The past weekend, I finally watched Wolf Children, the acclaimed 2013 anime film from director Mamoru Hosoda. I've been wanting to see this film ever since I stumbled across it while researching work on my werewolf novel two years ago. Though it's very different than the tale I'm crafting, the idea of wolf children intrigued me and it was a delight to see how it was handled in this beautiful film.
In many ways, Wolf Children is a classic fairy tale but with a decidedly modern feel, dealing with modern day problems. It handles extremely difficult subjects like death and childhood anxieties with delicate care, while never attempting to gloss over them or trivialize their seriousness. There are moments in the movie that are incredibly sad, but they are balanced with moments of triumph.
It's strange how I find myself now watching things with a parental eye. When this movie was over, I was left with an overwhelming excitement to one day share it with my daughter, who has been fascinated with the DVD cover for weeks. Rated PG, it has that kind of Bambi feel that makes it appropriate for introducing tough subjects in a way that children can understand and not be terribly afraid of. And the message of following your heart, being yourself, and helping others is one that every parent can appreciate.