Back in the early 2000’s, and just a few years after the infamous Cowboy Bebop anime blew everyone away, some of the crew that worked on it went off to create another stunning series called Wolf’s Rain. All these years later, I’m happy to say the show holds up pretty well, despite some plot issues here and there in Funimation’s Wolf’s Rain: The Complete Series set. Containing the original twenty-six episodes and the four OVA’s that followed, this is one set you don’t want to stray from your collection.
Trying to explain the story is a bit complex, but I’ll try to simplify it. Sometime in the not-too-distant future, the world is finally coming to an end, but legends speak of a placed called Paradise where those who find it will be safe. Trouble is, only wolves know the way there when guided by a mythical being known as the Flower Maiden, and sadly most have been brought to near extinction thanks to people hating and killing them on sight. Enter Kiba, a lone wolf who usually keeps to himself and survives as best he can, and a lady named Cheza who was genetically engineered to be the Flower Maiden in a lab. A chance encounter brings the two together and they start their quest to find Paradise, with the help of three more wolves they find along the way named Tsume, Hige, and Toboe. Between humans hunting them down and empires trying to kidnap Cheza to force their way into Paradise, this will be no easy task. Oh did I mention that in this world, wolves have the ability to disguise themselves as people? Yeah, thought I was kidding about the complex part, huh?
The series is nearly perfect except for the sometimes hard to follow ordeals the wolves go through and the original ending/cliffhanger that was so bad, four additional OVA’s had to be made to make up for it. Despite these things, I still enjoyed and love the series, especially thanks to its well done artwork, animation, perfect soundtrack by Yoko Kanno, and of course because wolves are awesome. There’s also the amazing drama that comes with the wolves and their backgrounds as some of them can be pretty heavy and intense, and the action can tend to get a bit violent when needed (anyone who has seen wolves fight on nature shows already know what to expect). I’m also glad the series looks and sounds even better than when I saw it years ago thanks to the excellent high definition transfer to Blu-ray. While it’s shown in a fullscreen ratio, everything from the detailed visuals to Yoko Kanno bringing the feels with her soundtrack comes through perfectly. There’s also plenty of special features to look at after the moon sets, such as cast interviews, promo videos, textless opening and closing clips, and more.
Wolf’s Rain: The Complete Series is a set that comes highly recommended, as it’s a nice reminder of how powerful and awesome anime can be when it wants to. It has a few plot and pacing issues to be sure, but it’s worth seeing through to the end and just might lead you to find your inner wolf pride afterwards.