|Gender:|| (Balto) Male
(Balto sequels) Female
|Family and Friends|
|Voiced By:||Monnae Michaell|
"I was accidently seperated from her when I was young so I never spent much time with the wolf, but I remember that she was as white as snow and she had this warm voice that made me feel safe."~ Balto describes his faint memories of his mother to Aleu in Balto II: Wolf Quest
Aniu first appeared in Balto, serving to remind him of his wolf heritage after he had fallen down a cliff and given up all hope.
She remained totally unidentified until Balto II: Wolf Quest, and there remains some dispute as to whether the great white wolf in the first movie was indeed Aniu. However, Phil Weinstein declared in an interview that Aniu is the white wolf in the original film (However Phil Weinstein claim that he never saw "Balto" (first) and it's unknown what made him believe that Balto's mom is a wolf, however it's heavily implied that Steele's insult cause him to believe (which Steele never knew anything from Balto).
Aniu appears to be a spirit. She has a tendency to appear and vanish in the blink of an eye, usually with the appearance that she is vanishing into the wind or the fog. She also possesses the ability to shapeshift, having been seen to take the form of a raven and a vixen.Since Balto was separated from her at an early age, he has few memories of her, he said that she "was white as snow" and had a warm voice that always made him feel safe. In addition to being Balto's mother, Aniu is apparently a guide to Nava, the elderly leader of the wolf pack Balto and Aleu meet during Wolf Quest.
Aniu mated with a male husky (Balto's father) and they ran off together. It is also unknown how she met Balto's father, though it is known that he was a domestic Siberian Husky, mentioned by Balto himself when explaining his origins to his daughter Aleu. He was the leader of his sled dog team, dying at age of 10 (70 in dog years), 6 years after Aniu's death.
Aniu's exact age was never made clear in the films. Her name means "snow" in Inuit, indicating the color of her fur.
Unknown to many, during an interview the Simon Wells (Director of Balto not the sequels), a question was ask to him about the white wolf and Simon's reply:
"Whether the White Wolf is Balto's father or some kind of ephemeral Spirit of the Wolf is deliberately unstated. The White Wolf Sequence is still my favorite part of the movie, and James Horner's extraordinary score that accompanies it still raises the hairs on the back of my neck.
We wanted to keep it mystical and vague - is this a real event or is it some kind of hallucination that Balto is experiencing? All of these were reasons to not have the White Wolf speak or in any way explain himself. Perhaps the Wolf is a manifestation of Balto's inner voice, telling him to take ownership and use that part of him that he has always been ashamed of - certainly that is the message Balto takes from the encounter, real or not.
(And by the way, if it was really his dad why didn't the old man help him drag the antitoxin up the cliff?)"
Sequels made the white wolf to be Balto's mother which is completely false and Simon Wells said that Balto's wolf side comes from his dad.
Role in Balto
Aniu played a much less significant role in the first film, only appearing twice to remind Balto of his wolf heritage. She is never mentioned by name, nor does she speak throughout the film, and appears to only be a mysterious figure who comes to Balto in his times of need to give him spiritual support and encouragement. It is hinted that Aniu may be a spirit guide instead of a living wolf, though this is never directly made clear. In Wolf Quest, she appears to be Balto's mother. However Simon Wells ( the director of Balto not the sequels) stated that the white wolf is his inner voice not his mother. Trivia: The director of the first film (Simon Wells) stated that his mother was a sled dog husky and his father is a wolf.
Role in Balto II: Wolf Quest
It becomes much more evident in the second film that Aniu is indeed a spirit and not a living wolf. She is known to have taken two forms along the way to help both Balto and Aleu:
- Wolf (Spirit, Guide, Lead, Conduct), her true self, the teacher.
- Raven (Dreams, Visions, and Nightmares), the dark bird that appeared in Balto's dreams.
These forms could possibly allude to the Raven and Wolf/Eagle moieties of the Tlingit people of Southeast Alaska, and the portrayal of both moieties (also known as 'descent groups') through the same character could symbolize Balto and Aleu's mixed heritages.
It has also been suggested (although not confirmed) that she took various other forms, namely: