Perhaps I'm ranting about this, and with the score I'm giving I be expecting a lot of disagreements here. To be honest, I was sorely disappointed in Spice and Wolf (S&W), not because it was plain bad, but I cannot see anything worth remembering at all.
Character-wise Both Lawrence and Holo showed little to no development at all throughout the series, and watching the anime made me question what the hell is going on more than how interested in the anime I am. In the case of Lawrence, it seemed like he's lost in how he views his relationship with Holo and his job.
Especially the 'Prioritise Profits' part, I cannot fathom why the anime needs to bring itself to mention that time and time again, and then act the opposite. Lawrence's relationship to Holo is even more confusing. In the start of Season 2, the Amarty-Pyrite Arc was the most captivating arc yet, and it ended so, so badly. It was when the tension was the greatest, and yet it was resolved so damn easily. The most disgusting part is that Lawrence seems to have learnt nothing from the ordeal. Slow pacing with the already awkward ending in Season 1 made this a turn-off.
The characterisation of Holo herself was a mess as well. I cannot fathom a centuries old demigod to be, of all things, a tsundere. Despite being the Wise Wolf, Holo has not shown her wisdom, using her instincts at best and failing to grasp the situation she is in all the time. In the last episode. One simple sentence from a person she barely knows can affect her that much? What the actual F*ck? If you want to showcase Holo's behaviour to be a result for her centuries in suffering solitude, at least make some effort to emphasise on it. Similar to Lawrence, its seems that Holo has learnt nothing from all the ordeals she faced, and her ever-changing mood made me question whether she is bipolar.
The music itself was extremely refreshing at first, with the Openings and Endings to be rather good. Then comes the OST... Is it me or several episodes start with the same music? the lack of variety itself was very obvious as well, and it was as though I was listening to a broken radio.
Overall, I acknowledge I might be 6 years late for this anime. But considering the fact this anime is so highly rated confuses me. To me, S&W is a mess, that tries to add the intelligent elements of trade and romance with a questionable storyline and extremely confusing and bipolar characters. It was as though the anime tried very very hard to seem intelligent, but backfired extremely hard. Then again, I might be wrong and have interpreted the storyline line wrongly, but for me to question almost every single segment of this anime? There should be a lot of questionable segments about Spice and Wolf we can agree on.
Verdict: Don't watch*
1. Still, watch Season 1
2. Move on to light novel
3. Pray Season 3 (If it ever comes out) can redeem this mess
*A surprisingly successful sequel with emphasis on the romance between a man and a (cute) wolf.*
As foreshadowed by the prequel OVA, Spice and Wolf II focus heavily on the romance aspect between our protagonists. By and large, this second adaptation has been regarded as equally successful as its predecessor (if not more successful). In terms of the light novels adaptation, it has been widely accepted for its accurate following of the “actual” story, unlike most anime adaptation. While previous knowledge of the series is not absolutely required to enjoy the show, it is highly recommended for viewers to watch the first season as well as
the OVA, which act as the prelude, before watching Spice and Wolf II. For those who wish to try this series with no previous background, here is a little summary of what to expect. Wordy. To be precise, the show is filled with dialogues from start to end, from episode one to episode twelve.
One common question people tend to have for this series often relates to the balance between romance and (merchant) trading. While there are still a decent dose of merchant-like business talks that may confuse viewers from time to time, the spotlight for this sequel seems to land on the character developments over anything else. Hence Horo and Lawrence fans will most likely enjoy the show much more than those who seek for nothing but story content (ie. business trades in medieval times).
The world of Spice and Wolf can often serve as a history textbook (that focuses on the medieval era in Europe). This is once again proven in the second season as viewers are exposed to the corrupted nature of the slave markets and the power of churches at the time. Although the inspiration of merchant trade has been greatly diminished, the believable surroundings of the medieval setting make this anime still interesting to watch even for those who are not too into the romance aspect of the show.
The character department, without doubt, is the selling point this season. Lawrence, for once, no longer seems like an undefeatable merchant. While viewers may remember him as a successful businessman, particularly when it comes to negotiation during trade, in season one. Many of us will be surprised to see that Lawrence, ultimately, is still a human being and thus he must also have his illogical and “stupid” moments especially when it comes to something he has no experience with. Something called love.
The animation this season is by Brains Base (as oppose to IMAGIN which was responsible for the previous season). There are some very minor changes in the character facial expressions and sometimes their looks at various angles, but overall the quality is similar to the first season and there is no reason for one to be disappointed with it. Re-using a quote from my review on the OVA, “For the most part, one can safely say Brains Base did a great job in taking over the series”.
Seiyu are the same as before with Jun Fukuyama being Kraft Lawrence and the lovely Ami Koshimizu acting as the equally lovable Horo (can’t get enough of that thick “Horo-only” accent). Other notable great seiyu that took part in this season include Romi Paku, and Saeko Chiba. In terms of music, the OP and ED are quite enjoyable and the BGM generally suit the particular scene in the question reasonably well. On the whole, this anime is still unique just like its predecessor. However, the big twist this season is the more intense character relationship developments rather than the merchant trading. In hindsight, there seems to be a certain lack of cleverness in plot development. But then again, the various Horo x Lawrence moments are enough to make up for that.
For those reading this review w/o finishing the first season will be spoiled so be forewarned
This anime continues where the last one left off, Horo and Lawrence slowly make their way to Horo's hometown. Along the way they happen upon various opportunities for profit and gain useful knowledge. All that while trying to keep a strong relationship between a human and a goddess. Some also might wonder if this can stand up against the hype from the fame of the last series. I can easily tell you it does, but with one Achilles heel....
Its definitely not story or the cast that brings this show down
from a perfect 10, its the bad decision to use a completely different production companies to fill in place of the original greats Imagin (animation) and Studio Bihou (Background art). But at the very least keep Studio Bihou as this is what made Spicy Wolf 1 extra special. The animation in S&W2 would appear perfectly the same as before except you will notice many mistakes upon viewing, such as awkward angles, skinny limbs turn to fat limbs, back ground characters, and other minor/major details. Albeit not as exact as the original, it still provides that spice and wolf feel.
If the story of Horo and Lawerence are the heart of the show, the background art would have to be the soul of the show. Amazing amounts of detail were made in S&W1. If you rewatch it, you WILL see things that you haven't seen before. Sadly, the 'soul' of the show appears to be bland, lifeless, and uninhabited. So many angry feelings bubble up when i saw how many simple angles and lines are in one show. Towns don't look like towns. They more resemble a horrible copy paste job that does not fit any point of view angle at all. Small intricate details like wheat in wheat fields or cobblestones appear to be nonexistent. It indeed does hinder the experience considerably. But I am confident you will oversee all the faults once you realize that this story is after all, Spice and Wolf 2.
Lawrence is still very 'crafty' (heh) and Horo is still foxy as ever. Now that their feelings are more established, we will see more character progression this time around and this alone trumps anything a bad artist can draw up. Most of their emotions are still worn on their sleeves, but now they start to rely on each other implicitly. It's just a wonderful thing to see Lawrence and Horo interact with each other. Like a young boyfriend and girlfriend scheming to do things their way no matter how crazy it may seem. You will also notice how much these two characters have grown from before. For better or worse it does make the chemistry between them much more intense. The acting between the two is something of pure win as you will laugh, cry, and everything in between. Such a play on emotions is also a clever way of dissuading the viewer of thinking one way or another when a choice or problem arises for the fearless duo.
This will definitely lead the viewer to varying degrees of thinking about the outcome. Its a formula that definitely works great with a mercantile anime. These situations that they face definitely appear to be more difficult than before and it is apparent through the first story arc. It might be because the stronger relationship between the two or just the trading is more intense. Either way, it will leave you wanting for more. Not in a shounen anime sort of way but more like a good book you just can't put down.
Everything pertaining to the light novel appears as anime gold and everything pertaining to animation production (sans the seiyuu cast) seems to have slipped considerably. Do not let the downgrade fool you though, this is till a very solid iteration to Spice and Wolf.
As a side note: you will love Training With Horo (S&W2 special #2)
Spice and Wolf was one of the best animes I have ever seen in my life. Every second was amazing, every episode had me dying to watch the next, until it was over. For a while I have yearned for more, and then I heard about a sequel, and I was happier than a priest in an unsupervised daycare in the mountains. Now usually with sequels the magic that you first felt when you saw it, isn't there, but not with Spice and Wolf II, so far it has been just as stimulating, if not more, as season one.
The story is about the
life a merchant named Lawrence, and his companion Holo who happens to be a wolf goddess. Together they venture towards Holo's home town while making trades along the way. The story has just the right amount of romance to make you want to want more. It is very cleverly written and does an excellent job of building anticipation without wasting a second like some other shows do.
Beautiful, the colors compliment the feelings which the scenes are trying to convey, and the character's design is superb as it was in the first season. The characters look more like real people then in other animes, giving off the element of realism but keep that mystical charm that could only be found in a medieval world with pagan gods running about. The animation is crisp and smooth without many awkward moments. The expressions are not too exaggerated and the background characters all have a distinctive look about them.
Wow, the voice actors. Holo's seiyuu is one of the best, she can convey her emotions excellently and has a cute little catch phrase. Lawrence's actor has a serious voice which suites him well. The soundtrack is great at heightening the feeling trying to be expressed, the only thing that put this down to an 8 is that the opening and ending sequence. They are not my cup of tea so to speak. But they suit the show well.
Holo and Lawrence still keep that charm from the first season, admittedly they don't have the deepest back story. Little is known about Lawrence and Holo is an equal mystery, but this element adds a certain charm to the show, and perhaps more will be told about Horo and Lawrence later on, but even if they choose not to tell us their story, the characters are still well developed. Lawrence growth through the time spent with Holo is evident in the second season. The lack of archetypes is refreshing considering all the twin tailed tsundere bullshit out there. And that's what makes these characters memorable, instead of the cliche characters we get characters with a humanistic feeling to them.
My mediocre vocabulary can't assign an adjective to this show worthy of it's greatness, this is an absolute must watch for everyone.
Continuing a beloved series and making it greater or just as great can be a challenging task to take. This is not much of a problem for anime that are step-by-step adaptations of any type of original source medium. Spice and Wolf, if you don’t know, is one series that won me over from the previous season. Likewise, I was hoping that this 2nd season would have the same positive impact that the 1st season did for me. While it is not better than the first season in many aspects, it definitely possessed the same fascinating qualities that the 1st season had, with a few
improvements to the original.
It is impossible to review a the sequel to a show you’ve already reviewed before without writing similar thoughts on certain aspects. For the sake of being thoughtful, it is important to note these aspects from the previous title and determine whether they improved overtime or not. These include how the character progression has matured over time and if the plot arcs are just as entertaining or thought-provoking as before.
To start out, our lovable duo, Kraft Lawrence and Holo, continue their journey in order to besting the world of mercantile and business ventures in order to survive the political landscape. In the beginning, we see these two start out their relationship as people who don’t immediately have one that is romantic. It was one that still had a sense of distrust, but they still wanted to have a friendship in order to work out each others’ problems they are having. Now with the 2nd season, with the amount of development both Kraft and Holo had together, they flourished into blossoming partners that have a great connection to one another. It all works because the pacing of their growth is logically slow and based on realistic expectations.
That connection seems inseparable in hindsight, due in part with the brilliant dialogue both Holo and Kraft share between one another. Then that connection soon fades when, in one plot arc, they go there their separate ways because of a fierce argument amidst each other. What makes this significant to bring up is the fact that the relationship is powerfully written that when you see these two break off from that connection, you can feel nothing but despair watching it fold through. Emotional investment from observing characters in a show growing into fleshed-out characters is important to achieve when you want the audience to care for them in the first place. Spice and Wolf did it brilliantly in the first season, and yet they managed to mold it into something riveting that pulls our emotions without the need of manipulating them.
As far as the plot is concerned, there is no sense of improvement or decline in quality in terms of writing. In season 2, there are definitely higher stakes in the amount of depth they put into the troubles of mercantile that Kraft has to face head-on. Kraft uses language that people, who are not necessarily experts in economic lingo, might have some trouble wrapping their heads around. It is here where we finally see some critical progress towards a romance in Holo and Kraft’s relationship. The only negative that came of this is how they executed it in a rather out-of-character moment that didn’t feel in line with the tone of the show as a whole.
Yes I know, this review ends on a rather short note, but that is only because of the fact that I reviewed the first season in great detail. So it would be pointless to rehash similar arguments I have on the art and music because they have no change in quality whatsoever. In other words, they are all magnificent to experience whether you started on the 1st season or not. However, you obviously have to start with the 1st season to gain any sort of preconceived notion of what is going on. That is, unless, if you want to watch it for the glorious Holo cuteness, which I can’t blame anyone who has that reason.
Vulnerability is the essence of romance. It's the art of being uncalculated, the willingness to look foolish, the courage to say, 'This is me, and I'm interested in you enough to show you my flaws with the hope that you may embrace me for all that I am but, more important, all that I am not.'
Nope, not a Tennyson quote. This one by Ashton Kutcher, of all people. I never would have guessed, myself.
What do we think of when we hear the word romance? A vision of a couple sitting in the sunset, fingers intertwined, lips together? A complex, irrevocable, inimitable bond formed between
two people over time? Perhaps something as goofy as even Mr. Krabs and his money (you can't tell me that's not true love). No matter your idea of the term- there are basic tenets of romance that everyone can agree upon- the building of a relationship between two people out of mutual respect and love for each other.
As my muse Mr Plinkett once said, "I'm no expert on relationships, as most of mine have ended in several large trash bags" but I'm going to do my best to analyze what it is about Spice and Wolf that makes it an exemplary romance anime, and what sets it apart from others in the genre. First, I must pose a question, though. Like the concept of romance as a nebulous term, everyone who's seen any romance based anime has expectations of them.
I would pose this question: is the bar set so low in romance anime that even a modicum of realism in terms of how the relationship is formed and nurtured is perceived as a romantic masterpiece? Is our idea of what a romance in anime should be like so skewed that when something comes along with even a small amount of something believable that's not "5 girls fall in love with a guy and he chooses none of them after solving their problems", that we think it's the most romantic thing since pick-a-Jane Austen?
I'm seeing Spice and Wolf through this lens. It stands with authority among the best romance anime I've seen, but I've seen heralded romance anime that are supposedly notable examples- but it's a shallow, childlike romance- like your first middle school relationship with that girl who makes you sign a contract of things you can and can't do, which may or may not include talking to, or even looking at other girls, and you have to text her after EVERY class and sit with her at lunch, and walk her to the breezeway to get picked up.
Wait, is real life getting in the way again? Whoops.
But, like my silly example of a middle school romance- romance anime seemingly follow a checklist like my 7th grade girlfriend's contract - a list of things they need to contain to be a "successful romance" anime. Or, as most people know it- the formula for "AUGH, MY FEELS".
Spice and Wolf, fortunately, takes a turn away from the formulaic, and trailblazes down a largely uncharted path of showing how a slowly nurtured relationship develops and evolves over time- no one is thrown into action immediately. (Fans of the falling on boobs, prepare to be disappointed. Lawrence doesn't have a seizure when he sees his lady friend naked (multiple times) nor does he act like he's being electrocuted when she touches him). They even remark about that in episode 11 of the 2nd half, where Holo says that "you don't even tremble slightly when I lay against you anymore".
No, it starts off small, like real life. An awkward introduction turns into a friendship. A partnership emerges, and trust is built. A budding romance is born, but it's not without its tenuous and fragile moments. Real insecurities such as defining the relationship, jealousy, learning how to give your partner space, and knowing when and how to talk with them when they're pissed off, sad, drunk, or acting crazy, plus a myriad things that happen to real couples appear in the series- and aren't dismissed with laughing it off. No, the show treats its audience with some respect and maturity, trusting that they're able to watch people act like real people- not a cookie cutter feel good romance. There are moments where Holo and Lawrence are legitimately angry or put out with each other, and it very well could be the last time they see each other- and how they deal with that- forgiveness, rage, acceptance, rejection, all of these make an appearance- as it would with a real couple.
No one is smitten at first sight- no love is declared within the first half hour of our characters having met. No, their circumstance of being together develops entirely of their own volition, not out of any convenience by the writers as an excuse to shove in romance. It's a fact, that audiences love the tease, the threat, the promise, the unspoken between two romantic partners- and that when the moment finally happens- whether it's the achievement of couple status, the first kiss, marriage, or whatever the goal may be- there's a relief in the audience that their wishes (or perhaps to the contrary) have been fulfilled in the characters. The buildup of tension (sexual or otherwise), emotion, and sometimes frustration is all paid off at some point in romances.
Take Star Wars Episode V for example. The budding romance of Han and Leia from A New Hope reaches a height of nearly tangible tension when Han is taken prisoner by the Empire and they finally confess their love for each other- despite having shared a first kiss and plenty of sexual tension in the preceding 3 hours of film between the two movies. It's a very real and raw moment, with Leia never knowing if she'll ever see the man that she's grown to love again, and there's not much she can do about it. Find me a moment like that in an anime not named Spice and Wolf, and we'll talk.
To its credit, the romance is largely between the lines. Outward displays of affection are great as visual aids- but in this case, show, not tell. It's in how Lawrence and Holo edge closer together through their experiences throughout the show, in their growth as partners, their verbal sparring and teasing, their mutual respect and trust, and in the contrast between how traumatic and peaceful/happy events shape their relationship.
So is the bar for romance just set really low, and that puts Spice and Wolf high up the list, or is it that it's just a really good romance? I'd say that because of the care and maturity with which the story is handled, that this goes above and beyond any other anime by showing a true love story between adults, and not a childish, shallow tale of middle school romance with a checklist, physical attraction, or convenience. Any one episode of Spice and Wolf has more actual romantic content in it than almost any other show I've ever seen.
Enough about that sap, though. Excuse me, I just need to close off the spigot and dump the bucket of sap i just drained out, and get to the real pulp of the show now.
In terms of how the story is presented and the artwork- the art is serviceable- but far from being Akira or anything. Having undergone a studio change between seasons and more than a year between the airdates is certainly not the best for a show, but the quality improves somewhat between where Imagin left off and Brain's Base picks up, without being jarring. What is jarring, however, is the pacing, particularly in the first season. It has a lot of weird jump cuts that will throw you off at least twice every other episode. They try to do the "rosebud' thing couple times, and it just doesn't work for the story they're trying to tell. There are also breaks where you can tell there was a commercial edited out (and this wasn't some bootleg, either) and the return shot is completely different, like you missed half a scene.
The music however, is excellent. The little madrigal insert tune works perfectly with the atmosphere, and there's a lot of Baroque and Renaissance style music- with heavy solo/quartet vocalists and frequent use of violin.
Spice and Wolf is set in the 1450s, a time that was honestly pretty crappy to live in. Life expectancy in the Renaissance era was approximately 35-40, and despite the advances to come in medicine (ayo Leonardo Da Vinci with the autopsy) life was short, brutal, and hard. Lawrence enjoys relative wealth as a merchant, but the show doesn't shy away from showing that life isn't always peachy with the threats of death and the consequences of being in debt or broke- but all that glitters is gold, and for a merchant of the times- that was your (short) life's work. With the church and the inquisition out to get you if they discover you sheltering a witch (read: Holo the Wise Wolf girl), vicious, greedy trading companies and guilds trying to rip you off, dangerous bands of thieves and wild animals threatening on the country roads between towns, and the chance of just going broke serve to provide a compelling period drama that's surprisingly accurate and representative. The treatment of women as near-property, slavery being a shockingly normal thing in addition to self imposed indentured servitude, the consequences of being broke, or worse, in debt, and the church being the ruling governmental body are also certainly signs of the times- and provide a realistic backdrop onto which the story is set.
The show is also known for its presentation of economics... and as far as I know, is probably the only anime that's tackled economics as a main theme for the plot. The story's drama revolves largely around tension and dramatic moments from Lawrence taking risks for huge payoffs involving contractual obligations, market manipulations, credit, money exchanging, and some other Renaissance era innovations in trade and finance come into play, making Spice and Wolf, at times somewhat of an info-tainment show. As an economics major myself, I can verify that the premises in the show are generally valid, if fairly basic. Someone did their homework, anyway.
All told, Spice and Wolf is a unique show, blending a mature romance with an economics based theme to tell a period drama with convincing results. They sold me on it, anyway.
First of all, I must say this is my 1 review, so I lack of experience, and my English is not the best, but here are my appointments.
I don't find words to describe how good was this anime, was a totally new experience, never tought this anime will be like that, so emotional and funny in the same time, so deep when we talk about simple things, that happens in my life everyday, for example, the story of the wagon when is lock on a rock in a road, when we have to thing all the bad things and
good things, to make a worth decision, leave the wagon behind or take the risks and push the wagon fast as possible to don't be assault.
The other thing I must say about this anime, is the relationship between this two, The greatest thing about this anime, is the main characters for sure, They are so well done, the are not boring, they don't are like the typical characters in a novel romance you see everyday, they seem real! All the small
things, the jokes, the spontaneous hugs, all that stuff make me angry deep inside, cause i feel so jealous about them. For me the best relationship of love have not be perfect, to be true with myself, it cant be, cause what make you love someone? Is not the imperfect things of a person that make you love her?
All that make me rate this Anime with a 9. Not masterpiece, because the final make upset to be honest, just a little, I was curious about Horo past, and the anime finish off without answering me all the questions about her past, I cant forget the origin of the journey of them, was all because of her home, I know her city was destroyed, but I know too that she wanted to go anyway to her place.
Finally I think everyone should see this 2 seasons of Ookami to Koushinryou, is just too good, too memorable, too different to just avoid.
I just need to preface this review with the fact that I have an intense love in my heart for analytical, deep thinking and outside of the box "anything". I had such, such high hopes for this show. I mean, I poured through the reviews, and I was so freaking PUMPED. I was that kid who was obsessed with games on building, trading...empires...history... By the end of the 2nd season I was just F***** PISSED. The first season was sheer dent of will...this was a crucibal.
I really had to sit back an question the tastes of people and their anime, and really could not
wrap my head around all these stellar 9/10 reviews. There were so many glaring problems with this show, I just... can't. I do not mind slow. I can even suffer through boring. Monologues, sure why not? But this show really made me want to "reclaim my time". I cannot stand wishy-washy bi-polar a** characters and the femme fatale here just makes you want to punch a baby in the face. Yeah... I freaking said it. This show had so much hope and promise, but these sadistic a**hats (writers) have created something that was "breathtaking" and not in a good way...
Even if this was written with the "times" in mind in regards to humor and how things were laid out, I found myself wanting to rip my hair out from the lack of effing cohesion! You picked up some neat trading tidbits, but even half of that ish wasn't believable... furs become exponentially more expensive because they smell like f****** apples, and it could be used as a "tactic"... give me a f****** break...She is supposed to be the wise wolf yet she acts like a petulant child 90% of the time with 0 emotional control... he has fallen in love with a maniacal and abusive tyrant with a jacked up sense of justice ... *mega eye roll*... I was not going to leave a review because I was so disgusted, but after a few weeks, I just could not let this crap stand without throwing some spaghetti at the wall and hoping it sticks....
The only reason this show is not rated a 1 is that I totally respect the effort it took to tie this many threads of history together for educational purposes.
*This is a non-spoiler review of both seasons of Spice and Wolf
When I first found out about Spice and Wolf I was skeptical. I had heard that the series revolved around monetary and economic principles, and wondered how entertaining a like that could be. I’d also heard that there was a lot of dialog in this this series. I feared that I would be bored by discussions about economics that I’m not particularly interested in. I’m very glad to say that I was dead wrong about this series. Spice and Wolf managed to take topics I cared nothing about, and make them very entertaining and
The story stars two main characters, a traveling merchant named Kraft Lawrence, and a wolf goddess named Holo. The story is about their journey to find Holo’s homeland, while trying to make some money along the way. As stated earlier, the story has a lot to do with economic and monetary principles, but the best part of the story is the interaction between Lawrence and Holo. The dialog between the two is funny and witty. Through their experiences and verbal exchanges you get to see the steady progression of their relationship. My main issue with the story is the ending, because there really isn’t one. The last season concludes before they reach the end of their journey, and in order to learn the rest of the story you’ll have to read the light novels. Which is disappointing considering how much I enjoyed the story, and since there most likely will never be a third season.
The animation in the series is good. The backgrounds are really well done and, at times, it felt like I was looking at watercolor paintings. The scenes look fantastic, and really fit the atmosphere the show is trying to portray. The characters are also animated well. Spice and Wolf’s animation feels like it has its own style. The way the backgrounds and characters come together fit really well.
The sound in Spice and Wolf is fantastic. The sound track is varied and sets the mood for the scenes very well. The music can be bright and cheerful, but also can be really somber and melancholy. It also helps to immerse you in to the middle ages setting of the show. The music sounds like something that something that you might hear at a renaissance fair, which is a good thing. The openings and endings in this show are really well done, and fit the show both lyrically and sonically. The first ending was so catchy it was stuck in my head for days.
The characters in Spice and Wolf are what make the story, and the series, work so well. The interactions between the characters take up a majority of the show, and this is fine because that is the most interesting part. The dialog between the characters not only advances the plot, but it also serves as the story’s source of humor. While Lawrence doesn’t have the most interesting motivations or backstory, he is very likeable character. This is partly because he is good at what he does, which is being a merchant, and also partly because he is a very smart character. Holo, who is one of, if not, my favorite female anime characters compliments him really well. This is not only because she is a smart character, but also because she doesn’t really fit any female anime stereotypes. While there maybe times where she falls into those stereotypes in the series, those are temporary and don’t change how she acts as a character. Both of the main characters are well rounded and interesting to watch. The side and supporting characters in this series are also good. They are given a good amount of screen time, and their motivations and backgrounds are explained pretty well.
I really enjoyed watching Spice and Wolf. Even though the show has a lot of dialogue, I didn’t get bored while I was watching this series. I found conversations between the characters, even the ones about economics, to be very interesting.
Verdict & Breakdown:
Spice and Wolf isn’t a typical anime. With its unique premise and characters Spice and Wolf is enjoyable from start to finish.
After an epic final in the first season which left me stunned. I was expecting the second season to slow down and turn more romantic. Found out i am right, but the mercantile stuff is still going strong and there is even a merchant duel on par with death note quality. Backstabbing and market values etc. It all returns in its great glory!
At start, the first episode gave me an impression of "Hmm... it's turned soft." But at the same time it was nice too see the cute side of our heroes. But it doesn't take long before they leave the town in episode 2
and move out. That is when i got the magic feeling as i had when watching season 1! The gorgeous nature scenery returns as does the merchant drama. But this season also focuses on the relationship between our heroes, there are more frequent blushes and silly episodes. Towards the end it was all going out of hand and i litteraly begged for a good ending!
The story in this one is a continuation, there is no episodic feel to this series. Each episode flows nicely and the plot twists never stop to surprise you. Although it's not as epic as the first season, it's a good one which manages to keep the same magic feeling you had during season 1.
Art is even more polished in this so this can only be better than season 1. Nature scenery is gorgeous and characters are drawn well. They have managed to keep the unique personalities and showing us new sides of them which we didn't get in season 1.
Sound effects is improved. Furious door bashing that made me turn my head around to see if it was my door. The music in this one borrows many of the same songs from first season, but some new ones are there which is nice for a change. The opening is slow paced like the first one but more beautifull than epic. Ending song is also good.
As for characters. They have the same voice actors which is a big relief. Unlike other animes where the cast and studio is changed which ruins everything. The characters turn to their soft sides more often now and even the wolf girl seems weak sometimes. Characters are deep and lovable. And the male protagonist is still an idiot sometimes.
I enjoyed this almost as much as season 1. I felt like i was watching the same anime but in season 2 there is many changes, but those are changes done in a way that it felt just like season 1. Something you RARELY find in anime sequels, which tend to turn worse than the first season.
The characters returns to themselves and seing a cute relationship unfold is always nice. The merchant drama, marked values, mercantile stuff also returns, although it's relationship that is the big focus this time. All in all this was an excellent sequel which didn't dissapoint! The first episode was a letdown as i watched this in a marathon. I was still pumped and excited from the ending of season 1. But don't let the first episode fool you, season 2 turns great already on the next episode!
Thinking back to the different relationships that I've formed over the years, it's pretty easy to tell when I'm truly close to someone. Whether this be my younger brother, my best friend, or my greatest lover, there is a distinct connection that I share with them that is incredibly hard to emulate and even describe. Instead, people have to experience this feeling for himself or herself. It's not something that is gained by resting on one's laurels; like everything else, developing this relationship takes considerable time, effort, and a smidgen of luck. In Spice and Wolf 2, we
get to see this special connection blossom, making it one of the best anime-viewing experiences in my short career.
Spice and Wolf 2 more or less begins where Spice and Wolf 1 left off. Lawrence and Holo, continuing their journey, arrive at the next city in hopes of discovering information pertaining to Holo's origins.
The first season did two things quite well: depict the economic side to trading and establish the relationship between Lawrence and Holo. Here again, these ideas are well under way. In terms of economy, we get to see aspects of supply and demand and the troubles brought about by taxes and tariffs. On the lover side of things, our couple's relationship continues to move forward through their everyday interactions. But this time, the second season does something even more significant. And that is using both money and love to drive each side forward. As an analogy, think of it as a see-saw; when one side sees movement, so does the other. In other words, the economy isn't just there as a vessel for plot-points. Instead, its actually used to drive Lawrence's and Holo's relationship to even greater heights. This is also true for the opposite end; Lawrence and Holo use their care and love for one another to bring about success in the business deals they get into.
One of the better components of the series is the explanations behind all of the business transactions. This time, the same occurs, but there is even more attention to detail when it comes to the explanations behind everything. The show often used "mini-flashbacks" in conjunction with the relevant dialogue to better let the audience understand where these ideas were coming from. These flashbacks are also used outside of the deals; when Lawrence or Holo allude to previous conversations or dealings, it was nice to have those "Oh, yea!" moments so that I could more readily follow everyone's trains of thought. Overall, using this technique and even just better writing, the show did an even greater job of explaining everything that the anime had to offer.
Something that the show does quite masterfully is also quite difficult to do. This is in making the audience feel the emotions that the characters are experiencing. At certain moments during this second season, the characters go through varied states: panic, despair, happiness, sorrow. While it's arguably easy to just showcase these separate emotions, it's another beast entirely to be able to make someone feel the same way when he or she has no relation to that character's current predicament. As an example, when Lawrence is in the market attempting to sell his fool's gold, the story sets up the situation in such a fantastic way, that you begin to honestly feel how he does at every turn; panic when waiting for a certain someone, confusion at the continually rising prices, content when he realizes that what he's needed has been nearby all along. It's beautifully done throughout the season, and should be looked at as an example for such well-done execution.
Spice and Wolf 1 was, analytically, a presentation of trust and everything that it entails. Trust plays a role in this season as well, but season two focuses on something else; hope. Going analytical once more, one of the show's purposes this time around is to demonstrate the idea that hope, while existential, is something that's not only wanted but something that's desperately needed. The season is split primarily into two arcs: the fool's gold arc and the fur arc. Both feature characters, Amarty and Eve respectively, who's ultimate saving grace is that hope will allow them to see their plans come to fruition. Even more important is in how hope ties to Lawrence and Holo. For Mr. Spice, it's the hope of opening that shop, the hope of striking it big wherever he goes. For Mrs. Wolf, it's the hope of finding her home, the hope that she will never be lonely again. Hope is interesting because it is there at almost all times but is one of the easiest things to be snatched away. And in this second season, they capture the essence of what hope is wonderfully.
The art and animation for Spice and Wolf Season Two is a considerable improvement from season one for three distinct reasons: crisper design, better environments, and "camera" direction.
During the show, and comparing it to its counterpart, it becomes somewhat obvious how much cleaner a lot of the animation and art is. It doesn't feel "old" anymore, for starters. The characters themselves look more detailed, their animations are improved slightly (this is especially the case for Holo), and there is generally more "action" going on per scene. Once again, there is a lot of talking that goes on, but this potential stall in animation is alleviated by the camera work, which I will get to shortly.
While watching the second season, I also felt as if the show was better able to capture more distinct settings or environments. For the most part, season one typically felt more or less the same atmospheric-wise. This time, however, the show incorporates better mood creating: cool autumn sunsets, serene nights, and gloomy overcasts. It mostly helps to give the world more detail besides it being just day or night, so this addition was quite welcomed.
Finally, the camera work. I started noticing this more closely as it was happening. Spice and Wolf 2 does a great job of using the camera to its advantage. While it does do single-face shots, it also changes the formula up quite a bit. It uses low shots, panning shots, wide-shots, and more intricate ones such as far shots and "one-on-one" shots, where the camera rotates between characters who are facing off against one another. This seems like something rather arbitrary to bring up, but many shows don't take into account that the "camera" is a tool to be used for the anime's advantage in order to create better detail and atmosphere. Thankfully, season two is not one of them.
For argument's sake, besides these three new additions, everything else that was done well in season one was carried over. It still feels like an era where bartering is the go-to method, the town feels like a community, and Lawrence's and Holo's character designs feel right. These feelings were already established, but seeing it not tampered with is a sign of good artistic direction.
Spice and Wolf Season Two introduces two rather significant side characters, Amarty and Eve. I'll talk briefly about them, but like last time, I will focus majorly on Lawrence, Holo, and the relationship they share.
Amarty is a young man looking to prove himself in the world of merchants. Cunning, intelligent, and knightly, his actions are seemingly simple. But the implications he has behind what he does are far greater than what most people realize, and by the time they do, it's usually already too late. Amarty's presence in the story serves one major purpose: to let Holo understand how important Lawrence is to her.
Eve is a woman who is initially shrouded in mystery. "Friendly," wise, and formidable, her past experiences shape her to be outwardly cold and inwardly hostile. It's difficult to get a read on her, not only because of the way she dresses but also in the way she talks and handles herself during conversations. Like Amarty, yet contrasting him as well, she serves one major purpose: to let Lawrence understand how important Holo is to him.
Keeping these two purposes in mind, let's jump to our main duo. Lawrence is the man of the hour. Witty, determined, and as good-natured as ever, he loves to talk, investigate, and tease Holo on a daily basis. In season one, his characterization was about realizing that its not about profiting but about not losing. Season two narrows this focus even more; it's not about just losing, it's about losing Holo.
Holo is, once again, the star of the show. More playful than ever before, relishing in teasing Lawrence not on a daily basis but on an hourly basis, she brings about good humor and incredibly romantic moments. At the same time, we also get to witness incredibly uncharacteristic sides to Holo that, like her aversion to loneliness, help to make her be even more human. Along the same lines as Lawrence, season one was about her being afraid of becoming alone. Once again, this focus narrows further into not just becoming alone but losing Lawrence along the way.
Taking all of this into account -- Amarty's and Eve's purposes and Lawrence's and Holo's newfound passion -- what we discover is a beautiful and charming relationship that nearly fully blossoms between peddler and wolf. The circumstances they find themselves in form stunning amounts of emotion from both parties, but their ability as characters to respect, remember, and reflect upon what occurs between them allows them to come to their respective realizations. The beginning of their journey saw the creation of their relationship. The middle part here pushed it to the very brink between extremely close companion and lover for life. Such a development (not having it fully come to a head) works well here because such a climax honestly should take place during the climax of the series; namely the ending to their journey. As it stands, the second season is another fine example for when it comes to love and how to properly expand upon and further develop it.
If I'm speaking from the heart, season two's OP is not as good as season one's OP, but that isn't really saying much considering how incredibly well-done the first one is. This time, the OP starts off extremely calming, giving off a false-sense of safety that contrasts nicely with the anime. By the half-way point, it picks up tempo, bringing about delicate singing that is pleasing to hear.
The ED, likewise, pales in comparison to season one's ED, but again that's not saying much. Once more, it's quite upbeat and follows Holo's theme of, "play now, play always." I think besides being a cute little song, it actually serves its purpose rather well, namely that it further outlines why the two of them, Lawrence and Holo, will be together forever.
The soundtrack is in top-form once again, with the flute playing and the high-tension violin. Along with the more instrumental/old-time-y bar music, the sound pieces really help to captivate the audience and place us in the world it is trying to convey.
Voice-acting wise, I will say that Holo's VA, Ami Koshimizu, grew on me. The acting performance itself is nothing downright spectacular, but I don't think I'll ever be able to hear a similar voice from her or anyone else again and not immediately think about the lovable wolf-goddess.
Probably my favorite moment from the show is when Holo removes the "spell" placed on Lawrence, and everything that follows it for the next five minutes. It's heart-warming, comedic, and romantic all in one stroke. While these types of feelings only make up about half of the show, when they are there, it's quite the joyful experience.
When the first arc concluded, I actually got pretty mad at myself for doubting certain things that were going on. It's pretty funny to me how these 2-D characters that will really never exist in corporeal form are able to elicit immense feelings just by acting in particular ways, either good or bad.
As with season one, I often found myself re-watching certain scenes to make sure I caught the little details, such as Holo's nuanced mannerisms or how certain deals would be handled. This time, I actually re-watched an entire episode because I had that much fun going through it. Beyond that, I was also looking up plot synopses and comparing certain sub-groups because I was having way too much fun indulging in the anime.
In the end, Spice and Wolf Season Two is the second installment to a trilogy. It's funny, dramatic, romantic, and memorable due to it's interesting story-telling and more importantly its unique characters. Like all anime, it isn't without its flaws. But it's as close to a masterpiece as you are going to get.
Story: Great, money and love serve one another, while hope shines through
Animation: Great, visuals, setting, and camera work are on point
Characters: Great, supporting cast develop the mains, Lawrence and Holo are as fantastic as ever
Sound: Great, good OP and ED, good soundtrack, nice VA work
Enjoyment: Great, one of the best couples in anime
I had very high expectations for this anime since I had heard nothing but praise for it. And while I was watching it I was waiting for something to blow me away, but even after two seasons nothing did. If I had to describe this show in one word, it would be boring. I can't just chalk the pace of this show up as a deliberate one like I would with an anime like "Monster". Instead I have to say that it was uneventful and forgettable, and that was my biggest problem with it. Problems aside for a moment, this anime
didn't have any areas it really succeeded in in the first place. Aside from the concept which is unique and its pretty much unprecedented focus on economics, at least in anime, all aspects of this show are average or worse, except for the voice acting (I can't speak for the Dubbed version however).
The soundtrack fit well, but many of the tracks were overused, and nothing stands out. The animation and art style were standard. It didn't do anything wrong in that area, its just that even the scenes with action were not visually impressive. Most of this show is conversation and just the animation of the characters' mouths moving, nothing to write home about. The story is not all that captivating, especially the lazy, or if you are optimistic, "open" ending with a pitiful payoff. The interactions between characters are somewhat interesting, but there is not much development for the main two characters who are still not fleshed out enough for an anime where the characters are the main focus. I won't lie, it was a chore to sit through this show, no offense to the people that enjoyed it. It felt like a waste of time watching this, and I cannot help but feel that I've missed something.
Compared to the first season i was very disappointed. I was hoping for a second season that flowed the same as the first season and it simply did not. I wont go into too much detail but literally half of the season they are in one town, just one town! And just trying to make one deal!
I was hoping for alot more on the road travel and scenery. Not a lot of romance, dragged out scenarios, over drama in my opinion. If a season 3 comes out maybe i will feel better but at the moment i am sorely disappointed.
This review encompasses both Seasons 1 and 2 of Ookami to Koushinryou (Spice and Wolf).
Spice and Wolf is a highly stylistic masterpiece that creatively retells early century trade business and weaves it with fictional set pieces to becomes one of the must enthralling suspense-romance anime ever created.
The art was breath taking. Characters, locations, and objects were all given very special care and we're brought to life in the fullest extent.
A breath of fresh air from the ever common teenager protagonist, especially for a romance anime, Spice and Wolf hosts a cast of unique adults all striving their way through the harsh realities of
life as businessmen. The two protagonists deserve special mention as one of the best couples in anime, with cheesy and clichéd back-and-forths easily overwritten by intelligent banter and realistic interactions always so engaging and tangible.
Plot twists that will leave you at edge of your seat, this anime is definitely not lacking in. Every major conflict that arises brings with it a different atmosphere, and makes one always eager to know how everyone involved comes out in the resolution, for better or for worse. The clever weaving of points forms a web that will certainly ensnare any viewer in self speculation and excitement.
The arias set the mood to a perfect tune and welcomed all to this majestic world of merchants.
I couldn't put this down. Need I say more?
An excellent series that deserves even more recognition than it already possesses, a highly innovative take that proves that even deep, smart, and clean anime can become masterpieces.
Well, im simply saying this to strengthen my next sentence, but i have watched nearly 500 anime series... And this is by far the best romance anime among them and one of the best among all genres. Even though the Light Novels ended and even fully translated by now, they should animate all of Light Novels,not for the profit from it or to advertise Light Novels, but to leave an example of pinnacle for all japanese animation made from Light Novels and the pinnacle for Light Novels alike. It would not be far fetched to say that this is the pinnacle of them all, by
overall story, by overall character development, by overall execution of the story and by execution of light novels into anime while story staying intact. P.S. : 2 seasons only consist 2 books,1st to 5th 4th being excluded. And whole book series have 17 books, leaving are much more books to animate... This is what a "Masterpiece" is.
This is the first review I have ever written on anime, however, that is only testament to the fact that I have never been so moved by one. Spice and Wolf's greatness stems from the fact that they do not pander to the lowest common denominator. Spice and Wolf does not intend to be an extremely popular anime, what it intends to, and succeeds in doing is being the very best anime for a niche audience.
The creators obviously spent countless hours studying and researching the economics, politics, culture, religion, and ethics of the time, not to mention the setting and society. Their work
shines through brilliantly throughout the story. Even those who consider themselves knowledgeable in history will be delighted to learn some things themselves throughout the story. The sole reason the score is not 10 is because it is overshadowed by the character development.
The art style throughout the series is brilliantly subtle, to say the least. Slight blushes by characters, single frame hints, and even body movement, the attention to detail and subtlety in this is simply incredible. They certainly did not cut corners here, they went above and beyond. The art subtly tells the viewer entire stories within of itself. The artists respect the viewer and consider them perceptive and smart enough to pick up on the slightest movements or actions of the characters, which manages to add to the story and fit in perfectly, as, in the merchant world, the characters must be perceptive of those that they are working with.
Period-appropriate sound was a big gamble, but it paid off incredibly, the BGM nearly always fits in with the scene, and contributes to the story. It both scares you and consoles you throughout the series and it is very rarely done so masterfully. The reason this is not 11/10 is because a select few scenes, I felt the music was not appropriate for the situation, however, I very might well be mistaken.
This is simply the best character development I've ever seen, and it will be disappointing return to other anime. This is the real substance of the anime, and if you ignored the entire story, the character development alone would still be brilliant. The romance of this story does not pander to the common tropes, it does not develop overnight, it grows slowly and realistically. The hard work in the Sound and Art departments pays off as it manages to not be overshadowed by the impeccable character development, it even contributes to the development. The development has highs and lows that will leave you always wanting more and never disappointed.
This anime is not for everyone, because it was not made for everyone. It is a rather mature anime and younger audiences may not get nearly as much enjoyment out of it. However, if you have the right interests, this anime will forever hold the spot as your favorite, as it does mine.
Carefully constructed entertaining story, Art style that tells a story all on its own, Sound that can drop and lift emotions as if feathers, and, perhaps, the best character development to date all contribute to make this anime a masterpiece.
Spice and Wolf 2 is an improvement over the first season by a good bit. But still keeps some of the main issues of the first season.
When i finished the 1st season i had two major complaints.
1. How the story talks way to much about the economy and the coin value with also tons of talk about how to make more money.
2. Unneeded evil schemes that fill forced and made me keep delaying watching the next episode.
All of these together were annoying cause instead of us spending time with the two MC's spending time together and building a better relationship. We are
getting talks about how to make money in this world that doesn't even exist .
Why the first complaint i had is mostly gone from the second season. The 2nd complaint still remains but to a lesser extent
Most of the story is actually focused on the two of their relationships witch is just a better experience to watch than previously.
But the biggest problem with the 2nd season is how much of an idiot the male MC is. He is constantly taking unneeded big risk that always fails and ex machina manages to save the day. The only reason why these big unneeded disasters happen or tragedy befalls the two MC's is cause the Male MC is at fault.
It's kind of mind boggling how they have set the character up.
But the rest of the story is still fun to watch and like i said it's an improvement over the 1st season by a good margin.
Fuck that beautiful just beautiful end, this anime pretty surprised me ah never thought an anime of 2009 in terms of Animation, ambience and soundtrack far exceed Anime Anime 2014 This was just a masterpiece with very uan style ambience of the time where cities bestimentas funds occurs, all very style of the time, the plot is just very well thought makes me think the phrase "are pure business" and again, the characters are also maravollosos (protruding Horo) the more secondary side may have a past or a story that makes you get more desire to know (A what Space Dandy), the animation is exemplary
backgrounds, designs, lights, shadows, etc are extremely well made pieces as I said before many many current exceeds Animes. In a purely conclucion excellent series with faults at least I count them on the fingers of one hand enters my Top of my favorite Animes without doubt a second
What I mostly love about this anime is the setting it is put in. Middleages, Austria (kinda Austria, a kingdom based on Austria back in that day). Even though it sounds quite generic, you will be surprised how nicely is the whole setting executed. I was satisfied with the middleagy setting more than in any other anime out there. All the people, the taverns, festivals, markets, roads. Everything was made with a thought of middleages, and it felt like middleages all the way through.
I could say that this story is about love. To be specific about a love that can't exists, not because of personal
problems. Just because it can't, there's no such way for a human to live and love a god, and a god can't love a mortal. Sooner or later the god will be left alone, with nothing but himself.
But yeah if I said its a story about love only, I would be very wrong. It is also about a tradesman. A very smart one, trying to live in this world by buying and selling goods. Which is nicely done too, considering that every detail of the process of trading is explained. All the schemes they plan, and all the things
they would do to make more money.
This is a story of exceptional life and love.
All right so as I mentioned before, this one is great. You can feel all the middleagey people and culture. I love all the scenes in taverns or at festivals, when they dance, drink and sing. You feel the warmth and freedom of those people. If you're a person that likes middleagey stuff, you will enjoy this sky high. It's a perfectly executed vibe, which will just suck you as you go through the cities, roads, woods and ports.
Personally I like it. Buildings and cities are pretty, the landscape shows how this world is open. The forest and mountains will make you hold your breath.
Everyone loves Horo, the main character, the tailed one. Her model is beatutiful and Im not surprised people love her. Overall the artstyle is quite nice.
But sometimes you can see halfassed animations or drawings, and it's a pity, this anime would have been almost perfect if not for this.
Well they had to compose music that would be cooperative with the theme. So yeah you can hear a lot of instruments that poeple of the age would use. And it's pretty good. It fits the whole thing, and basically is nicely done.
BUT I do reckon that openings are masterpieces, in the terms of music and animation the put up for both of them (we've got two seasons that's why). Both of them are in japanese, sang by a woman. I listen to them on a daily basis, can't get enough.
I just love the story line it is one of my dearest, when I think about it I get goose bumps.
Maybe you can't really put yourself in the situation of protagonists, but when you try to do it, or just think about it, it gets you. You get, you just know how sad it is and how tragic, the whole story (even though you will laugh, and smile a lot) is.
A love that can't exist and you can do nothing about it. The problem of mortality and immortality. Which is better?
When you look at them, you'll see the suffering, the blockades they want to put up, to not hurt each other or themselves.
It's a sad story packed in a nice setting with jokes around. You have to read into it. And when you understand it, you will be blown away.
I reckon that in the romance department, it's one of the best animes. It shows the true meaning of "I love that person, but I want her to live a better life".
But on the other side you get a great adventure, of a tradesman and his companion, trying to live a good life. Which is amazing, with all the detail presented.
It's a great expierince for a person that can read thorugh the lines, and loves middleages. Just like me, I was blown away.
A very interesting romance story about a merchant and a pagan wolf god . the story shows alot about how people would do anything for money but they forget what is really important as humans . The wolf god also known as the god of harvest and the merchant karft lawrence traveled learned alot and also found love and kindness which is important in our daily lives where everyone thinks about profit and money nobody thinks about others and nobody does anything to do with kindness .Overall the story is outstandingly original the art was beautiful how they placed alot of places town the scenery
all very beautifully done the music aint bad expecially the first season and the characters are so cute and fun and i love the way how the character grows more matured with its episode slowly becoming better and better person. So i totally enjoyed the episode and it is a beautiful romance anime which i would definitely rewatch over and over again and it is a beautiful anime that deserves 5 starts and another season not alot of fan service but a very beautiful and rich story