[Manga Mondays] Wolf Children: Ame & Yuki
Title: Wolf Children: Ame and Yuki
Author: Mamoru Hosoda (Story) and Yuu (Art)
Genres: Romance, Drama, Slice of Life, Supernatural
Volumes: 3 [Complete]
Japanese Publisher: Kadokawa Shoten
English Publisher: Yen Press
Available to Purchase in English?: Yes (Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Indigo )
Hello! I know it’s been awhile since my last review, I do apologize for that. ^^;;
This is not the first time AAB has written about the incredibly moving title Wolf Children. Former AAB writer Kaitou covered the Wolf Children film in 2012, and current writer Oki wrote about their thoughts on the film in 2013.
If my poor brain remembers correctly, I have never seen the film and have just read the manga. Although I’m sure I’d really enjoy the movie, there’s a certain charm to manga as the reader has to use a little imagination to fill in the gaps between the different panels, if you will. The art style of this manga is similar to the film’s, as far as I can tell from Oki’s screenshots.
In a nutshell: Hana is a post-secondary student when she meets a young man in one of her classes. By offering to share her textbook with him so he can stay in the class, she strikes up a friendship with him. Eventually their friendship evolves into a romance, and they (presumably) marry and have two children. They don’t have a lot of money, but they are happy together.
What makes this family unique? Hana’s partner is half-wolf, descended from a line of wolves in Japan thought to have gone extinct a hundred years prior to the present. Therefore Hana’s children are themselves half-wolf. When the kids are little, their wolf transformation involves them sprouting ears, fangs and tails. With the cutest little paws too. x3
One evening very shortly after Ame’s birth, while out to get food for his small family, Wolfman is killed in an accident. His death leaves Hana a single parent of a toddler and a newborn, with no family or other support system she can rely on. (I know Hana’s husband has a name but his license isn’t translated and I can’t read kanji, so I’m dubbing him Wolfman.) Her small childrens’ wolf nature leads to complications like being threatened with eviction for supposedly having a dog in their apartment (it’s not allowed), and social workers threatening to take her children away because Hana hasn’t gotten them vaccinated or taken them to the doctor for check-ups.
Desperate to keep her family together, Hana moves her family to the rural countryside, where her kids can be wolves whenever they want without prying eyes trying to tear her family apart. Eventually her children grow up, and as they get older they have a decision to make: whether to live as a wolf or as a human.
Oki’s review of the film goes into greater detail about the movie (and manga’s plot), so if you’d like more information about the story and characters, I highly recommend you click the link above. I share many of her thoughts about Wolf Children, including all of the hardships Hana has to go through and what her life is like by the end of the story.
My Score: 9/10
Do I Recommend This Title?: Wolf Children is a beautifully heart-wrenching story. Hana endures so much over the span of just a few years and then has to struggle to raise her two half-wolf children alone in a world that does not understand or accept them. The story is sometimes slightly predictable at parts but I was never bored enough that I wanted to stop reading. If you want a title that will make you smile and make you cry before shredding all your heartstrings, then Wolf Children is a good title to check out.
Bonus Trivia: Hana is Japanese for “flower”, Ame is “rain” and Yuki is “snow”. Also the cover art included in this post is for the 1 volume omnibus edition, which is what I have.