Wolf's Rain Vol. #7 - Mania.com

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  • Audio Rating: A-
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Bandai Entertainment
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Wolf's Rain

Wolf's Rain Vol. #7

By Chris Beveridge     April 13, 2005
Release Date: May 24, 2005

Wolf's Rain Vol. #7
© Bandai Entertainment

What They Say
Jaguara’s attempt to open a false Paradise has been crushed, but her actions may still destroy the world! As the remaining wolves and humans flee the collapsing castle, they see death and destruction all around. The wolves have made it out alive with some badly injured.

Kiba and the other wolves are not the only ones who have escaped. Now that Jaguara is out of the way, Darcia intends to open the true Paradise and remake the world. As his sanity and humanity slip away, he will come face to face with the wolves for one final battle to the death!

The Review!
Escaping from the ruins of Jaguar's Keep, everyone heads off to wherever they can only to come together for one final journey.

For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The series has a very solid stereo mix that has some subtle motions to it. As it's a late night show for us, we managed to have a very quiet set of surroundings while watching it and were able to really take in how well done the sound is. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout while the music fills up both channels beautifully. We spot checked the English track as it's done in 5.1 and found a nice enhancement over the stereo mix, though I still think the original blended mix works better.

Originally airing in 2003, Wolf's Rain is presented in its original full frame format and just looks stunning. With so much attention paid to the little details as well as such elaborately defined color palettes for the various places the characters go, this transfer just really absorbs you into it as it goes along. The only area where we had the slightest bit of problem is during the opening scene with the white wolf on the white snow where the LCD factor of our set gave it a bit of an extra twinkle that isn't in the print itself. Other than that, this looks almost flawless. Colors are great, cross coloration is virtually absent and aliasing was barely noticeable. The only change in the transfer that's different from previous releases from Bandai is that the usual Japanese text in the opening and ending sequences are replaced with English text instead.

While some of the covers haven't worked too well and some have come across good, this last one is probably my favorite of the series with it bringing things down to the core three characters that are essential here. The color style mixed with the golden colored line work just comes across very strongly here and without confusion. The back cover provides a collage of shots from the show that highlight various characters and some of the wolves in action while the bulk of the background is an off-white that makes it very easy to read the summary paragraphs. The discs features and extras are all clear and easy to read and since there's no volume information anywhere, we get episode numbers and titles just above the usual batch of production information and technical details. The insert replicates the front cover artwork with a bit less text and opens to a two panel spread that provides imagery from the final encounter as it winds down.

In a real change of pace for Bandai, they've got a nicely animated menu that has the image of a closed book on a table that opens up as the camera pans around and over it. When it opens, it shifts to the more standard static screen of the book itself while the open pages plays bits of animation from the show. Selections are ringed around it and are quick and easy to access and navigate. As usual, there are a number of front-loaded credit screens but they're all still fully skippable or menu takes you directly to the main menu animation. The disc also correctly read our players language presets and proceeded without issue.


Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the last four episodes of the series, things come to a rather dramatic and fairly straightforward ending though it does mix in some fun bits about what the end of the world and Paradise all really means. It takes what we've learned from the beginning of the show with Kiba and makes things plainly obvious for the most part and just barrels forward with it. With this review, it's spoilers ahoy here because so much goes on across all four episodes.

With the series reaching a climax in the previous volume as the fight in Jagura's Keep became so personal for some of them while others grappled with their apparent treachery, the show starts off very slow this time as the city has essentially fallen to the ground with the death of Jagura. Those in the upper city who had such a peaceful and oblivious life now find themselves being attacked by the former soldiers of the city who are stealing anything valuable for themselves and killing anyone who gets in their way. The city almost literally runs red with blood in some quarters and chaos has hit so quickly that it's devastating as the wolves watch from on high. Their journey to Paradise still continues and with Cheza in hand, they head off.

They're not the only ones continuing to just move and move away from things like this. Hubb and Cher find themselves back together and walking wherever they can find a way to go until they manage to find a deal gone bad among some soldiers and acquire a vehicle to drive along. In another area, Blue continues to follow Quent as she tries to convince him that they'd be better off with the wolves, especially now that he knows the truth, and they can find a way for everyone to reach Paradise. This becomes the final theme as it should as they all keep moving and eventually come together but things aren't going to be as easy as it could be or should be when the world feels likes it's ending like this.

Through this and with the book that Hubb has, we start to get some final clarity on just how the world works. The wolves came first and along the way they had humans who would be their messengers. But at the same time, some wolves forgot how to transform from human form back to wolf and they've passed their lineage on down the line throughout the years. This becomes little nuggets we find out as Darcia has made his way to where everyone is and has started the culling process. Through his golden wolf's eye, he's seen what the real Paradise is and knows that it cannot be made by a Noble but must be made by a wolf, which he's finally able to become having found the way. But only true wolves can make it to Paradise and this is a fated battle between Kiba and Darcia once Cheza is properly in place.

The culling process is one of the more brutal ones that I've seen in a series as it's spread over the final four episodes here. In particular, the way that Cher was removed was so cold, so brutal and yet so quick and quiet that it didn't quite sink at first. This was the hardest to take since it was the first and the one that signifies that the process has begun which gets backed up in narration by Hubb. It gets worse from there in some ways as the others start to fall and small truths come from some of them as they try to make sure things are left proper before their turn comes. And then you have those that are resigned to their fates having known since long ago that they'd never really be allowed to Paradise to begin with but had to go on this journey. It's violent and emotional but each one has such a strange and deep tenderness to it.

The end to the series brings in some of the kind of things you expect when you're dealing with the end of the world and with a way of restarting things over again in that it gets kind of out there in a lack of clarity way from what the writers are trying to say. This is done in a lot of shows with this kind of ending so it's not too surprising but it provides some ambiguity as to what really happens next. I liked how it played out, imagining that it takes place over more time than it looks like, but it's an appropriate end to the show that was filled with darkness, violence and a distinct lack of hope among almost everyone you met other than the wolves.

In Summary:
Wolf's Rain has been a hauntingly beautiful show from start to finish, though it hit a serious lag in the middle with that recap section which could have turned plenty of people off from it and changed how they felt about it going forwards. While a lot of shows in recent years have fallen apart in the second half, this one I think does it right by moving forward with some interesting changes and advancements to the plot that made getting to Paradise all the more possible for this ragtag group of wolves. In retrospect with this ending, a lot of things become much clearer and the way many of the characters have acted is cemented just right. This show was a real favorite that does something rare with its ending and plays it for all its worth. Very enjoyable and very memorable.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI with upconversion set to 720p, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.


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jnager 3/13/2012 9:56:25 AM

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