Based on the critically-acclaimed feature film, the manga adaptation of Wolf Children: Ame & Yuki is every bit as stunning and complex as the movie. Taking place over thirteen years, this is the bittersweet tale of a mother who gives up everything for her children, without regret.
Hana is a hardworking college student with a positive outlook. Her simple life changes when she falls in love with the last descendant of the extinct Japanese wolf clan, and together they have two half-human, half-wolf children. After a fatal accident claims their father’s life, Hana is left raising Ame and Yuki alone. Hana’s motto has always been to smile through sadness, and with this in mind, she rises to the challenge. Cramped city life is not the best environment for rambunctious wolf children, so Hana, Ame, and Yuki move to the country where there is plenty of open space and fewer people who might ask complicated questions. With the help of the local villagers—and plenty of hard work—Hana successfully lives off the land.
As Ame and Yuki get older, they begin to find their own paths. Yuki, once fearless and confident in her wolf form, wants nothing more than to be a normal girl who wears dresses, attends school, and makes friends. When a new student makes Yuki angry and she harms him, she becomes even more determined not to become a wolf again. Conversely, Ame was always timid. But after he meets a wild wolf who offers to train him, he decides he wants to be a wolf forever and assumes the role of protector of the forest after his teacher dies. Hana never expected her children to leave her at such a young age, but after having a dream in which she is reunited with her husband, she realizes that she has done all she could for Ame and Yuki, successfully raising them to an early adulthood.
Oftentimes, manga adaptations that are based on television series or movies seem lacking when compared to manga titles that preceded their film adaptations. This is not the case with Wolf Children: Ame & Yuki. Fans of the movie will find that this is a faithful adaptation and uninitiated readers will not be confused or feel that they are missing something. The pacing and flow work perfectly in the manga; the story is broken up into three parts, each beginning with full color pages and ending with author and artist notes, as well as bonus sketches. The artwork is absolutely gorgeous and it is surprising that this is Yu’s first published book. The characters are gentle and the backgrounds are intricate.
Wolf Children: Ame and Yuki is an essential purchase for any collection. As with its film counterpart, the manga is a true masterpiece. Readers will laugh, cry, and root for its characters—especially the resilient Hana.
Wolf Children: Ame & Yuki
by Mamoru Hosoda
Art by Yu
Yen Press, 2014