Wolf Children Original Soundtrack – Review

Album Title: Wolf Children Original Soundtrack or
Ookami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki Original Soundtrack
Anime Title: Wolf Children
Artist: Ann Sally, Masakatsu Takagi
Catalog Number: VPCG-84928
Release Type: Soundtrack
Release Date: July 18, 2012
Purchase at: CDJapan, Play-Asia, iTunes

Review: Mamoru Hosoda’s Wolf Children puts Hana, a normal woman, in an unusual position of being the single mother to two half-man-half-wolf children. Her circumstances are far from ideal; when her husband encounters a mishap, she must learn on the fly about how to deal with her children’s wolfish traits as she struggles to raise them. Hana’s trials and tribulations as a mother would test anyone’s patience, but she endures, retaining a kindness of spirit as she imparts unto her children much love.

Hana’s loving warmth, her perseverance in raising her children, and the emotions she experiences as she watches her children grow and mature: all that, and more, are captured in Wolf Children‘s wonderful score. Masakatsu Takagi’s music has all the marks of a very personal approach to depicting motherhood, with a subtlety that is altogether fitting. As you go through the soundtrack, a cozy aura seeps forth and draws you into its comforting embrace.

For starters, the soft cooing in “First Echo” immerses you in a current of soothing sounds which, when paired alongside the piano, allows the quiet joys to permeate the air. In doing so, “First Echo” lets the heart stew in quiet contentment as it lays out the soundtrack’s primary motif, which morphs depending on the need. The motif takes an optimistic turn in the next track, “Circulation,” where its initial tranquil atmosphere and delicate aura is impressive in the way it depicts new life. It then perks up, sowing seeds of happiness which bloom, persevering in the face of difficulties, to warm your heart and soul.

As you go further into the album, Takagi’s compositions evolve alongside the two wolf children. Through the music, their growth displays the intensity of carefree childhood days without sacrificing the quiet interludes where they rest after a full day of play. “Lullaby in the Peaceful Light” sticks to its title function by ushering in a soothing tone that then meanders along in quiet delight. The mood gets a bigger lift when the strings enter halfway through, draping the air with an upwelling of happiness. “Maternity Sky” continues that same motif, this time, letting Hana’s resolve and determination flow through the kind, but firm delivery via the violin and piano duet which expresses her desire for her children to have the best.

The mood brightens even more, starting with “Nene’s” briskness. In hearing this piece, images of a happy family set in as the contented vocal hums weave in and out, echoing the interactions between Hana and her children and creating a serene tapestry of music that imitates life. But in terms of Takagi’s use of the chorus, nothing beats “Oyoste Aina.” The piano and the chorus work in harmony to paint a picture of a beautiful beginning, rich in possibility. A cacophonous display then emerges, sparkling with love as voice and instruments each beat their own separate path before flowing together in perfect harmony to piece together a vibrant sense of community.

And just when you thought things couldn’t get better, Takagi proceeds to capture the excitement of childhood in the track, “Kito Kito – Dance of Your Nature.” As the music rushes along with wild abandon, the energy that springs from the strings and piano takes your breath away. The relentlessness will leave you spellbound in the way it jumps about, exhorting you to explore and see what lies over every hilltop and river bend.  “Kito Kito’s” exuberance shows Wolf Children in its finest, most spirited moment, and as the music dies down, the sparkling impression that lingers compels you to cry out of happiness.

As the chaos subsides, Takagi’s more ordered, subdued tracks show up. For example, “Weave Your world,” is distant, carrying a searching quality as though to depict the wolf children’s search for their own identity and place in the world. For Ame, the younger of the two siblings, his place lies in the mountains, made apparent in “A Boy and a Mountain” where the piece floods your ears with cacophony. Through the instrumentation, you’ll hear the twittering of birds, the rush of the wind, and the cry of animals, all of which combine for one last moment of chaos to compellingly show why Ame is so drawn to nature. The more purposeful passages in the piece drive this fervent feeling on, thereby stating that Ame’s wild nature will not be denied.

The results of Ame’s desires and subsequent actions manifest in “Rainbow Mane” where the vocals speak to his mother’s mournfulness. Her delivery resembles that of a keening wail, where she expresses her sense of loss resulting from Ame leaving their home to live in the mountains. But her strength returns in “Home After Rain,” with its tone of acceptance. The piece starts off with the delicate piano before the strings and woodwinds join in, strengthening her resolve as she accepts, as all mothers do, that her child has grown up and seeks his own path. With the realization, the song blooms radiantly, and ends on a stately note to indicate that all is well.

Hana’s last dab of reminiscence comes in “Mother’s Song,” a poignant piece that encompasses all facets of motherhood, from the optimistic expectations, to the bonding experiences, to the difficulties she’ll endure. But above all, it reflects the love a mother shows towards her children, and Ann Sally’s performance distills those sentiments perfectly. Taken in sum with everything else Masakatsu Takagi has written for Wolf Children, this is, by far and away, the best soundtrack to come out of Hosoda’s works, eclipsing the likes of Summer Wars and Girl Who Leapt Through Time.

Rating: Excellent


Anime Instrumentality's Founder and Editor-in-Chief. As you can probably guess, I'm a big anime music junkie with a special love for composers who've put out some beautiful melodies to accompany some of my favorite anime series. I tend to gravitate towards music in the classical style with Joe Hisaishi and Yoko Kanno being a few of my favorite composers, but I've come to appreciate jazz and rock as anime music has widened my tastes.

8 thoughts on “Wolf Children Original Soundtrack – Review

  • January 22, 2015 at 10:15 am

    Ever time I hear Dance of Your Nature I feel like crying. That music is so beautiful and moving!

    Just discovered your blog! I’m now following with Bloglovin’!

    • January 22, 2015 at 3:01 pm

      Thanks! That music so effortlessly conjures up the scene then they’re running around in the snow having fun as only wolf children can. There’s a wild excitement instilled in it that makes it so beautiful and impactful. Glad you love it and thanks for the follow!

  • February 2, 2015 at 3:19 am

    I’m very happy to have read this review, which perfectly illustrates how lovely this soundtrack truly is. The OST is also one of the reasons why I love Wolf Children so much. It was pleasant to watch (and the OST, very delightful to listen to).

    My favorite has to be Nene, simply because it was the track used during my favorite part in the movie.

    • February 4, 2015 at 9:41 am

      Yup, it’s a very peaceful work and just as wonderful when the melodies remind you of the many wonderful moments in the anime. Glad you loved it as much as I did!

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  • January 7, 2022 at 9:02 pm

    Sorry to comment on such an old post, if you are still around. do you remember when in the film ‘Rainbow Mane’ plays? I just can’t seem to find it.
    On another note, I really like what you said about ‘Home After Rain’ and ‘Mother’s Song’, they are enough to tear me up again just from a listen.

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