A closer glimpse of The Witcher universe with ‘Nightmare of the Wolf’
The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf is a prequel that takes place in the past and focuses on Geralt of Rivia's mentor Vesemir, who may be the polar opposite of his protege: charming, playful, and with a ravenous desire for the finest things in life. It has nothing on the original protagonist of the books, games and the very live-action show, perhaps that's what makes this anime spinoff all the more interesting, as it allows us a glance into the history of the Witcher universe.
Nightmare of the Wolf is more than just a marketing stunt for the original series. It's a great, well-written picture that's definitely worth seeing, but it also adds a new, unpleasant, and unwelcome layer to the witcher legend. It's a fun surprise that also does a decent job of delving into some of the secrets at the heart of The Witcher universe while staying true to the series' core values.
The story opens with a young Vesemir enlisting as a witcher and undergoing the Grasses Trial, which kills nine out of ten hopefuls. Vesemir is presented as a talented but egotistical witcher who has a profound regard for his mentor Deglan after becoming a witcher.
The anime film swings back and forth in time, concentrating on two pivotal moments in Vesemir's life. Initially, it focuses on his background and how he came to be a witch, a mutated monster hunter training from a young age to kill deadly creatures for cash.
Young boys are forced to combat almost insurmountable odds in a nightmare swamp and, if they manage to survive that, put to horrific alchemy supposed to augment their strength and senses, as seen in Nightmare of the Wolf. Those who survive can be gloomy like Geralt or conceal their sorrows under a thirst for life like Vesemir.
Even if you're coming in cold, Nightmare of the Wolf is still a lot of fun to see. Because of the switch to animation, the action is more fluid than ever before, especially when Vesemir is slicing his way through animals with inhuman elegance while making smart-ass comments. Combat in the live-action show and games might feel heavy and tiresome, but it is much faster and more energetic in the anime, which is perfect for Vesemir as the new lead.
The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf asks difficult questions and challenges its protagonist's worldview in a way the original series has never challenged Geralt. The transformation of Vesemir from a reckless, impetuous individual to a mature, fatherly mentor in the second season is believable.
It has excellent storytelling, is based on a twist-filled script, is meaningful in terms of moral dilemmas for its hero, and has excellent action and voice-over performances. You will like this one whether or not you have seen the first series.