Title: Wolf Children Ame & Yuki
Author: Mamoru Hosoda
Character Design: Yoshiyuki Sadamoto
Genre: Fantasy, Graphic Novel, Magical Realism, Manga, Young Adult
Publisher: Yen Press (7th April 2014)
When Hana falls in love with a young interloper she encounters in her college class, the last thing she expects to learn is that he is part wolf. Instead of rejecting her lover upon learning his secret, she accepts him with open arms. Soon, the couple is expecting their first child, and a cozy picture of family life unfolds. But after what feels like a mere moment of bliss to Hana, the father of her children is tragically taken from her. Life as a single mother is hard in any situation, but when your children walk a fine line between man and beast, the rules of parenting all but go out the window. With no one to turn to how will Hana survive?
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5 stars)
WOLF CHILDREN AME & YUKI by Mamoru Hosoda, with art by Yu, is a magical story about love and choices. It is a beautifully illustrated story that follows Hana from college, where she meets a mysterious young man in one of her classes. She is immediately taken with him, and after offering to share her textbook with him the pair grow closer. When he reveals his secret, that he is part wolf, to her Hana is quick to accept him. They soon start a family together and are very happy, until tragedy strikes and Hana is forced to face the future with two small children alone.
It took me a while to actually pick up a copy of WOLF CHILDREN AME & YUKI up. I first saw a copy in a local bookstore and thought the illustrations were beautiful and the blurb sounded interesting. Then I saw part of the film that the book is based on*, and decided I had to get myself a copy. It really is a beautiful book in terms of both the writing and the illustrations. The edition I have purchased is actually a compilation of three volumes, so there are three sections of the story in colour, which was nice.
I will say straight off that if you are looking for a plot heavy manga, then WOLF CHILDREN AME & YUKI is not what you want. I don’t really think there is much of a plot to this book at all, but I think that the story is very beautiful and whimsical. There is an almost dreamlike quality to the whole narrative, and although the premise of the story is very surreal you still find yourself drawn into the narrative curious about Yuki and Ame’s fates. Hana really serves to pull the whole story together – much like she does to her family. In some ways WOLF CHILDREN AME & YUKI can be seen as a metaphor for/commentary on traditional and modern life particularly in Japan where the story is based.
Yu does a fantastic job helping to show Hosoda’s story. Their artwork works in tandem with Hosoda’s words to tell a rich and compelling story. The artwork is really dreamlike. Both city and country life are, in their different ways, lovely – Yu makes both seem alive and vibrant. All the main characters are unique, and I really enjoyed the way Yu showed Yuki and Ame’s part-wolf selves – the ears and tail, like on the cover, are just adorable. WOLF CHILDREN AME & YUKI is a lovely quick read that you are drawn into before you know it. This book would be perfect for fans of Studio Ghibli as there are similar themes touched on.
* Having checked what dates I could find, I’m pretty sure the film came first.