Hey everyone! All of us here at SeppinRek have jumped on the Witcher fandom after Netflix sent out a spectacular first season whose numbers soared during the height of the pandemic. Now, one of the first spin-offs of the series has come out, an anime film called The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf.
I would like to, first, preface this review with the fact that I am a casual fan of the Witcher franchise. I’ve put in a few hours in each of the three games, just finished with Sapkowski’s Blood of the Elves, and just an overall fan of Henry Cavill’s Geralt and Netflix’s first season. That being said, I hope to give other less informed audiences a review that might persuade them to give this one and a half hour anime film a shot.
Also, like always, I will try to keep the review mostly non-spoiler orientated. However, at the end I will talk about a few of the directions this film could take future sequels. So, you have been warned…
Let’s get started!
So, overall, it was a really fun watch. The action is very clean and fast paced. Each movement and swing of the sword is complimented by this clear animation style. More importantly, the fight sequences keep the camera constantly in motion and this creates an important sense of frenzy experienced by the Witchers like Vesemir.
Not to mention, there are backgrounds that are absolutely beautiful. Seriously, take a look at this shot!
There is a whole sequence around this scene where we are bombarded with picturesque stills like this one. It’s early on and a great way at painting the fantasy world.
The character designs are also wonderful and each main character, and even some of the side characters, are well distinguished in every frame. This young, cocksure Vesemir fills out this stereotypical Witcher fantasy of cutting down demons and earning heaps of gold. Yet, Vesemir’s character complicates it with the introduction of Ilyana, the love of his life who is unable to reciprocate the same feelings due to her status. I won’t spoil anything, but their dynamic is really unique.
Like I said earlier, there are moments where side characters are given these bright characteristics that help define them. In Illyana’s case, it’s her blue eyes. Or Luka with his red hair and Sven with his amputated arm. These details create a fuller world surrounding Vesemir’s story.
Of course, the main cast really steals the show. Vesemir is amazing as I have previously explained, but the performance of Deglan the monster hunting Witcher is equally well done. Then, there is Tetra who also complicates the story from the Chapter’s perspective on worldly conflict and the corruption of the Witchers. Her magic is insanely beautiful in every scene and the anime film format is very conducive in showing her power. Filavandrel, leader of the free elves, is probably the most level-headed out of everyone in the film which makes the human world all the more ridiculous and polluted with debasement and animosity.
There aren’t many issues that I have with this film because I was generally surprised how invested I was by the end of my viewing it. The first half spends a lot of time with flashbacks, which can seem a tad disruptive, but the other half of the film is phenomenal and epic!
Alright, now that I am done with the review, I want to go right to the surprising ending to the film. Mainly, the appearance of a young Geralt of Rivia along with Eskel and Lambert. Considering that Geralt’s early years aren’t explored too much, this would be a really unique direction for future films.
I would love to see how Vesemir takes these young Witchers-to-be and trains them to be better than what Deglan had formed. Seeing Eskel get his scarred face, Geralt training to be the White Wolf, and Vesemir teaching his young students while also remaining in hiding from the spiteful Continent.
Of course, this could also loop in some more details with the prequel spin off show they have in development, The Witcher: Blood Origin. However, there aren’t many details on the plot just yet other than it will take place 4,500 years prior to the events of the first season of The Witcher.
I guess I just love how they are fleshing out the world of The Witcher with films like Nightmare of the Wolf and this Blood Origin show. Seeing how and why the elves created the monster hunters along with the fall of Kaer Morhen was just excellent. I understand some die hard fans might be upset with the exaggeration of the story, but I thought the destruction of Kaer Morhen was heroically tragic and significant towards the second season coming out in December.
Anyways, there are a lot of directions The Witcher world can take and I think that Nightmare of the Wolf was a step in the right direction! So, what did you think of movie? Where do you want the Netflix writers to take the sequel anime films? Let us know in the comments below!
Until next time…