Sep 24, 2009
KaminaKai (All reviews)
*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.