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Call of the Wild: Howl Buck

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Call of the Wild: Howl Buck
Directed byKozo Morishita
Produced byAhmed Agrama
Screenplay byJoji Kikuchi
Based onThe Call of the Wild by Jack London
  • Osamu Kobayashi
  • Toshio Furukawa
  • Kōji Ishizaka
Narrated byKōji Ishizaka
Music byTakeo Watanabe
Toei Animation
Release date
  • January 3, 1981 (1981-01-03) (Japan)
Running time
85 minutes

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Arano no Sakebi Koe: Howl, Buck, also known as Call of the Wild: Howl Buck, is a 1981 anime film produced by Toei Animation.

Based on Jack London's novel, the film follows the story of a dog named Buck, who has been stolen from his California home and sold to the Yukon as a sled dog.


Buck, a German Shepherd-St. Bernard mix whose life is peaceful with the Miller family, is stolen by the gardener's assistant and sold to Seattle. When Buck realizes that he's being stolen away, he attacks his abductor but is thwarted by the tightening rope around his neck and the man gets his revenge by kicking him. He is then sold to a man in a red sweater and attacks him, but the man teaches him the law of the club until he is sufficiently cowed. The man shows kindness and decides to give some water to Buck after he stopped attacking. A few days later, he is bought by a Canadian mailer named Perrault and is taken to a ship to the Yukon. He is introduced to Callie, a good-natured Newfoundland dog and Spitz, the pugilistic leader of the sled team. The following night, Callie tries to make friends with Spitz, but Spitz attacks her and Callie is killed by a pack of wild huskies. Later, Buck tries to find a warm place to sleep and tries to make friends with Sol-leks (meaning the "Angry One") mistakenly approaching the one-eyed dog on his blind side, leading him to be bitten and chased away out in the cold. However, Billie, one of the new dogs of the team, teaches him how to sleep in the harsh environment by warming each other with their body heat.

The next morning, Francois and Perrault decide to train the dogs for sledding. Although it was hard for Buck, his impressive abilities stand out to his masters. The following night, Buck digs his bed and then heads over to pick up his dinner from his masters. When he returns to his hole, he discovers that Spitz has stolen it and they start to fight to the death until the fight is broken up by Francois and Perrault. The next morning, during their sledding montage, Francois discovers that Buck has a frostbite and gives him boots to protect them from the cold. During their break, Francois and Perrault realize that Dave is missing. Spitz goes out to kill him, but the fight is broken up by Buck. Buck and Spitz one again try to fight, but Francois and Perrault break it up. The next night, Buck and the pack chase after a rabbit until Spitz steals it from Buck. Buck and Spitz then battle to the death and Buck wins and becomes the leader of the sled team.

Later, Francois and Perrault sell the team to a Scotch-half breed and the team worked harder for their new master. One day, during their work, Dave starts becoming sick and weak. The half-breed frees Dave from the traces and allows him to run alongside the sled, but even that becomes too much strain until he puts him out of his misery. The same night, Buck feels the urge of becoming a wild dog and hears the call of his ancestors. The next morning, the half-breed tries to get the team to move the sled, but the dogs were too weak to pull. Buck and the team are then sold to a trio of inexperienced travelers named Hal, Charles and Mercedes. They struggle to control the sled and ignore helpful advice from others, in particular the warnings that the spring melt poses dangers. One day, when the dogs are too weak to pull, Hal starts whipping Buck until an experienced outdoorsman named John Thornton arrives in the scene and tries to warn them about their journey against crossing the river, but Hal ignores him and continues to whip Buck. He then pulls out a club and starts hitting him until Thornton stops him. Hal pulls out his knife and charges at Thornton, but Thornton snatches the knife from him and frees Buck from his traces and leaves with him. The trio leave and tries to cross the river but the ice breaks and the three fall into the river and drown, along with the sled dogs. Buck then howls in sorrow as his old friends die horribly.

Buck comes to love and grow devoted to Thornton as he nurses him back to health. One night, a bonanza king named Matthewson bets with Thornton that Buck can't pull 1,000 lbs and move it to 100 yards. Buck pulls the sled and wins $1,600 in gold dust. One day, Thornton and his companions discover a lost mine and Thornton has found gold. One night, Buck hears the wolves howling and decides to explore the wilderness and look for wolves. He finds a wolf, but it runs away from him until Buck socializes with him. One day, when Buck and the wolf are playing with each other, the alpha wolf of the pack decides to battle with Buck until Buck wins and becomes the leader of the wolf pack. Thornton plans on going back to Seattle with his companions and reluctantly lets Buck free to let him join the wolf pack. After Buck and his pack successfully hunt an elk, he hears gunshots coming from Thornton's camp and discovers that Thornton and his friends have been murdered. Buck finds the murderers and kills them to avenge Thornton. Buck is then free from humanity and his legend is spread among other Indian tribes as the "Ghost Dog of the Northland".


Character Voice (Japanese) Voice (English)
John Thornton Osamu Kobayashi Mike Reynolds
Francois Hideyuki Tanaka
Perrault Toshio Furukawa Etienne Bannliett
Red Sweater Takeshi Aono
Manuel Takeshi Aono Bryan Cranston
Pete Keiichi Noda Bryan Cranston
Matthewson Yonehiko Kitagawa Tom Wyner
O'Brien Kōji Yada
Hans Yasuo Tanaka Steve Kramer
Hal Yoku Shioya
Mercedes Mami Koyama Ellyn Stern
Charles Shinji Nomura
Narrator Kōji Ishizaka Daniel Woren

Production and release[edit]

Distributor Year Format Region Country
Vestron Video 1984 VHS NTSC United States
Precision Video 1985 PAL United Kingdom

External Links[edit]


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