Wolf's Rain

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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!
  • 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.
  • 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 Russian.
    • And in perfectly correct Russian, may I add.
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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..."

    • Kiba and Tsume too. Also some between Cher and Cheza...
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters
  • Homing Projectile: the sufficiently advanced lasers.
  • Howl of Sorrow
    • The wolves after finding Toboe's dead body.
    • Toboe does this in remorse after accidentally killing a girl's pet hawk.
  • Hypno Trinket
  • Ineffectual Loner: Tsume starts off like this, but gets better.
  • Infant Immortality: Averted hard. In the first episode Tsume is leading a human gang of thieves. During a heist a young boy who Hero Worships Tsume falls. Tsume tries to catch the boy, but witnessing Tsume's sudden transformation into a wolf causes the kid to panic, fall, and die.
    • Less "sudden transformation" than the fact that when Tsume appeared to be grabbing him with a hand, he was really grabbing the kid's shoulder with his teeth. The wolf-bite hurt, the situation allowed the kid to see through the illusion, and, well...
    • And then Toboe gets killed in the OVA...
      • And then in the finale EVERYONE dies. In the whole world. Children included.
  • Inspector Javert: Quent
  • Interspecies Romance: Kiba has two. Cheza the Artificial Human, and a female Caracal (which may have been dead at the time) from the Lotus Eater Machine.
    • The former is even more disturbing when you think about the fact that Cheza is at least 200 years old, but her human form looks about 13 or so, and Kiba is only about 2 or 3 in wolf years, but his human form looks anywhere from 19-21. So it's pedophilia either way, regardless of how you look at it.
    • Toboe and Leara. It didn't last long though, as Toboe accidentally killed her pet hawk, and in the emotion of the moment he dropped his human disguise and let out a mournful howl. She understandably does not take any of this well.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Tsume
  • Jump Cut: This is how we transition between wolves looking like wolves and looking like humans; no morphing, no nothing.
  • Just Before the End
  • Kill the Cutie: Several. Toboe is the most memorable one,though.
  • Kill'Em All: In a distressingly systematic fashion, followed by a possible Reincarnation, depending on what you think is actually happening in that very last scene. However, the manga version of the story has the wolves and Cheza survive. The bad news is that Kiba ends up being blinded in the fight with Lord Darcia. The good news is that the clouds part, the sun shines and the Ice Age ends.
  • Licked By The Wolf: Early on when Tsume is being a jerkass, Toboe's liking for him is one of the few things (besides his badassery) that makes him likeable. Although being voiced by Crispin Freeman doesn't hurt...
  • Lie to the Beholder: The wolves' human forms are merely psychic illusions; they can't fool animals, security cameras, or so on.
  • Limited Wardrobe: The wolves, when in human form, are always seen wearing the same clothes. As, actually, is pretty much everybody, for the most part (Hubb and Cher are shown wearing different outfits in Flash Back but their clothes don't change much in the actual show).
  • Lotus Eater Machine: There's a plant whose pollen puts anyone who comes near it to sleep until they eventually die. This is possibly subverted, depending on your interpretation of the scenes that follow.
  • Love At First Sight: Kiba and Cheza fall for each other the moment they first see one another in Episode 7.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Hoo boy, Darcia. His love for Hamona and her eventual loss is what drove him to become Ax Crazy in the first place.
  • MacGuffin Girl: Cheza.
  • Magical Native American: Thankfully withheld until the nineteenth episode.
  • Manchurian Agent: With a Chekhov's Gun you might easily dismiss.
  • Mask Power: Darcia, but all Nobles like masks apparently. Nobles are freaks.
  • Mercy Kill: When Hige is fatally wounded by Darcia he asks Tsume to finish him off because he doesn't want to feel anymore pain.
  • Mind Screw: The ending.
  • Mismatched Eyes: Lord Darcia.
  • Monochromatic Eyes: Cheza, to make her look less human.
  • Morality Pet: Toboe for Tsume.
  • Mortal Wound Reveal: Tsume got seriously injured in a battle. His pose suggested he was deliberately hiding it, but then he looked at it like he was surprised.
  • Motherly Scientist: Cher.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Kiba, Tsume, Hige and even Darcia all qualify, depending on your tastes.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Jagara does this openly. Followed by an If I Can't Have You, when the beloved doesn't appreciate the deed.
  • Mysterious Waif: Cheza
  • Names to Know in Anime
  • Nightmare Face: Darcia makes a few of these.
  • Noblewoman's Laugh: Jagara
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Darcia in the penultimate episode delivers this to pretty much everyone.
    • He does it again in the finale, this time killing everyone but Kiba and Cheza. The only reason why both of them survived was because Darcia got incinerated when he tried to enter Paradise alone.
  • Nostalgia Heaven: In episode 29, the dead or dying Toboe has a vision of himself as a pup with his beloved human Granny (whose death he accidentally caused and always felt guilty over).
  • Official Couple: Kiba and Cheza. Their romance ends very tragically...
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Not explicitly addressed until the very last episodes. And even then, it's up to interpretation.
  • Oracular Urchin: Cheza
  • Owl Be Damned: That freaky (ghost?) owl who keeps popping up.
  • Papa Wolf: Tsume begrudgingly takes on this role with Toboe, right down to the very end.
  • Power-Up Food: Quent Yaden can see through the wolves' illusions after consuming alcohol.
  • Proud Warrior Species Guy: Kiba has a chip on his shoulder.
  • Raised by Wolves: Interesting inversion. Although this show is about wolves, only two out of the five wolf main characters were actually raised by wolves, Tsume and presumably Hige. The rest were raised by humans. Because they are wolves, they tends to lack emotion when they are in their human forms, and can be very awkward when actually conversing with humans. Toboe, Blue, and Hige are all much more comfortable around humans, because they have been around them more. In Toboe's case, his attachment to humans is what ultimately causes his downfall.
  • Reality Subtext: In Real Life, Japanese wolves were rendered extinct. These ones fare no better
    • However, these wolves are big and badass, while the Honshu wolf was only a little bigger than the coyote...
  • Really Seven Hundred Years Old: At least three of the four named nobles. And Cheza.
  • Relationship Voice Actor: Steve Blum and Mary Elizabeth McGlynn in a series with music composed by Yoko Kanno. Sound familiar?
    • Related, Unsho Ishizuka (the voice of Jet Black) with Yoko Kanno, and Maaya Sakamoto with Yoko Kanno as well (Sakamoto sings the outro theme "Gravity.")
  • Reset Button Ending: After Kiba dies, we see the whole world has been reset into modern day Earth, indicating that Paradise is just the real world where wolves are not mystical creatures.
  • Roboteching: Beam cannons used by Nobles tend to behave like this.
  • Sanity Slippage: While in the city, Hige starts losing his mind, making for one of the more disturbing sequences in the anime.
  • Say My Name: Toboe. He seems to be looking for someone practically every episode.
  • Scars Are Forever: Tsume, Kiba
  • Scenery Gorn: Quite a few examples, particularly the ruined city in "Scars in the Wilderness".
  • Shout-Out: "Julius", the male prostitute from Cowboy Bebop, briefly shows up in one episode.
  • Shoot The Wolf: Quent makes this his entire life mission after a wolf destroyed his home and killed his family. He ends up regretting it after he shoots a wolf who gave up his life trying to save him, causing a My God, What Have I Done? moment just before dying with said wolf.
    • What makes it even more tragic is that this was revealed to ultimately be pointless, as wolves merely scavenged on the remains of his family after they were really killed by Jagara's forces -- either as collateral damage or part of a cover-up, it's not really made clear -- in an attempt to capture Darcia, when he had first shifted into his wolf-form years before the series started.
  • Sixth Ranger: In Blue's case, she's the Fifth Ranger, though technically, she spends most of the time on her own.
  • Slasher Smile: Darcia does this a lot in the final episodes, to go along with his descent into insanity.
  • Solemn Ending Theme: "Gravity", sung in English by Maaya Sakamoto.
  • Sorcerous Overlord: Jagura. She's an Evil Overlord and Aristocrats Are Evil who doubles as a Dark Action Girl, and Vain Sorceress. And a Jerkass bitch.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: The most notable example is Kiba and Cheza. Hubb and Cher, Darcia and Hamona, and Hige and Blue qualify as well.
  • Surprisingly Good English: Many of the songs are sung in English.
  • Sword Fight: Jagura vs Darcia
  • Talking to the Dead
  • That Poor Plant: Poor Cheza...
  • Theme Naming: Kiba = Fangs, Tsume = Claws, Hige = Whiskers, Toboe = Howl, Darcia = dark.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Jagura managed to hit a running wolf this way. Granted, the wolf in question was running towards her.
  • Third Person Person: Cheza always refers to herself as "This one."
  • Together in Death: Toboe and Quent, Hige and Blue, and technically Cheza and Kiba, although Cheza's body literally goes to seed before Kiba dies.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Blue spends half the series fighting wolves with a burning passion and hatred, only to find out she's half-wolf.
  • Tragic Dream: Hub comforting Cher while they are being held captive by discussing how after this is over they'll live by the sea in a house together, and grow old together. Even if they get out of the situation, the world is an icy wasteland on the verge of a complete nuclear winter, there's really no chance they'll ever get to see this dream come true.
  • Train Job
  • Translation Convention: All the text in the series appears to be in the Cyrillic, i.e. Russian, alphabet. The Russian seems to be genuine - eg Kniga Luna, The Book of the Moon.
    • That's not completely correct. Kniga Luna would be "Book Moon", unless it's made to be Kniga Luny in which the the word moon becomes possessive.
    • It's Kniga Luny, and all other text signs are correct, too.
  • True Companions
  • Uncanny Valley: Deliberately invoked to make the Nobles, especially Darcia in the last few episodes, unnerving even without those Eyes Wide Shut masks of theirs. The show manages do this even with Darcia's wolf form. Those Mismatched Eyes are creepy.
    • What's really creepy about Darcia's wolf form eyes is the way they're wide open.
  • Darcia's expressions in his wolf form, because it is clear he is forcing human expression to a wolf's face. This makes his grin especially disturbing.
  • Unkempt Beauty: Cher usually has disheveled hair due to her work, and this just makes her that much hotter.
  • Walking the Earth: Justified as they're actually looking for something.
  • Warrior Poet
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human? Inverted, most humans in the story are important only by their relation to the wolves. The remorseless killing of dozens of human mooks (And even some members of Tsume's gang)by the wolves is never given a second thought.
  • Wolves Among Us
  • Word of Gay: The character designer and director said in an interview that Toboe and Tsume being more than just friends may not have been entirely made up by fans.
  • Xenofiction
  • Yandere: Jagara
  • Yoko Kanno
  • You Are Worth Hell: Blue has no idea if she "counts" as a real wolf, and if she'd be able to get to Paradise at all. Hige is willing to give up paradise if she can't come with him.
  • Zettai Ryouiki: Blue seems to wear a version of them when she's in human form.