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Anime That Twist The Werewolf Mythos


Werewolves remain a popular creature in supernatural genres, especially posing as supernaturally-strong counterparts to the more enigmatic Vampires. This trope is also explored in anime, where the supernatural elements of the anthropomorphic wolf monstrosities are integrated in the action-packed, comedy-filled, & rather visually appealing stories of Japanese animation. However, what’s interesting is how some anime not only have crazily-unique stories, but also stories that try to twist genres & explore them in surprising ways.

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Included in this genre-defying tradition are unique takes on the werewolf mythos, where some anime go beyond the full moon transformations to reveal these supernatural monsters. Some anime include werewolves as part of videogames or a group of students, while some werewolves are even genetically-bred specifically to serve vampire masters. Just what other anime make excellent twists in the werewolf mythos?


7/7 Rosario + Vampire (2008)

Rosario + Vampire Ginei Morioka

It’s quite a dangerous gamble for the family of Tsukune Aono to enroll him in Yokai Academy in Rosario + Vampire, especially since it’s a school specifically designed to help monsters called yokai to coexist with humans. It doesn’t help that Tsukune has to constantly keep his guard up, as the school has a kill-all-humans policy to any human caught within its grounds. While he befriends secondary protagonist Moka Akashiya, who turns out to be a vampire, it’s secondary character Ginei Morioka that is quite interesting.

Perhaps considered as the only actual Werewolf in the story, Ginei exhibits much of the general characteristics of Werewolves such as appearance & relative physical strength. Where the mythos is turned on its head is the fact that Werewolves in Rosario + Vampire are less mysterious & more quantified. Their relative strength puts them at a power level of S-Class, making them on par with the Vampire, Phoenix, & even the Japanese Yoko in terms of overall combat ability. The fact that Werewolves are studied & put in a category makes them more “tangible” & “quantifiable” compared to their more mysterious common appearances in their usual mythos.

6/7 Overlord (2015)

Overlord Lupusregina

One of the more surprising twists applied to the werewolf genre or mythos isn’t simply by virtue of their qualities, but rather their nature of existence as a whole. In the case of Overworld, werewolves are called Lycanthropes, & they’re a type of rare monster in the YGGDRASIL game. In fact, such was their rarity that protagonist Momonga & the Darkness guild has only encountered one such Lycanthrope, Lupusregina Beta.

In the game, Lycanthropes share similar characteristics with their fictional counterparts, due to in part of the game being roughly based in an approximation of the real world. They are also known to be nigh-invulnerable creatures, unless silver weapons are used against them. More interesting is how Lycanthropes are classified as a Heteromorphic Race & a Beast, meaning they share all in-game qualities of creatures of these types. It’s the fact that werewolves are reduced to a “game creature” in the fictional version of the real world in Overworld that adds quite a meta-fictional spin to the mythos.

5/7 Princess Resurrection (2007)

Princess Resurrection Riza

In most horror settings, the idea of werewolves existing means other supernatural creatures exist there as well, & this is exactly what the Monster Realm represents in Princess Resurrection. When protagonist Hiro Hiyorimi dies after saving a young woman from a car crash, he finds himself “resurrected” to serve said person – Hime, one of the heirs of the Monster Realm. Unfortunately for Hiro, he gets involved with Hime & her being entangled in a war of succession with her siblings.

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However, among the unique cast of characters introduced as Hime’s friends & guards involve Riza Wildman, who is not just a werewolf, but rather a half werewolf. In Princess Resurrection, werewolves stereotypically remain as their physically-empowered selves. However, what makes this anime’s werewolves unique even in the mythos is their capacity to reproduce through breeding & not necessarily through bites & curses. Being a half-werewolf, Riza is only capable of physically transforming her ears & arms – a genetic sign of being “inadequate” compared to other werewolves.

4/7 Wolf’s Rain (2003)

Wolf's Rain - Kiba & the Pack

The nature of a werewolf’s transformation has been a topic of much debate in fantasy circles, especially if a werewolf is simply confined to a human having wolf-life characteristics, or if they can change to a complete wolf form entirely. The latter is explored in Wolf’s Rain, where wolves disguising as humans live near the end of the world. In Wolf’s Rain, wolves are said to be the only beings capable of finding the Lunar Flower, which can open the gate to Paradise at the end of the world.

Although wolves have been nearly driven to extinction, the wolf Kiba & his new wolf companions have to Courageous exploring the world in the search of Cheza, the Flower Maiden destined to lead any wolf she finds to paradise. Unfortunately for Kiba, they have to contend with the likes of wolf-hunter Quent Yaiden & Cheza’s creator Lord Darcia the Third. Unlike other anime with a werewolf motif, the idea that werewolves are the only ones able to discover & enter Paradise adds a near-mythological element to the usually-horror mythos.

3/7 Dance In The Vampire Bund (2010)

Vampire Bund Akira

One of the most exciting things about Dance in the Vampire Bund lies not just in its twist to the werewolf mythos, but in how it tries to diverge from the vampire mythos as well. In Dance in the Vampire Bund, current vampire ruler Queen Mina Tepes has revealed the existence of vampires to humankind after she’s been granted permission to create the Bund, a special district for vampires off the coast of Tokyo, Japan. However, Mina has to manage the growing hostilities & paranoia of humans towards vampires, alongside the threats of dissidents in her ranks.

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Another integral element in the series lies in her bodyguard, Akira Kaburagi Regendorf, who is her werewolf protector. In Dance, while werewolves are still highly-evolved wolves that resemble humans & have transformative capabilities, they’re specifically raised & trained to serve vampires. This element certainly limits the number of factions in Dance, & certainly makes vampires the center of the story. However, vampires being in control of werewolves is certainly a new sight in a genre where vampires & werewolves are often mortal enemies.

2/7 Spice And Wolf (2008)

Spice & Wolf - Holo

Viewers looking at Spice & Wolf for the first time would likely recognize it less as a werewolf anime & more as a fantasy anime, & this is exactly where the anime begins to twist the werewolf genre. Instead of focusing on swords & magic, Spice & Wolf as a fantasy anime focuses on economics & trade instead. The anime shares the story of Kraft Lawrence, a young merchant who trades other goods around the world while aiming to eventually use his knowledge & experience to set up a shop of his own.

Lawrence hasn’t had much luck through the years, except this time around when he met someone named Holo, who’s recognizable for her wolf ears & tail. Instead of a werewolf being an object of fear, their unique ties to nature make them the figure of a deity. It’s revealed that Holo was originally the goddess of harvest of Pasloe, who has decided to leave & explore the world as modern trading has had her devotees forsaken her. While reluctant at first, Lawrence finally starts taking Holo with him as her 600 years’ worth of knowledge has started to help him make a killing in terms of trade.

1/7 The Wolf Children (2012)

The Wolf Children

Perhaps one of the most compelling & heartwarming anime films in 2012, The Wolf Children completely turns the werewolf genre on its heels with a captivating story of family. This time around, werewolves aren’t creatures to be feared, but rather creatures that want to live in peace & secret. In The Wolf Children, college student Hana falls in love with an enigmatic man who can transform into a wolf. Unfortunately for Hana, she can’t live her happily-ever-after as the love of her dies while hunting food for their family, leaving Hana to raise half-wolves in the form of a daughter Yuki & a son Ame.

The anime reveals that life as a single mom is tough for Hana, especially with having two wolf children. Not only does she have to hide their true nature from others, she has to teach them to discover her own path as well. With Ame being more inclined to embrace his wolf heritage, & with Yuki determined to live more like a normal girl, their family is put through trials that test their true paths in life.

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