"Why are we born? Why do we die? … This era too is almost at an end."
"Having pride doesn't matter that much if you're dead."
The tale of Wolf's Rain comes to a close in this seventh volume, and it's depressing as hell.
Hope for our traveling band in these final four episodes is scarce, as they attempt to finish what they set out to do 26 episodes earlier: open a paradise only accessible to wolves, a mystical species (which can take human form ) in a world where mankind is destroying itself. Every turn on this DVD is chock full of tragedy, a closing to a lovely (but moody) anime that was either really, really smart, or purely manipulative.
If you fully fall into the journeys of your anime characters, you might come away pissed and teary-eyed, shaking your fist at creators Studio BONES and Keiko Nobumoto. If you watched this series from a distance, enjoying the good visuals but never connecting with the wolves or humans, you'll be pleasantly shocked.
Either way Wolf's Rain: Final Encounters is smartly animated, full of action, and just a tad confusing, a nice combination for most any anime, especially so for one without mecha.
The stench of death chokes the air, at every step and stride, as the wolves make their last effort to open paradise. The city of Lady Jaguara (read previous reviews) has fallen apart with her absence (that's what happens when you try to open a false paradise), while the human soldiers are grabbing what they can and running for the hills. Wolf's Rain is now about all our principals, on the road to a final showdown with Darcia, the handsome and evil human-turning-wolf who has his own nefarious agenda.
Quent, the human who's been hunting the wolves, will have to face the fact his mission (his obsession) may be based on falsities. Cher and Hubb accompany the wolves and Quent on their journey, and finally acknowledge the feelings they have for each other. But it may be too late for them. Both of them. Blue feels more and more like an outsider looking in, a half-breed who doesn't know which way to turn. Kiba and the wolves? Eyes are on the prize, their hopes resting on Cheza, the mysterious girl who is their key to paradise's door.
Will everyone survive to see the paradise they all long for? Is Darcia too powerful for the wolves? Maybe most importantly, were you OK with how things unfolded in The End of Evangelion? Because this really is the end – no doubt about it – and you'll have to come to terms with it. There won't be a second season of Wolf's Rain.
All in all, this DVD looks pretty sharp, if a bit dark. Colors and black levels are fine, digital problems are at a minimum.
Great music, a pretty good English dub and some awesome ambient noise come together in a solid 5.1 sound package. Background music is a bit loud in the rear channels, overtaking dialogue at a few points, but other than that, I couldn't find much to complain about. The Japanese 2.0 track was OK, though obviously less dynamic than the English track.
Once again, the menus on the Wolf's Rain DVDs are sharp, picture book concoctions, but the extras on all these DVDs were outright sad. Only three trailers and DVD credits are here, in this final volume of a sharp, beautiful series. For shame, Bandai, for shame!
This DVD has been on the streets for awhile now, and if you've been picking up Bandai's previous six volumes of Wolf's Rain, you already have this one on the shelf. If you don't, this final volume of the show is Highly Recommended for fans of the show, and Recommended to the casual anime fan. A complete collection is slated for November 2005.