Rain [1932]

Although wolves are supposed to have died out more than 200 years earlier, a quartet of lycanthropes prowl the ruined world of this post-apocalyptic fantasy. The shape-shifters include Tsume, a cynical criminal; eager, naïve Toboe; perpetually hungry Hige; and charismatic Kiba, who's seeking "Rakuen," the prophesied wolf-paradise. Tied to his search are the Moon Flowers, and Cheza, a girl somehow created from those blossoms. But the wolf-boys aren't the only ones interested in the flower-girl. Scientist Cher Degré wants to continue studying Cheza in her laboratory, so she enlists the aid of detective Hubb. The fallen Noble Darcia and Lord Orkham and his minions are after Cheza, and she's somehow linked to Quent, a hunter bent on exterminating the wolf-humans. The world of high-tech machinery and the world of curses, prophecies, alchemy and shape-shifters would seem to be at odds, yet the filmmakers manage to integrate the two in this often intriguing fantasy-adventure. The dark palate, angular designs, alienated characters, and dramatic camera angles will appeal to fans of Blood: the Last Vampire, and "Rakuen," the paradise Kiba seeks, remains a tantalizing promise. But the plot of Wolf's Rain is complicated with secondary stories and minor characters the filmmakers fail to develop in the first half of the series. Episodes #15-18 consist almost entirely of flashbacks with only an occasional new scene or line of dialogue, which make the story feel both padded and underdeveloped. (Rated 13 and older: violence, brief nudity, alcohol and tobacco use) --Charles Solomon

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