Friday, June 8, 2007

Wolf's Rain

(Originally 7 December 2006)

Semi-marathoned Wolf's Rain and its OVA. I'm not covering new ground here, but I will note that I was also disappointed by the ending of the TV series and the 4 episodes of filler spanning episodes 15 to 18.

Having seen at least screenshots of other series, the character design of Wolf's Rain strikes me as familiar. After seeing enough, every character will look the same I guess. Kiba looks like L from Death Note, Blue looks like someone from out of Cowboy Bebop, and Toboe looks like the female lead in La Corda d'Oro, which amuses me to no end, because the female lead is less of a wuss, but only marginally.

Animation - it's Bones. They animated the Cowboy Bebop movie. I have nothing more to add other than, it doesn't suck. Oh, but I didn't like the nose drawings. Some things work only in anime, and others only work in real life. People complained about the noses in Escaflowne and I shrug it off. Wolf's Rain noses are much more noticeable.

Story was above average, although there were problems with pacing. The motivations of several characters weren't revealed until towards the end. In particular, one of the villains who orchestrates some major plot points didn't make their motivations known until the final episode of the TV series, although there was a bit of a plot twist involved. With everything feeling rushed at the end, it cheapened the effect. This was preceded by a lot of standing around and doing nothing, so pacing is weak at the end.

I liked Cher (not the singer), if for nothing else than that she was fairly pretty (others may disagree) and somewhat intelligent. Her doormat of an ex-husband, Hubb, not so much. But he makes for some comedic relief when paired with wolf-hunter Quent, especially when they get drunk or take turns getting drunk. The funniest moment of the series was when they had to stop by the roadside, because one was in need of a stomach pump, and the other was experiencing the effects of alcohol decomposition medicine. Remember kids, don't drink and drive.

The 4 episode OVA was enjoyable, although it did not bring any closure. Darcia's wolf character design, with the psychotic toothy grin and heterochromia, was pretty convincing. Basically everyone dies, but the main characters get resurrected in a cosmic reboot. Everything is dandy as paradise manifests itself on the world, except Darcia's evil eye just won't die. I suppose bad guys tend to be hard to kill. When last we see the main characters, their world looks a lot like the one they started out in, partly because of Darcia, and partly because humans are just horrible people.

Some argue that they're going to have to find paradise all over again. If that's the case, the story isn't very memorable. Who wants to see a story where no progress gets made? Overall the story wasn't memorable to begin with, and the ending is ambiguous. Depending on the way you interpret it, it will leave you disappointed, or…unmoved. Wait, those sound like the same things, don't they?

I did like the way things sort of came full circle to revolve around Darcia, and the series started off strong (the writers weren't afraid to rack up a body count early on), but the pacing, the filler, the ending, Toboe being irritating, and the mostly flat lead character (Kiba) just kind of makes this forgettable. In terms of moments, because I'm a moment type of person *cough* KnM *cough*, I wasn't dumbstruck. I'm struggling to conjure a highlight reel in my mind and it consists of: the drunk comedy moment, the bad ass walrus, the opening fight, Darcia's wolf form, and some profound exchanges being Hubb and Cher. The profound exchanges aren't profound enough to stick because I've heard them articulated better. Darcia kicked some ass, but motivation was hard to relate to. About the only thing I might take away from all this is that moment of alcohol induced comedy.