Info:Title: Spice and Wolf
Genre: Feudal Fantasy, Mercantilism, Romance
Year Produced: 2008
Number of Episodes: 13 (1st of 2 seasons)
Run Time: 319 minutes
Available Online: YES (All 13 episodes, on their youtube channel and website, in both sub and dub)
Online Price: $35.99
"A harvest goddess with an untamed beast lurking inside..." is a little misleading, but that's otherwise accurate. True to her heritage, Holo is "untamed," but as her title is Holo the Wise, it has more to do with her being proud and brash, rather than a feral animal.
Lawrence, a traveling merchant searching for profit, finds a naked girl with the ears and tail of a wolf asleep in his cart. Her name is Holo - a harvest goddess with an untamed beast lurking inside who longs to return to her beloved northern home. Armed with his street smarts and her animal instincts, a simple peddler and a forgotten deity begin a journey through the wild countryside. Along their path, the riches of happiness shall be reaped, even as the bankruptcy which dwells in the human heart is exposed.
DiscussionSpice and Wolf "is" slice of life, as much as, say... Kino's Journey is. There's a hint of romance, but this isn't a romantic series, and it definitely isn't action (despite moments of violence.) When you strip away its layers, its just two interesting characters, traveling and adapting to situations. Of course, the fact that one of the two characters is Holo the Wise, literally a harvest goddess in human form, it complicates things. See, Holo watched over a village for countless ages, helping their harvest when possible, but also understanding that in order for 1 harvest to be bountiful, another must be lackluster.
As technology advances, and Christianity spreads, the people grow less and less dependent on their compacts with pagan gods, and Holo finds herself abandoned. Thus, when traveling merchant Lawrence passes through, she offers him a deal. Her wisdom and skills, for her passage home.
That said, beyond Lawrence and Holo, the supporting cast (if you could call them such) provide great depth to the work. Commerce in effect, the characters all cross paths, and make logical decisions about what profits them the most. Partnerships, and even friendships, are only a byproduct of mutual gain. Despite being a complex world where people must rely on others to survive, each truly comes across like a pillars of solitude.
Things you might like
- Deep, rich story telling
- While not episodic, the characters and events tend to have subtle impacts which can be highly rewarding to the viewer
- Highly enjoyable side characters.
- Short length leads for a relatively quick watch
- Its a series about feudal economy!
Second Seasons, Novels, and Manga
Also, the light novels (despite drama over adapted covers) are currently being released in the US by Yen Press. Those deep, subtle nuances had to come from somewhere, and if you're into reading, the light novels that inspired the story are a good place to go.
Recommend it to friends who enjoyed...Kino's Journey
ConclusionSpice and Wolf isn't for everyone. Its not quite a romance, and it lacks a true direction oriented plot. What it does excel in, is characters. Conducting everything through the eyes of "business," the audience sees a cold, yet honest depiction with of complex motivations.