Chirin no Suzu
Mimi: Chirin is a happy, innocent little lamb who is carefully looked after by his mother, and they live peacefully in a beautiful meadow. Curiosity always drives Chirin to explore around and play with new things, so his mother warns him not to go beyond the fence where the wolf king lives. On one unfortunate night, however, the wolf breaks through the fence and attacks the sheep, ultimately killing Chirin’s mother. From that moment on, Chirin swears to get revenge for his mother’s death, so he leaves the herd in search of the wolf. At this point, the light-hearted atmosphere completely vanishes, and this turns into an incredibly dark, depressing, and violent tale.
I honestly can’t imagine how children could enjoy this film. The animals brutally tear each other up and look frightening, and there isn’t a shred of happiness, not even for Chirin. When he finds the wolf, he realizes that he’s too weak to kill him, so he begs to become the wolf’s apprentice. He figures that if he can become a wolf himself, he will be strong enough to take revenge. Throughout his training, it’s just depressing to watch his exhausted little body endure so much pain, as well as his slow transformation into a killing machine. Chirin ends up befriending the wolf, and he is no longer recognizable after so long. The film doesn’t end happily ever after either.
Even though I wouldn’t quite show this to young kids, I was very entertained by the concept. Chirin impressed me as being very strong-willed, courageous, and easy to get over his fears. I certainly didn’t expect that adorable little thing to be packed with so much punch, let alone his shocking transformation. It was interesting to see how he conquered all of the odds and developed a relationship with the wolf. However, the dialogue, acting, and singing can be rather cheesy and melodramatic at times, and the film is too short to properly develop the characters. There could have been much more to the wolf, and it would have been great to see other aspects of their relationship instead of a quick time skip. But nevertheless, this is quite a hidden gem and a surprising, good film to pick up if you’re interested.
Mimi’s Score: 7 Meeps out of 10 (Good)