Ross founded the UK Anime Network waaay back in 1995 and works in and around the anime world in his spare time.
Wolf's Rain Vol.4
Date 20 Mar 2006
At its halfway point, Wolf’s Rain has decided to take a break. We have 2 episodes continuing the story, and then a lazy retelling of the story so far in the latter two episodes. This, in a way, makes this feel like half a disc.
Certainly, the series has been pretty busy. We’ve established the setting in a world at the end of its life, with the remnants of humanity finding a way to survive among the oppressive cities and the high technology of the Noble classes, but the journey has been heavy going, and very bleak in places. As an artistic achievement it’s beautiful, but the strange style and the leaden narrative is starting to take its toll, and the last thing we need is to go over it all again.
It isn't as if recaps can't be done well either. Gundam Seed had a few such episodes (which is understandable for a 50 episode show) but at least one of these was inventive enough to rehash the animation and put a novel twist on it, with an alternative spin on events by one of the series leading characters. No such luck here, more's the pity.
That said, the disc does have it’s charms. It leads with a character driven episode which chronicles the ex-detective and fugitive Hubb and his travelling companion, the vengeful, Wolf-obsessed Quent. It has a melancholy charm, and the banter between the characters is heartfelt and entertaining. It’s quite the polar opposite of the following episode, which sees Noble Darcia’s keep invaded by warring nobles and Wolves trying to rescue Cheza.
Over the course of the series I’ve found myself drawn increasingly to the fragile human characters, and less toward the Wolves themselves. I’ve become a little uncaring about their quest to find paradise, and subsequently less involved with the series as a whole. Like Witch Hunter Robin, the style is smothering the substance, and with the next volume opening with two more recap episodes, the series is doing little to help itself earn favour.
Extras include a cast interview, Karaoke opening and closing credits (quite cool actually!) and the usual trailers.
Half a disc of recap and an increasingly leaden story are saved by the human characterisation and the odd tender moment.