Wolf's Rain

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

A voice calls to me... it says "Search for Paradise."

The Earth is dying. Years of war between greedy Nobles have reduced the world to a handful of high-tech, Giger-esque cities in a barren wilderness. But there is one small hope left: an old legend says that in civilization's last days, wolves will follow the scent of lunar flowers to Paradise. Both wolves and lunar flowers have been extinct for centuries, however—or, at least, that's what people think.

The remaining wolves learned how to project illusions which make them look and sound human. Four such wolves—Kiba, Tsume, Hige and Toboe—meet up in a decaying domed city, drawn together by the scent of lunar flowers. The scent originates from Cheza, a mysterious young girl who was genetically bred from a lunar flower by a group of Nobles, in the hope of studying her and capturing a wolf in order to open a gateway to Paradise.

When one Noble, called Darcia, kidnaps Cheza to use her healing powers to help his Ill Girl fiancee, both the wolves (who are irresistibly drawn to Cheza) and the feuding Nobles behind Cheza's creation chase after him. Complicating this three-way feud is obsessive wolf hunter Quent, who knows how wolves protect themselves and is determined to kill them at all costs with the help of his loyal dog Blue.

Wolf's Rain originally ran for twenty-six episodes, but budget cuts and the SARS outbreak resulted in four consecutive clip shows (#15 - 18) -- the broadcast series ends with the wolves foiling a Noble's attempt to enter Paradise, but without concluding the story proper. Four new OVA episodes (#27 - 30) were released a few months later; these episodes bring closure to the story and character arcs, but have been criticized for their dark and tragic events. The final episode explains the show's title, since the only rain seen up to that point is in the opening titles. Some TV networks outside Japan omit the OVAs from the show's broadcast.

Tropes used in Wolf's Rain include:
  • Abridged Series: You better believe it![context?]
  • Accidental Murder:
    • Toboe unintentionally killed his elderly human owner/grandma because he was being too playful.
    • Later he kills a girl's pet hawk by giving over to his hunter instinct.
  • Action Girl: Blue
  • Adventure Towns: Most of which are authentically seedy and decaying.
  • Animal Talk: The classic "two languages, Human and All Other Animals" version is explicitly in place once you see Toboe having a conversation with a horse. Even before then, Toboe often talks about having heard rumors from other animals, such as cats and crows.
  • Anime First
  • Anyone Can Die: You'd better believe it.[context?]
  • Apocalypse How: Class 3A into Class 6. The whole planet is dying, because years of war has wrecked the environment beyond repair, so the world is slowly being enveloped by a nuclear winter ice age. By the end of the last episode, Kiba is assumed to be the last living creature on the planet, before he dies and resets all of reality.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: The Nobles certainly aren't a very moral bunch.
  • Artificial Human: The "flower maiden," Cheza. Ancient alchemy was involved, apparently.
  • Attractive Bent Species: All the wolves in their human image are a prime source of this.
  • Awesome but Impractical: Jaguara's elite wolf-hunter soldiers. The armor makes sense, but there's no rational reason they should use those poleaxes and swords instead of guns. The shields make sense, except for the fact that the handle is basically just a handgun grip, which is great for aiming a small weapon but terrible for use with a shield.
  • Ax Crazy: Darcia becomes this in the OVA episodes.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: In the finale, Darcia kills them all and his eye corrupts the paradise Cheza's seeds created.
  • Badass Abnormal: Darcia was already very Badass as a human. Then he goes all Buick-sized wolf on them.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Tsume. Complete with pelvic bones...
  • Beta Couple: Hige and Blue.
  • Bilingual Bonus: All the signs in the series are in perfectly correct Russian.
  • Big Badass Wolves: Well, duh. However, there is a grain of realism to their fantastically long/high jumps—wolves in the real world can clear up to six feet with no head start whatsoever.
    • Kiba can bend steel with his fangs.
      • Wolves do have a bite force around 1500 lbs per square inch. A bulky German Shepard only has 750psi bite force and they can rip your arm clean off if they've a mind to.
  • Bishonen: Kiba and Toboe, who is easily confused for a girl by viewers. The voice doesn't help.
    • It gets better: the artist for the series' manga also thought Toboe was a girl!
      • The fact that in the anime's ending Toboe is wearing the girliest shade of pink ever, to the point where it looks like he was reincarnated as a girl. Might be Lampshading the fact the writers do realize how feminine Toboe comes off as.
    • Darcia might be the most straightforward example, though; unless he's too old for the trope.
  • Break the Cutie: Cheza, Toboe, Blue and Hige. Like whoa.
  • Break the Haughty: The other half of the cast.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: All the characters do this quite often after the credits. When previewing the next episode, for example Toboe says, "[. . .] [Liara]'s so nice, really nice, eh, oh wait, you don't know me yet do you? Just watch the next episode, you'll see."
  • Breast Plate: Jagura plays this straight. Her death does not.
  • Crapsack World: It seems to be a environmental cold wasteland, with some civilization still left together, but mostly in decaying cities that are few and far between.
  • Crusading Widower: Quent.
  • The Cutie: Toboe and Cheza.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Quent seems to fit this trope when he's around Hubb.
    • Tsume seems to count as well, seeing how he occasionally made dry, cynical remarks and sarcastically calling Hige "Porky" at times.
    • Heck, even Hub at some degree at the mentioning of his failed marriage with Cher.
    • Hige himself has a tendency to get a bit snarky as well.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Darcia goes through this after the death of Harmona. We get to watch it in all its heartrending glory.
    • Kiba seems to suffer a very painful one at the end of the series. Not only does he die alone, he's the last living thing in the world to die.
  • Deus Ex Machina: Cheza
  • Died Happily Ever After: Toboe
  • Different As Night and Day: A literal Evil Twin, Jagara turns out to be Hamona's evil sister; also, Kiba's human form looks a lot like Darcia's, which as it turns out is no coincidence...
  • Disc One Final Dungeon: Jagara's palace.
  • Divided We Fall: At first Kiba and Tsume have this relationship, but over time Tsume comes to believe more in their quest for paradise and becomes a vital aid.
  • Doomed Hometown: Curious.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him[context?]
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Quent, Hubb and Cher. Mainly Quent though.
  • Due to the Dead: Cher is the first person to die in the final episodes, unable to get out of the vehicle fast enough before it falls down the cliff. Hubb and the Wolves are able to get down the cliff fast enough for Hubb to spend his final moments with her, before he lays her body into the nearby river and lets it sink into the depths.
  • Dystopia:
    • Mew's world, the fake Paradise.
    • Jagara's city is implied to be this.
  • Emotionless Girl: Cheza
  • Evil Counterpart: After crossing the Despair Event Horizon, Darcia basically becomes like an evil, crazy version of Kiba.
  • Evil Eye: This is what is below Darcia's eyepatch.
  • Fainting: Cheza faints all the time! It may be justified, though, since she's supposed to be a flower, and with all the time she spends out of water, most real flowers would wilt.
  • Fairy Tale Motifs: One of Cheza's outfits is, yes, a red riding hood.
  • Fan Nickname: Jaguara and Hamona, also known as Jugara and Hamona-hamona-hamona
  • Fan Service: The opening credits has a very blatant ass shot of Kiba.
  • Fangs Are Evil: Well, considering the hero is named after his fangs...
  • Fantastic Arousal: When Toboe and Hige get petted by Cheza, they become blushing moaning fanatics crying out that it "feels nice"
  • Five-Man Band:
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: The aforementioned ability of the wolves to assume human form is sometimes confusing. Most of the time, they apparently retain their wolf form, only appearing to be human. They also, for the most part, seem to be incapable of certain human activities such as driving or using firearms. Yet they sometimes appear to be holding objects in their hands. It usually translates to holding things in their mouths, as shown when Tsume grabs Toboe to keep him from falling. The confusion mostly stems from the fact that they also spend a lot of time looking human even while there are no humans around to fool. Possibly, this is a sort of Translation Convention; the audience can identify with the characters better if they look human. It doesn't really get weird until they start chowing down on a dead deer—while in human form.
  • Freak-Out: Lord Darcia when Jaguara's men infiltrate his keep and kill Hamona
  • Friend to All Living Things: Toboe, as much as he can be, anyway.
  • Go Out with a Smile: Quent
  • Godiva Hair: Hamona and Jagara
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: The OST has songs sung in several different languages, including English, Japanese, French, Italian, Portuguese, and even some Native American chanting. And it's all done flawlessly, but then again, this is Yoko Kanno, after all.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: Tsume
  • Here We Go Again: Subverted. The series opens with Kiba wounded, staggering through the snow after the death of his pack: "A voice calls to me. It says, 'search for Paradise...' " The scene and monologue recur in episode 30, only this time, he's the only character who is still alive. In the last scene of the series, some of the characters appear alive again in a modern city, and Kiba starts running, implying that his search for the Paradise started again.
  • Heroic Albino: Cheza
  • Heroic BSOD: Kiba has one after Cheza dies. Then he dies shortly after. Tsume has one at Toboe's death as well,proving himself to be a Jerk with a Heart of Gold after crying Manly Tears and going into his Woobieriffic Backstory with his dead,fallen friend.
  • Hey, It's That Voice!: Doesn't Darcia the Third rise from the dead, swapping his wolf form for a chainsaw attatched to his arm, and participating in a game show called Death Watch? Only after killing that white-haired gangster.
  • Hollywood Pudgy: Hige seems to be described by other characters as being chubby. In his wolf form he's a tad fluffier than the others, but other than that he is still your typical anime pretty boy.
  • Holographic Terminal[context?]
  • Hot Scientist: Cher
  • Humans Are Easier to Draw: This may be the only series that turns the Animals Are Easier to Draw Trope on its ear. The wolves may spend a questionable amount of time appearing human because it's easier to animate. The artists presumably have much more experience animating the human figure and its movements.
    • It's also a lot easier for the audience to relate to human-like characters than to wolves.
    • Except for the scenes where you have them EATING CARRION in HUMAN FORM. Or when Toboe licks Tsume's bullet wound. What the hell, animators!?
  • Homoerotic Subtext: Tsume and Toboe, enough said.

"I wanted to take you to paradise..."