Saturday, February 5, 2011

Old Anime Review: Spice and Wolf

Spice and Wolf

Synopsis: Spice and Wolf's story revolves around Kraft Lawrence, a 25-year-old traveling merchant who peddles various goods from town to town to make a living in a stylized historical setting with European influences. His main goal in life is to gather enough money to start his own shop, and he already has been traveling for seven years while gaining experience in the trade. One night when stopped at the town of Pasloe, he finds in his wagon a pagan wolf-deity girl named Holo who is over 600 years old. She appears to be a 15-year-old girl, except for a wolf's tail and ears. She introduces herself as the town's goddess of harvest, who has kept it blessed with good harvests of wheat for many years. Despite her responsibility to watch over the town, she wants to go back to her homeland in the north called Yoitsu; she believes the people have already forsaken her and that she has kept her promise to maintain the good harvests. Holo wants also to travel to see how the world has changed while she has remained in one place for years. She manages to bargain her way out of the village by making a deal with Lawrence to take her with him. As they travel, her wisdom helps increase his profits, but at the same time, her true nature draws unwanted attention from the church. (taken from Wikipedia)

Origins: Spice and Wolf was first created as a series of light novels written by Isuna Hasekura, who won the Silver Prize at the 12th Dengeki Novel Prize for it, with illustrations by Ju Ayakura. The first novel was released in February 2006. The series, which as of September 2010, has release 15 volumes, has been published by ASCII Media Works under their Dengeki Bunko imprint. As of October 2008, Spice and Wolf has sold over 2.2 million copies. For those who want the read the novels in English, Yen Press has licensed them and are being release in North America (those in Australia, Europe, and any other places can most likely order them online).

Not only are there light novels, but the series has a manga adaptation illustrated bu Keito Koume, who also did the illustrations for Kujibiki Unbalance and Uta Kata. Just like the light novels, Yen Press has licensed the manga and translated it into English for those in North America. The series has also been adapted into two visual novels, and most importantly, a 12-episode anime, which had a 2nd sesson with 12 epsiodes.

Main Characters:

Kraft (Craft) Lawrence: raft Lawrence, who chiefly goes by his surname, is a 25-year-old traveling merchant who goes from town to town buying and selling various things in order to make a living. When he was twelve, he became an apprentice to a merchant relative, and set out on his own at eighteen. His goal in life is to gather enough money to start his own shop, and he has already been traveling for seven years while gaining experience in the trade. He meets Holo one night and eventually agrees to her traveling with him. She helps him by providing her wisdom which helps to increase his profits and get him out of jams. As the series progresses, both Lawrence and Holo demonstrate a growing affection toward each other. Although Lawrence rarely shows different facial expressions, he truly cares for Holo. He shows his affection through his actions, such as when Holo gets captured by the church and Lawrence completely panics. Lawrence mentions he has been attacked by wolves eight times.

Holo (Horo): 

Holo is a wolf harvest deity originally from a place in the north known as Yoitsu. She made a promise with men from a town called Pasloe that she would ensure the town would have good wheat harvests year after year. However, as time went on, the townspeople slowly started to forsake Holo and did not rely on her as they once did. As such, Holo escapes from town in Lawrence's wagon and started traveling with him to see how much the world has changed since she has been in Pasloe. Holo has chosen the form of a girl younger than Lawrence, though she still retains her large white-tipped wolf tail, and ears. At times she can produce an ear-shattering howl. Her true form is that of a very large wolf which many people revered and feared.
She refers to herself as the "Holo The Wise Wolf" (ヨイツの賢狼 Yoitsu no Kenrō?, Wise Wolf of Yoitsu). She is typically very haughty and self-sufficient, though due to her isolation for hundreds of years in Pasloe, she gradually feels very lonely, and sometimes shows a more fragile side of herself. She relies on Lawrence for company as she fears loneliness, which is something that Lawrence is very aware of and tries to comfort her in his own way. Holo is also very aware of the different time spans that she and Lawrence have, as a human lifespan is like a blink of an eye for her kind. Holo is quite scared of that fact, but hides it with jokes. She has a peculiar way of speaking, modeled after that of the oiran high-class courtesans. She is fond of delicious food and alcohol, but especially loves apples. She takes pride in her tail and takes special care of it, constantly combing and maintaining it.
My Thoughts:
I originally heard about the series a few years ago while on a forum. I would see people with a girl with wolf ears eating apples in their signatures. I would later discover the series, but never had time to watch it, since I has already trying to watch some other series. A few years later, after completely forgetting about it, I discovered it again while watching Meekakitty on Youtube. She was complaining about how they were holding hands during the OP of the 2nd season, which started to bug me when I noticed it as well. I started watching the series right after I finished my Fall 2010 series, since I had nothing to watch until the Winter season  started. I then downloaded the first season, and holy crap, I fell in love from the start.
First of all, both OPs (1st and 2nd seasons) are amazing. My favourite  has to be Tabi no Tochuu, which is the first opening. Both openings I found myself singing along to after a few episodes. So for openings, I'll give the anime a score of 10/10.
Secondly, the art work. Right away we meet Holo with no clothes. Kinky, no? Sadly, the eyes aren't the best, but the anime has great clothing for the time period. I would have liked to see eyes like the drawing of Holo drawn by Tony Taka (picture below), but that's my only complaint. For art work, I'll give Spice and Wolf a 9/10.
Next, I will talk about story line. I'll just say that I loved it. I was on the edge of my seat, and once something happened I would shout, "OHMYGODOHMYGOD!". In short, story line gets 10/10.
Finally, since I want to keep this somewhat short, characters. I sometimes found myself annoyed with some characters, like Lawrence. Why does he have grey hair? He's 25. Also, Amati seems too girly (especially because his seiyu is a woman). But there are characters that I fell in love with, mostly Holo, Nora the Sheperdess, and Dianna the Alchemist. Characters get a 9/10.
Final Thoughts:
Spice and Wolf, in my opinion, is an amazing anime that EVERYONE needs to watch. It may seem a tiny bit slow right at the beginning, but it'll speed up and catch you by surprise by the 2nd and 3rd episode. I'm hoping that there will be a 3d season, since there are so many other volumes in the light novels. I think there will be a 3rd season, and if so, I'm definitely watching it. Spice and Wolf gets a finaly score of 38/40 (95% or 9.5/10). Go watch it now. Or I'll kill you. (Just kidding, but still, go watch it.
Also, I want to thank Wikipedia for the resource crap.


    You should watch Angel Beats.
    that rules
    rocks everyones pizza off
    even if you don't HAVE any pizza on you.
    which would be bad because pizza is essential for humans to exist on this planet.
    i am quite pizza obsessed, aren't I?

  2. OH and p.s is there nudity in spice and wolf? it seemed like there was...!

  3. I've watched Angel Beats and LOVED IT!

    Also, there isn't really any nudity. She's nude, but you see nothing.

  4. Yea when you do get shots, she lacks um, anatomical features...

  5. Yeah, im hoping for a 3rd series this year (2013)

    1. Sadly their wont they already made it public that they have no intentions to pick the anime back up since it has been so long since season 2. Also the anime ended on the 5th volume of the Light Novel and their are 14 more that follow the main story line their are 17 in total but 3 are side stories from other characters so it would take them around 7 more season to finish the story unless the skip a few volumes witch would be a shame since during the 1st two season they did 2 volumes per season the 1st had volumes 1 and 2 then the 2nd had volumes 3 and 5 while the skipped season 4 im sure it was so that the last season had a better ending but Volume 4 was a lovely story. I suggest that you just buy the Light Novels and start from the 1st even if the anime covered it you still get much more info and what Lawrence is thinking its told in the 3rd person but you never get to know what Holo is thinking only what he is and what he thinks or knows holo is thinking since they are so close.

  6. I am just finishing up IX of the English version of the light novels. After watching the anime I could not wait for a supposed 3rd season to come out. Light novel # X is coming out in a few months, can't wait. I got my assistant hooked on the anime, now she's on to the novels as well. Addictive story line, Holo is an incredible concept, with a great background and just enough mystery. The fact she can turn into a huge wolf is on the coolness level of all the Zelda games combined |8-) ... after spending time with these characters you can't help but think, what if. I do know one thing though, if I was Craft Lawrence, Holo would be all kinds of pregnant in season 3. :-) He needs to step up his game. LOL