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Western Animation / Balto II: Wolf Quest

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"Have faith and trust in yourself, and make the journey."

"When every creature in the world is born, a spirit stands beside them... to light their way through the long dark night, and sing them songs to guide them... because each of us has a destiny that sets us all apart. The path is different for you and me, but the journey begins in the heart."

Balto II: Wolf Quest is a 2002 Direct to Video sequel to 1995's Balto starring Balto's and Jenna's daughter Aleu.

After all of Aleu's five siblings are adopted, she is left alone because she looks more wolf than dog. Left to live as a stray like her father, Aleu spends the rest of her puphood living with her father. After she's nearly killed for looking like a wolf, she's finally told of her mixed heritage. This makes her run off and try to find out her place in the world.

Released in 2002, the film differs from the original by having some musical elements. It was followed in 2004 by a second sequel Balto III: Wings of Change.

This movie provides examples of:

  • Abandoned Pet in a Box: Balto and Jenna's puppies are given away in a box. One of them however doesn't get adopted because her looks betray her wolf-dog heritage.
  • Artistic License History: The real Balto was pure dog and he was also neutered, meaning he couldn't have puppies even if he tried.
  • Animated Musical: In stark contrast to the first film.
  • Bears Are Bad News: There's one who attacks Balto and Aleu until they escape by jumping off a cliff to a lower ledge. But its actually a spirit meant to help them get on the right path.
  • Big Bad: Niju, who wishes to oust Nava from his role as pack leader, thinking he can do a better job. He also shows extreme distrust to outsiders Balto and Aleu, having his minions try to attack them once they enter wolf territory.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: Nava's are positively enormous.
  • Big, Thin, Short Trio: Niju's three followers are this. Nuk is the largest of the wolves, Yak is somewhere in between and the leanest, and Sumac is the smallest.
  • Bittersweet Ending:Aleu finally finds her place in life as leader of a wolf pack, parting on good terms with Balto before crossing the sea with them. However, it's unlikely that she'll ever see her old friends or loved ones again.
  • Call-Back: The White Wolf from the first film reappears here. Turns out she's actually Balto's mother and spirit guide Aniu. According to Word of God, the white wolf in the first movie is not meant to be Balto's mother. That was something the people behind the sequel came up with.
  • Canine Confusion:
    • One of Balto and Jenna's puppies is ostracized by humans because she looks and acts more like a wolf than even wolf-dog father. Being more dog than wolf, Aleu should be less like a wolf than her father. Aleu also doesn't look like a gray wolf— she has light brown fur and blue eyes, which are dog traits. Aleu looks like a husky mix, not a wolf.
    • At the end of the second film, Aleu is allowed to lead a wolf pack (or "clan" as wolves call it), despite both being unrelated to anyone else and not even being fully grown.
  • The Chosen One: Nava says that Aniu told him "the one who is wolf but does not know" would lead the pack to new land. Everyone assumes this means Balto, but it's actually his daughter, Aleu, who only learned about her heritage a day or so prior.
  • Cunning Like a Fox: A vixen (played by Mary Kay Bergman in her last film role) appears and tricks Balto into releasing her from a trap, then throws him off a log into a river. However, she does so to help him find Aleu's scent and is actually a spirit. Its even implied she's actually a form assumed by Aniu.
  • Disappeared Dad: Out of Balto's parents, he's the more enigmatic one. All we know is that he was a husky who had pups with Aniu, a wolf, and was apparently not around to help her raise them.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: "Who You Really Are" seems quite trippy to some degree. Starts out as just lights coming from a crystal, then pictures start moving and voices start talking to Aleu that she can actually hear. Justified as it is supposed to be a spiritual vision for Aleu.
  • Gender Equals Breed: Averted. All of Balto and Jenna's pups except one looks like Jenna, regardless their gender. The one looking like Balto is female.
  • Glowing Eyes: Aleu's Psychic Powers cause her eyes to glow yellow when they activate.
  • Happy Ending Override: Despite Balto saving the children and he is considered a hero, this film shows he's still a stray and he's still mocked by some of the other dogs. Being a hero doesn't mean people are going to take in a wolf-dog and it doesn't instantly fix Fantastic Racism.
  • Icy Blue Eyes: Aleu has them. This is one of the only indicators of her being a wolfdog, as real wolves don't carry the gene for blue eyes, but it's somewhat common among Huskies, even if Jenna herself lacks them.
  • "I Am" Song: Inverted. Muru and several other spirits sing a song to Aleu called "Who You Really Are". Instead of telling her who she is, it asks her try to find that out herself.
  • I Am What I Am: Aleu has to find out the same thing in the sequel that Balto did in the first. They are part wolf and they must accept that. Must run in the family.
  • Idiot Ball: Balto being tricked by the vixen, who clearly isn't even struggling to get out of the trap and looks like she could easily free herself.
  • Inconsistent Coloring: Balto and Jenna's fur are both darker than in the original.
  • Informed Attribute: They really hammer it home how Aleu looks even more wolflike than Balto, despite her having beige fur and bright blue eyes. Wolves don't even carry the gene for blue eyes. If anything, she looks even more like a husky than Jenna.
  • Internalized Categorism: Aleu and Balto suffer from this, due to insecurities over their wolf origins which makes them discriminated against by humans and causes them inner strife and feelings of extreme inadequacy over being part wolf. This is demonstrated through Balto's intent to raise Aleu as if she was a dog instead of a wolf out of fear of prejudice, and Aleu refusing to acknowledge her wolf heritage out of disgust. Much of the film is spent with the two truly overcoming their feelings of prejudice and accepting their heritage to obtain inner peace.
  • Last-Second Chance: At the finale of the second film, Balto gives Niju one last chance to do the right thing and lead the pack to safety. He's ultimately too afraid to do so and flees back to his old home.
  • Mr. Exposition: Muru serves as this to Aleu, telling her about spirit guides and that she'll have to go on a quest to find herself. He even explains the song he's about to sing is part of a spirit guides job. Justified because he is her spirit guide and its kind of his job.
  • Pale Females, Dark Males: Aleu has lighter fur than her father.
  • Psychic Powers: Aleu turns out to have these. She can read minds and see the future, though she has no idea how to actively use them.
  • Retcon: The White Wolf is explicitly Balto's mother when she wasn't intended to be. This was a change done by the sequel writers.
  • Saved by the Platform Below: Used when jumping on a platform hidden in the mist.
  • Shout-Out: Sumac says, "Don't All Dogs Go to Heaven?"
  • Somewhere, a Mammalogist Is Crying:
    • All of the puppies are second generation wolf-dogs, not just Aleu, and all of them have the same odds of being dangerous as her. Aleu actually points this out, but is told that it doesn't matter in the eyes of humans, as she (ostensibly) looks like a wolf and they don't. But if anything, the other puppies are more dangerous — much of the trouble with wolf-dogs, even low to mid content ones, arises when people ignore their very specific needs and treat them like ordinary dogs.
    • Aleu is supposedly "wolfish" looking, but there is barely anything about her that looks like a wolf. She has a light pelt and blue eyes.
    • An unrelated wolf-dog can't just lead a wolf pack. This isn't how wolf packs work at all.
  • Spirit Advisor: According to Muru, this is standard for everyone in their world. Considering he's Aleu's, he's in a position to talk. Balto's mother Aniu is actually his.
  • Stuck in the Doorway: When Aleu was about to find her way out after getting slammed by the iceberg, she got herself stuck between the ice glaciers. Luckily, She managed to squeeze through and swam to the surface where Nava was.
  • Super Swimming Skills: Aleu demonstrates this when she dives underwater to avoid colliding ice and swims through an underwater cave back up to the surface. In Real Life, while many canines can swim, relatively few dive underwater on a regular basis (this can vary based on individuals and breeds), and they can't hold their breath for very long. Aleu shows no problems with either swimming or holding her breath, though she does have a tense moment when she has to squeeze through a crevice.
  • Two Roads Before You: Aleu gets her choice from Muru, her Spirit Advisor. She can go on a quest and find out who she really is or return home to her normal life. Bonus points for the question being posed in a rather catchy song.
  • Terrible Trio: Nuk, Yak, and Sumac act as Niju's thuggish goons, though it's soon shown that they're more motivated by the promise of food and fear of him than any actual respect or loyalty.
  • Villain Song: Niju has The Grand Design. Being he's about the only character that's actually singing and it's rather villainous when viewed from his perspective, it qualifies.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Steele's fate is never revealed here or in the third film. Whether he was exiled from the town or whether he had to live the rest of his life in shame with all the other dogs hating and shunning him is never answered. The only thing that is certain is that he never poses a threat to Balto again.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Aleu calls out Balto for hiding her wolf heritage from her. Given him doing so nearly got her killed because she had no clue a human might mistake her for a wolf and try to shoot her, she's rather justified.


Video Example(s):


Sumac jokes during a skirmish

Sumac says, "Don't they all go to heaven?", referencing a certain movie during a battle with Balto, Aleu, and Niju's minions. It does not entertain them.

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