson Lord Darci the Third. Think of him as Seymour from FFX. The bitch just won’t die, and every encounter with him is an epic Boss fight. Also, the homo vibes.

darcia-jaguara

Those were our heroes and the main villain. Now onto the side characters without whom this anime wouldn’t be half of what it is. Almost half the anime is spent with the four wolves trying to find Cheza, and the other half trying to get away from the bad guys. Along this epic journey throughout the dystopian landscape, we are joined by an ex-sheriff called Quent Yaiden and his faithful dog Blue, who are hunting down our heroes. Cher Degre, a  scientist who is sort of taking care of and following Cheza, and her ex-husband Hubb Lebowski who is searching for Cher in the wake of destruction and chaos left behind by our main guys from city to city.

cher-hubb

Throughout the story, each of these characters cross paths and their perspective on things seems to change. Some will join the main pack (of our heroes and whenever Cheza is not being kidnapped) and some will leave them for reasons of their own. Each one of them is connected in some way to the other. Whether it be love, jealousy, hatred or friendship, they all are trying to confront each other over something.

blue-quent

I saw this anime during my final year of higher ed when I was about to leave London and come back home. I really felt, at some basic level, connected to Kiba. The journey was long and arduous, but it was about to come to an end. Like a lone wolf the only thing on my mind was the goal, and not much care for anyone else around me. Yet there were friends who helped along the adventure to whom I’m ever greatful. Many beautiful and wonderful things happened during our adventure, many tragedies also occurred. The end result was bittersweet and memorable for life.

cheza-and-kiba

And like that, the anime comes to an end with a cast so great you’ll regret watching it to the very end. Seeing how these people we have become so attached to come to the end of their journey was very…heartbreaking. This is where BONES exercised their self-indulgence in killing off people we like to the extreme. I hated them for this, but also loved them for making such a unique story, beautiful in every way. I mean, how else could one see Paradise?

cheza-kiba

So go out and watch this epic adventure that will leave you a bit confused, a bit angry, but overwhelmingly happy and sad. Also, skip episodes 15 to 18. Recap episodes of this redundantly epic nature have never been seen in anime before or since.

I was trying to find more images but this video perfectly encapsulates the whole anime. The powerful vocals of Steve Conte make this my favourite ost tracks of Wolf’s Rain. Heaven’s Not Enough

Since this series is quite old, I wasn’t able to find that much art. So thanks to Animepaper and Minitokyo for letting me steal have their walls :)

The next retrospective on BONES will be out this time next month ;)

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9 Responses to “Studio BONES retrospective (pt 2) – Wolf’s Rain”


  1. 1 the wolf
    April 2, 2009 at 12:09 am

    :( i want a second season i love the anime ive watched him now about 3 time (lol)
    I justlove the anime And i HATE the ending though but still they al get rebornd or something
    :S toboe as a girl almost with this clothes on :S weird though.

  2. 2 th
    April 2, 2009 at 10:30 am

    *SPOILERS*

    Yes, they were all reborn at the end. So they did achieve paradise in the end I suppose.

    */SPOILERS*

    Maybe modern day Earth. But that would suck :p

  3. 3 tenchou
    April 28, 2009 at 3:50 am

    for the record.

    the did not transform into humans. they were able to somehow trick humans into seeing them a certain way. which was why there was pawprints instead of footprints when they walked. or why you’d have a bite mark on your arm when they tried to stop you from falling from atop a building.

  4. 5 Edward Yvon
    October 12, 2009 at 2:34 am

    Like the wolf said there should be a 2nd season. To me i think there was more because of where it left off

  5. February 17, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    yep ·the wolf·, i want a second season too, or a different final. I watched wolf’s rain two times in 3 days haha xD!

    hmm, i think , maybe… “Wolf’s Rain” the movie??
    :P

  6. 7 TC
    July 8, 2011 at 10:03 am

    No question in my mind. They give at least three to five clues in the last three minutes of episode 30 that call for a second season.
    Even if they don’t make a 2 season. The ONLY way you can explain the ending is that they intended too. Incredible story! I’m a huge FAN!
    COME ON! Wolf’s Rain season 2!

  7. 8 Emily
    July 26, 2011 at 1:13 am

    though the ending IS confusing you have to look at it every different way possible, what they say, look like, and have with them!

    So everyone claims they are just reborn at the end right? WELL this IS true but there is more to it. You see at the very beginning of this magnificient anime that a lone white wolf(obviously kiba) has nothing nor anyone with him, and he dies. Then after a LONG story, we reach our ending. Now we find Kiba, dying, he is blood drenched and alone, once again. But WAIT!!! do you see anything, or perhaps anyONE with him right before he dies?? he has CHEZAAA yes she dies, but she was with him, and kibas friends were closer to him then the first death at episode 1. do you see now!? Our wolves are getting closer to paradise every time the world is rebirthed and our wolves come back. you need the lunar flower alive to fully go to paradise and Kiba almost made it, though his death and cheza’s death came before the doors opened. and since the ending of this comic is the rebirth, will they make it this time? or perhaps go on and on?


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