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Plot: The world is coming to an end and the gates of Paradise are going to open, however only wolves, think okami, can find Paradise and they have been extinct for years, wiped out by the Nobles and human soldiers who serve them, or so it would seem.
The truth, however, is that wolves have cast spells upon their bodies so that they appear human to any who believe wolves to be gone, unfortunately not many of them are still interested in finding Paradise,except for one white wolf named Kiba. Kiba manages to gather a pack of three other misfit wolves around him. While they do not all get along, nor are they perfect, nor perfectly honest with each other, the four set out to find the Flower Maidens, also thought extinct, legend speaks will guide the wolves to Paradise and begin the world anew, renewed and without sin, unfortunately while they may find, reluctant and eventual allies among the humans, there are Nobles with other plans.
Verdict: This is one of the most complex and detailed fantasy epics and allegories ever created, but instead of focusing and expositing the whole time on all of that, Wolf's Rain instead chooses to focus on the characters and their story alone. It is a brilliant move, but makes the show even more one that is not for the faint of heart. Show do not tell is in full effect, and this one has a lot of allegory for Buddhism, Norse Mythology, Japanese, Germanic, Russian, and pretty much any culture's with wolves folklore; to show. It is all their, but not in your face. It is there to make the drama happening up front be more for those willing to re-watch and discuss it than just a great well written fantasy epic centered around wolves.
Oh, and yes this series is very dramatic, I would say tragic, but there is no inevitability of fate here, just sorrow, but there is also hope put into action. Prepare to cry a lot with this show, but also be filled with hope. Give it a watch and then decide if you are going to buy. It is not for everyone, though it is fantastic.
Facts: This was Studio Bones' first work, and what a way to start. It has great animation and the score by Yoko Kano is as perfectly weaved into the plot as the allegory. The English voice cast is also all-star and A-game. Johnny Young Bosch has the lead, with Crispin Freeman, Joshua Seth, and Mona Marshall playing the other wolf-boys. Steve Blum proves, again, that he can be terrifying when he wants to, and the rest of the cast is great too with Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, Kari Wahlgren, Tom Wyner, Bob Buchholz, Jessica Strauss, and Sherry Lynn.
Better than Star Wars: The main cast is rather diverse, and it is great. Technically speaking, this is another one where none of the leads are Caucasian, but then they are wolves (no I am not saying which is which)...
(Blue, the reluctant sixth--fifth--ranger)
(Cher the scientist studying/seeking wolves, the flower maidens, and paradise)
(Cheza the last Flower Maiden)
(Lord Darcia the Third)
(Hige, easy going on the outside)
(A statue of Lady Jagura, how she like to be seen)
(Quint, a wolf hunter more like his prey than he thinks)
(Toboe, cowardly, but compassionate)
(Kiba, a proud lawful leader)
(Tsume, the tough guy)
(Hubb Lebowski, a detective in over his head, but not his heart)
Bechtel-Sarkeesian Test: It takes a while, but eventually our two fem-fatales, Blue and Cher, are thrown together, and episodes with them are just great fun, and needed right before the series starts to reach its climax (could not find pictures from this episode set, sorry).
Die Hard Test: Passed, and it is heart-breaking when it happens...
Awkward Angle Syndrome: None here actually, and there are plenty of opportunities too...
Suck it Disney: Though there is no direct fan service, for heterosexual men anyway, most all of the cast but one man are ridiculously good looking young people. To be more specific, all of the leads are apparently ridiculously good looking young men, in other words, Bishi Boys.