Ame and Yuki: Wolf Children
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Ame and Yuki: Wolf Children (おおかみこどもの雨と雪 Ōkami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki?, lit. "Wolf Children Ame and Yuki") is a 2012 Japanese animated film directed and co-written by Mamoru Hosoda. The film stars the voices of Aoi Miyazaki, Takao Osawa, Haru Kuroki and Yukito Nishii. The story follows a young mother who is left to raise two werewolf children after their werewolf father dies.
To create the film, director Hosoda established Studio Chizu, which co-produced the film with Madhouse. Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, the character designer for Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water (1990) and Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995), designed characters for the film. Wolf Children had its world premiere in Paris on June 25, 2012, and was released theatrically on July 21, 2012 in Japan. It is licensed by Funimation Entertainment in North America and was released on DVD and Blu-ray on November 23, 2013. It was screened in the UK at the end of October 2013 with a DVD and Deluxe Blu-ray/DVD edition from Manga Entertainment following on December 23, 2013.
College student Hana falls in love with a werewolf and has two half-werewolf children with him: a daughter, Yuki, and a year later a son, Ame. Soon after Ame's birth, their father is killed while hunting food for the children.
Raising Yuki and Ame alone is difficult; they constantly switch between their human and wolf forms, and Hana has to hide them from the world. When she is visited by social workers concerned that the children have not had vaccinations, Hana moves the family to the countryside away from prying neighbors. She works hard to repair the dilapidated house and sustain the family on their own crops. Ame almost drowns in a river after trying to hunt a kingfisher; Yuki saves him and Ame becomes more confident.
Yuki begs her mother to let her go to school like other children. Hana accepts on the condition that Yuki keeps her werewolf nature secret. Though Yuki's classmates find her strange at first, she soon makes friends. However, Ame is more interested in the forest, and takes lessons from an old fox about survival in the wild.
Yuki's class receives a new transfer student, Souhei, who realizes something is strange about her. When he pursues her, Yuki transforms into a wolf and accidentally injures him, leading to a meeting with his parents and teachers. Souhei tells them a wolf attacked him, absolving Yuki of blame, and the two become friends.
Yuki and Ame fight over whether they are human or wolf. The next day, while Yuki is at school, a fierce storm gathers and Ame disappears into the forest; Hana goes after him. The other children are picked up from school by their parents, leaving Yuki and Souhei alone. Yuki reveals her secret to him by transforming into a wolf. Souhei tells her he already knew, and promises to keep her secret.
As Hana searches the forest for Ame, she slips and falls unconscious. Ame finds her and carries her to safety. She awakens to see Ame transform into an adult wolf and run into the mountains. She realizes he has found his own path and accepts his goodbye.
The next year, Yuki leaves home to attend a dorm in junior high school. Ame's wolf howls can be heard far and wide in the forest. Hana, living alone in the house, reflects that raising her wolf children was like a fairy tale, and feels proud to have raised them well.
Wolf Children won the 2013 Japan Academy Prize for Animation of the Year, the 2012 Mainichi Film Award for Best Animation Film, and the 2013 Tokyo Anime Award|Animation of the Year award at Tokyo International Anime Fair|TAF. It has also won two awards at the Films from the South|Oslo Films from the South festival in Norway: the main award, the Silver Mirror, and the audience award. Wolf Children won an Audience Award at 2013 New York International Children's Film Festival. Wolf Children won the 2014 Best Anime Disc award from Home Media Magazine.
- Japan Academy Prize (2013) (Japanese). Japan Academy Prize. Retrieved on March 12, 2013.
- Wolf Children, 'Combustible' Win at 67th Mainichi Film Awards. Anime News Network (February 7, 2013). Retrieved on March 25, 2013.
- Wolf Children, SAO, Kuroko's Basketball Win Tokyo Anime Awards. Anime News Network (March 24, 2013). Retrieved on March 25, 2013.
- Prize winners - Films from the South 2012. Films from the South.
- Groves, Sara 19 March 2013. NEW YORK INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN’S FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES 2013 AWARD WINNERS. New York International Children's Film Festival. Retrieved on 20 March 2013.
- Wolf Children Wins 'Best Anime Disc' Award from Magazine. Anime News Network (1 May 2014). Retrieved on 2 May 2014.