This essay was written by me.
Warning: Unless you've seen all 30 episodes of Wolf's Rain, you're in for major spoilers!
Like many brilliant animes, Wolf's Rain has a very anticlimactic and controversial ending. I know a lot of anime fans don't like Wolf's Rain because of its unsatisfying ending. But if looked at very closely, I think most of the series makes sense, although many of the explanations(like in a lot of good literature) are revealed very subtle. I'm sure there are many ways to interpret it, but here I'm going to share my own personal thoughts about it. I've also written as good an explanation of it as I can to help clear any confusion you may have, and to show that the series does come to a somewhat reasonable conclusion.
As you already know, the main conflict in the story is Kiba and his pack trying to get to Paradise which, as we've been made to believe throughout the course of the series, is a beautiful and pure place where supposedly only wolves are able to go. The reason only wolves can find it is because, according to some beliefs that are touched on throughout the series, wolves were the "original" creatures…meaning all other creatures, including humans, were descended from wolves. Likewise, I think it's applicable to say that Lunar Flowers were the "original" flowers(perhaps, like wolves, being tied to the moon in some way) and this is why only wolves and Lunar Flowers could get to Paradise; because they were the original forms of all living things. The fact that Darcia was able to become a wolf at the end of the series helps reinforce this fact. He explained that humans, being "unclean" creatures, were unable to enter Paradise because they have forgotten or cast away their wolf origins and therefore could never return to their original form. But he was able to, thanks to his wolf eye. It's not exactly clear how he got that eye, but it may have been a result of the "Paradise sickness" that plagued his clan, and his utter yearning to find Paradise in order to save Hamona. It's not certain where he got the stone he had swallowed, but he may have gotten it from Jagura's keep and it could have helped him in his transformation, or perhaps, it was an heirloom from his clan that he had all along, but was waiting for the right time to use it. However, Paradise rejected Darcia and destroyed him, leaving only his eye, because, as Cheza said, he was not "protected by the flowers," meaning now that Hamona was gone, he only wanted Paradise for his own ambition and not just to ensure his future, as Kiba did.
This brings us to another major question in the series - what/where exactly is Paradise? Well, as I stated before, we're made to believe that Paradise is like a garden of Eden on Earth. But from what I can see, Paradise is really the "original" form of the Earth, when it's natural and fresh, before it, like all beautiful things, gradually becomes tainted. This fact is apparent because The Book of the Moon states that Paradise will open when the world is coming to an end. So in order for the world to be reborn into its original form, Paradise, it's necessary for it to end first, and then be reborn new and pure. So Paradise isn't a secret heaven on Earth, as Kiba and the others had believed - Paradise is the Earth, at least when it's new, until time causes it to wither and deteriorate. As Darcia narrates at the beginning of episode 27, the world has died and been reborn many times. So at each rebirth, Paradise exists temporarily.
And the big final question - did Kiba actually get to Paradise in the end? Well, as far as I can see it, the answer can be "yes" or "no." "Yes" because as Cheza tells him before she withers, the world is about to freeze over and end, and therefore it will regenerate into Paradise. Since Kiba was there at the time, you could say he found Paradise, but you could also say "no" because it was not the Paradise he had been searching for…he was searching for a place where he could have a future and this apparently wasn't it because, as I'll point out later on, the series ends with him still searching. But Cheza offers him some hope because after she dies, her body bursts into millions of seeds that bloom into the next generation of Lunar Flowers. Also, when it starts to rain, the last pages of The Book of the Moon reveal Lunar Flowers, which probably means that Lunar Flowers are the first living things to be born in the newly regenerated world/Paradise. The reason Cheza wasn't able to guide Kiba to Paradise, at least not this time, was because as she tells him, she is an artificially created Lunar Flower and not a real one. What's interesting is that towards the end, we see almost exactly the same scene of Kiba lying in the snow as we see at the beginning of episode 1. He also says pretty much the same thing, about how there shouldn't be such a place as Paradise, but he's still so driven to find it. I think this pretty much sums up Kiba's fate - since he didn't find the Paradise he was searching for this time, something, somewhere, calls him to keep searching. Since he says the same thing at the beginning and end of the series, perhaps he's died, been reborn, and gone through the same cycle many times, just as the world has, and each time he's dedicated his life to find the Paradise he's innately been searching for, and although he seems to have failed each time, he keeps getting a step closer. But I think that there may be more hope for him next time because when we see him lying injured in the snow, just as we did in the first episode, the only difference is that he has Cheza's Lunar Flower with him.
After that we briefly see Paradise in all its beauty, until Darcia's eye starts to poison it, which proves that it won't last. And then, perhaps thousands of years later, time has caused the world to diminish once again and we see a town much like the one from the beginning of the series. But unlike that town, this one has a Lunar Flower blooming in it, another symbol of hope. And instead of being a man-made Flower like Cheza was, this one is a real Flower, even more evidence that perhaps in this new world, the Paradise Kiba is searching for is possible. We also see Tsume, Hige, and Toboe, obviously reborn and most likely destined to meet again. We also see Kiba at this time, so I think it's pretty safe to say that he had also died and was reborn as well. Since it's pretty obvious that centuries have passed since we saw him when Paradise was opening up, to the time this town came into existence, there's no way he could have lived that long. So most likely all that time, he had died and been reborn again just like the others, each time trying to find Paradise. The time Paradise is opening and the Lunar Flowers are blooming around him before he falls into the water and looks up at the moon, seems to signify that he's the only one who gets a glimpse of Paradise before he dies, which is why when he's reborn again, he has such an urge to find it. And in the final scene of the entire series, we see him walking through the town before breaking into a sprint and running off. This again signifies that he's off once again to find Paradise. Whether each time he gets closer to his goal, or whether he's destined to repeat this same futile fate over and over again can't really be said for sure. But because there's a Lunar Flower in this town when there wasn't one before, perhaps offers a glimpse of hope.
Well, I think I've discussed pretty much all the elements of the show's ending that may have been confusing. If you think I've made a mistake somewhere, or if you think I left something important out, please let me know. I enjoy trying to interpret and figure out the meaning of the themes and anticlimactic endings in anime, and Wolf's Rain is definitely one of my favorites. Man, if this doesn't prove that anime should be judged on the same level as art, literature, and even philosophy, I don't know what does.
"They say there's no such place as Paradise.
Even if you search to the ends of the earth there's nothing there.
No matter how far you walk, it's always the same road.
It just goes on and on.
But in spite of that, why am I so driven to find it?
I hear someone's voice, calling to me..."
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