Posted by : stevodevo
Posted on : 2013-04-16
Worth the journey...
They actually had this anime series at my local library so I'd heard of it many moons ago but I'd never sat down and watched it until now.
My only regret is that I didn't watch this series sooner!
I've just finished watching season 2 so I'm still trying to sort out my emotional reactions but Spice and Wolf is definitely a must watch anime. While it's still just a fantasy, it has many ties to real world concepts in it's presentation and handling of trade and economics. I really felt like I was learning something while I was also enjoying excellent entertainment.
Although there wasn't a ton of action per se, the level of tension throughout the series was quite high which really kept me on the edge of my seat and made it hard to stop watching. And not just situational or external tension, but the relational and emotional tension between Horo and Lawrence was explosive at times also. I wouldn't plant this series firmly in the romantic camp but it definitely became more romantic as the series progressed. What begins as casual flirtation through the first half of the series grows more serious throughout the second season. Personally I would've liked to have seen more initiative on the part of Lawrence in that respect. To me that was a slight detraction in that the ending wasn't completely tied-up and gift wrapped for me but this show is more about the journey than the destination and we're left with the notion that the journey will continue... hopefully into a 3rd season? But if not, this is one of the 'cleverest' series I've watched in a long time.
A few last words and then I'll wrap up. Dialog-wise this series is really, I mean REALLY well done. The banter back and forth between Holo and Lawrence is amazing. So witty and humorous with a lot of sparring going on under the surface. And the VA for Holo really pulls off a masterpiece with her ability to switch personalities on the fly. Sorry but I couldn't get over how kawaii she sounded adding 'ja' to everything!
Finally, the OP and ED for the first season were both great. Perhaps not keepers but I found myself listening through them more often than not.
Overall, Spice and Wolf was a wonderful series for me and I look forward to watching it again!
Posted by : MrSentimental
Posted on : 2010-01-04
I found Holo and Lawrence to be very appealing characters, and they were the main draw here. A pretty unique and entertaining situation between the two. I wanted to know how things would turn out for them.
I did find the plot lacking though. All the focus on "business" was not my cup of tea, and this made for quite a few "just talk" scenes which were not all that entertaining. Holo's change to her "true form" was not over-used, which was a plus. When it did happen, I found the entertainment factor to jump way up there. I did not find any of the other characters in the series to be all that well-developed.
The artwork was great, and helped to give the characters their appeal. The scenery was very well done. The opening/ closing themes and music during the episodes were nothing great.
So, despite there beign times when it seemed that not too much was happening, the two main characters kept my attention throughout, and this made me want to see more. Nothing massively intense or shocking. It seemed perfect for the the teen audience. 8 out of 10 rating. 4 STARS.
Posted by : Terentius
Posted on : 2009-12-08
Spice and Wolf was one of those 2008 shows that I had always wanted to watch due to it's almost old-fashioned premise of two companions on the road. It took much longer than I had expected but I managed to finally get around to watching this intriguing show.
The character design of Horo was one of the better aspects of the show's animation. I enjoyed the drawing of the countryside landscapes and rustic locations. The architecture definitely was derived from European influences and I was impressed with the exteriors of some of the larger town buildings, particularly the merchant houses. The animation style was simple but never appeared "lazy" as though the studio was trying to cut corners by recycling backgrounds. Whatever was animated on-screen, was done so with quality in mind.
As I touched upon in the introduction above, I was piqued by the old-fashioned character-driven story based on a pair of main characters exploring the world around them. The premise of a animal deity making a deal with a travelling merchant and subsequently taking on the form of a woman was indeed one of the more unusual stories I've encountered recently. The story itself was perhaps overly noble and even naïve when regarding the upstanding business ethics practiced by Lawrence and Horo. The world of business portrayed in the world of Spice and Wolf was one that is completely alien to reality. In a "dog eat dog" business reality, Lawrence Kraft would have been everyone's chew toy. Reality aside, it was a light-hearted yet character driven tale that always kept me interested. Which brings me onto the best part of the show…
The dynamism of the pair of Horo and Lawrence Kraft made Spice and Wolf one of the more enjoyable shows I have seen in the past 2 to 3 years. It never bordered on the saccharine with a weak partner blinding tailing a stronger more experienced lead. There was no overriding romance seen (yet) between the two characters that would have detracted from the 'working relationship' of their contract. As a result I was treated to a show that had a well-balanced set of personalities that were neither afraid to either agree/disagree or argue/celebrate with each other in equal measure. I laughed and smiled at the dynamic humour. I grew respectful of Horo's applied wisdom and keen business sense in appealing to the merchant within Lawrence. The set-backs and intermittent failures were handled well through the realistic reactions of the pair. There were no melo-dramatics or over-the-top histrionics from Horo and neither were there any ridiculously elaborate troughs of despair by Lawrence. Their personalities remained sensible and dare I say…realistic.
The OP was a slow whimsical piece that gave me an incomplete impression about the show. It was perhaps too melancholic for an OP, but the very chirpy and buoyant ED concerning apples always brought a smile to my face. Again, Jun Fukuyama (one of my all-time favourite male seiyuu) showed that he can play a wide-ranging number of roles from the eccentric Watanuki from xxxHolic to the cool and calculating LeLouche from Code Geass to the almost mature and subdued Lawrence Kraft. The casting of Ami Koshimizu as Horo couldn't have been bettered by any other seiyuu either and I hope both remain for any further seasons.
It wasn't ever going to be a helter-skelter of an anime with plenty of action or drama. What Spice and Wolf became was a pleasantly paced, dynamic character-driven story that never felt neither stale nor shallow. As individuals, Horo and Lawrence would have almost been 'average' characters elsewhere. Together their dynamic made Spice and Wolf such an entertaining watch. It does have its flaws, such as the overly optimistic business practices and the far from perfect animation (which is actually better than average) but it has more pluses overall. A highly enjoyable 4.5 stars. I can't wait for the second season!
Posted by : ErwinRommel
Posted on : 2009-09-30
Spice and Wolf is quite fun to watch. It does not devolve into gratuitous, mindless violence nor seem too interested in power levels. Except for the awkward title, which probably delayed me from watching the anime, this show will satisfy many people looking for some light comedy and adventure. Highly recommended
The anime is separated into chapters that depend on what city Horo and Kraft Lawrence are currently in. Each of the stories more or less follows the same structure where Kraft gets into trouble in a deal and Horo somehow plays a crucial role in it. It's the money equivalent of Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes where there will always be this mysterious villain just lurking in the shadows. The enemy will always be uncovered and Kraft will be the one to solve it. Compared to other anime, it is smartly written, but Spice and Wolf is not without its own inconsistencies.
For a show that deals mainly in business it seems oddly detached from reality. Everybody is doing great, and there does not appear to be unscrupulous businessmen or women. Even the beggars getting scraps of meat are plump and content. Nor are there any perceivable differences in the cities. There is no real difference between Poloson and Rubenhaigen in terms of design and culture. It really begs the question of whether there are benefits to the plot by having Kraft Lawrence traveling to different cities if they're identical in style.
Lastly, perhaps the most crucial factor in the show is that the two main leads were able to play off of each other quite well. Horo does not fall head over heels at everything Kraft does and vice versa. She also has a sharp wit and doesn't go into stale harem anime dialogues; watch enough harem anime and you'll find yourself predicting their lines before they are even said by the characters.
Spice and Wolf does not elicit any strong reactions like Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann which is outright crazy nor does it bog itself too deeply into the plot like Monster. A bit of both, it is content to be humorous yet complex enough for those who has outgrown harem fan-service comedy. Hence, 8/10
Posted by : Momoko
Posted on : 2009-08-27
One of my favorite animes^^
This anime impresses with its 2 lead characters and the story's uniqueness. The characters are mature and multisided and can't be described with terms like "tsundere" etc. hence their conversations could be a little difficult to understand for younger viewers because you have to interpret them in the right way, but for me it was a welcomed change and very enjoyable. Many of you wrote about the business elements and the relationship between Horo and Lawrence so I wont go further into this. BUT if someone complains that the business stuff doesn't match with reality... well even if I train my body my whole life I won't get as strong as Songoku^^ and I think a layman wouldn't be bothered by it.
One thing that's important is that Spice and Wolf originates from a light novel which currently consists of 12 volumes. The 13 episodes in the anime cover only volume 1 and 2 (I read volume 1-4 so I can tell that the anime sticks closely to the novel which I think is always a good thing). A second season is currently airing which covers volume 3 and 5 and in my opinion the second season surpasses the first. so if you are unsatisfied with the ending of season 1, remember that there is much more about this story out there and hopefully we'll get a third and fourth season^^
By the way Horo's and Lawrence's voice actors are doing a great job.
I can only recommend this show to every anime watcher ^^ unless you need shounen-like action (although Lawrence kicked some bad guy in his balls once)
Posted by : AJtheFourth
Posted on : 2008-11-30
This show is very enjoyable. It's probably not destined to become a classic that you purchase and watch over and over, but it will entertain you fairly well from start to finish.
Animation: The animation in this show is simply drawn, but very pretty. There are no bright colors (the brightest spot in the entire show is Horo's outfit), which gives the entire show an 'older world' feel, almost like looking through a sepia filter. The backgrounds also lend to this feeling by resembling a watercolor painting. I also loved the cute ending theme animation. 8/10
Story: 'Spice and Wolf' could have gone the traditional route of romantic comedies. It could have even become very ecchi had the producers wished it, but they didn't and for that I was very thankful. The emphasis on business dealings was actually refreshing and a different approach to where the story could have gone instead. It was entertaining and held my attention while watching this series. The interaction between Horo and Lawrence comes off as both heartfelt and hilarious. The only qualm I have is that the story isn't all that memorable, and the characters fall just short of entertaining you enough to distract you from this fact. 7/10
Characters: Horo is extremely likable and switches from being an all-knowing deity, to vulnerable young woman, to shrewd businesswoman with ease. I find the idea of an 'honorable businessman' like Lawrence laughable. In fact, if you squint, one could almost extract a social commentary that although businessmen live by an honor code, at the end of the day it's screw or be screwed. (Unless you have a beautiful and intelligent wolf deity by your side, that is.) Despite this, Lawrence is also a likable character who shows more than a few flashes of intelligence throughout the short series. 9/10
Music: The background themes are so-so. They present a very brisk and quaint undertone, but they're not all that great. I liked the opening from the first time I heard it, and it gives a nice serious undertone of loneliness to the story. The ending theme takes some getting used to. The choice to end on a song sung entirely in English caught me off guard; however, it grows on you by the end of the series. As mentioned before, the animation that accompanies the ending is very cute, like storybook illustrations. 9/10
Overall: The only drawback to 'Spice and Wolf' is that it doesn't pack enough punch to make you fall in love with it, or even want to cherish it and rewatch. Still, it's pretty and, similar to its characters, very likable. It holds a lot of potential, and were there to be a second season, I would hope that this show would tap into that potential a bit more. 8/10
Posted by : seefutbow
Posted on : 2008-08-29
I was originally very skeptical about watching Spice and Wolf. I didn't know whether I would enjoy a series about a wolf girl and trading stuff. To my surprise, Spice and Wolf does a decent job of making the characters interesting enough for each episode to be enjoyable.
-The music was my favorite part of the entire series. From the ending song to the chibi style pictures, the ending sequence was very nicely done, though it might just be a little too cute. The opening song in contrast was much more heartfelt, and the opening sequence reflected that with well picked scenes about the the series. The background music was pretty well done throughout the series also.
-The interaction between Horo and Lawrence was also fun to watch. Both characters were just well fleshed out in terms of the way they acted throughout the series. Horo and Lawrence's relationship was fun to watch as it developed throughout the series, from their underlying romantic feelings for one another to their verbal skirmishes.
-The animation was pretty well done. I don't have much to complain about except for Lawrence's character design, which looked awkward to me. Overall very consistent animation.
-The choices for voice actors didn't exactly seem to fit the look or feel of their characters. I had a hard time not thinking of Lelouch whenever Lawrence spoke. Also I didn't feel Ohtsuka Houchu was a good fit for the company head guy either.
-The series doesn't explain what happens at the end! The two were supposed to go on a journey together to the north, but you barely get to see their journey. You don't even find out if they make it there or anything.
-Even though some voices didn't fit too well with their characters, the Spice and Wolf does have a pretty good cast of voice actors. Their voices may not fit, but they are good voice actors.
I enjoyed watching Spice and Wolf for most of the series. I would recommend it if you're looking for something to pass your time pleasantly, but other better series do deserve your attention first. Spice and Wolf is a short, sweet, and somewhat heart warming series.
Posted by : du5k
Posted on : 2008-08-09
Spice and Wolf is unique, as the topic the series focused mostly on is business. The anime adds flavor to the "business" topic with the addition of a wolf-god girl that sticks along with the merchant protagonist, helping with his business here and there on the way. There's also a bit of action midway and at the end of the series, and the developing relationship between Horo and Lawrence with a hint of romance also makes things a little more interesting.
The bad part is, although I've been in some business before, the way they do business in their fictional world seemed very different, with the kingdoms and medieval coins and etc. Hence I find a lot of difficulty fully understanding the way they decide on certain stuff, which results in me finding it difficult to relate to the characters. It's either I'm too inexperienced in a business sense (I don't think so), or the fictional world is being too unrealistic.
The main selling point for me in this show is of course the relationship between the two main characters. I would say its the same for most people enjoying this show. The teasing and mischievous aura created between these two characters is very cute, and it's hard to see this is any other series.
The animation contributed greatly to the enjoyment of this series. For a story set in medieval times, I like how they use stronger colors in contrast with some series of similar setting (Haibane Renmai is one of them). While it wasn't really smooth, the animation was strong enough to be sufficiently enjoyable.
I didn't like the opening theme, I don't understand how it ended up in top 100 in the most recent Anime-Source survey, but the ending theme and the animation was really cute, like a fairy tale mood. It won't end up on my mp3 list though.
An adequately enjoyable production.
Story Style: 8
Posted by : NatureDragon
Posted on : 2008-07-05
The story begins well with the goddess of harvest, Horo, meeting up with Craft Lawrence, a traveling trader. The mission of Craft Lawrence soon changes from setting up a shop and owning a house to helping Horo get back to her homeland in the north called Yoitsu. The plot continues smoothly and was well crafted. If the anime was longer in length, the story would not have seem to end rather abruptly.
Character Development: 9/10
Both the personalities and characteristics of Lawrence and Horo were well developed. However, little of the history of Lawrence was known. Other side characters were given enough time to have certain amount of character development as well.
Character design was pretty good with many different kind of faces and character types. Environment was vivid and smooth. The clothing designs were also nicely drawn. I like the different expressions of Horo.
The opening theme "Tabi no TochÅ« (æ—…ï¿½?ï¿½é€”ä¸)" by Natsumi Kiyoura was a little too slow and monotonous. The ending theme "Ringo Biyori (ãƒªãƒ³ã‚´æ—¥å’Œ)" by Rocky Chack was pleasing to the ears with a cute tune.
Spice and Wolf is rather interesting as it touches on the theme of trading and economy which is rare. It contains good potential for a 2nd season and is worth watching for anyone who like animes which belongs to this genre.
Posted by : slashingkid
Posted on : 2008-06-30
This was a great series.
To me, I found the series fun and interesting the whole time.
There were definitely romance and bit of humor.
I would recommend this to anyone, not only because it kills time, but simply because this anime was just so great.
I hope that second season for this series will come out!
Posted by : kevinchaosvs
Posted on : 2008-06-04
A simple tale of a merchantâ€™s life in the olden days, spiced up by the idea of introducing a wolf girl into the story, though there are hints of themes about how mankind, as they obtain knowledge, forsake nature and the â€œsupernatural forces" which they use to awe others. For example, throughout the series, there is an emphasis on Horo mentioning that she is no longer being worshiped, but is being neglected and forgotten, and the villagers mention that they do not need her help anymore. I wonâ€™t go into details on that, since clearly, that isnâ€™t the main point. The spotlight is the concept of using principles of Economics in the series, and the portrayal of the business aspects (barter, monetary exchanges etc) is considerably realistic and accurate.
There are many who say that Lawrence is gullible, naÃ¯ve, and such. Well, I think that itâ€™s quite unfair for him because he is being compared to Horo who is way more experienced than him (having lived longer than him). Personally, I think that Lawrence is a considerably capable merchant, because he does have quite significant achievements for his age.
On the other hand, I totally agree with the majority that Lawrenceâ€™s character is too normal and bland, too down-to-earth to the point whereby heâ€™s quite boring. Luckily, we have Jun Fukuyamaâ€™s good voice acting to make up for it.
Horo the Wise is, without a doubt, the star of the series, and main scorer of points for the character/development.
Indeed, her quirky personality is what really drives the series. Her personality is really very outstanding, complemented by her many different expressions and actions. I also like her voice (and accent).
The design and animation is rather simple, but they did a good job for the character designs for Horo, particularly when portraying her moods and expressions. Overall, good animation and graphics.
The BGMs, while good, arenâ€™t exactly memorable. Same goes for the OP. The ED however, is really unique: simple tune, cute lyrics with some sort of a fairy tale feel, nicely accompanied by the animation which features the characters in chibi.
I recommend watching this when looking for something light with no heavy or complex plot. The only reason why this series doesn't get a higher rating, is because, well, it really is a very light and easy-going series. It's worth the watch, and is memorable, but won't be leaving a very strong (emotional) impact, since there aren't any very dramatic scenes.
Personal overall rating: 82%
Posted by : Molenir
Posted on : 2008-05-26
Spice and Wolf is an interesting show that starts out strong, and though it stumbles occasionally, manages to be entertaining for pretty much the entire story. However while it was for the most part entertaining, there were some negative aspects to the story, that really dragged the enjoyment level down, at least for me.
The animation was really well done. I don't remember the OP, so it must not have been particularly memorable, but I remember thinking that I enjoyed the ED. And being surprised by this fact, as its not the normal type of music I enjoy. The characters were likewise really well done, Horo in particular. The positive part out of the way, its time to move on to the negative.
Spice and Wolf is a story about a merchant, who encounters a female wolf deity. He sets her free, and then accompanies her on her travels back to her original home. Their travels, their relationship, and the world around them, is generally what this story is about. If this was all, then the plot would be an entertaining and enjoyable slice-of-life type show. However thats not all there was to it. In fact that wasn't even the primary focus of the show.
Instead the show seems to focus in on the business aspects of the the world, dealing with barter, and monetary exchanges. The problem with this, is that Lawrence, the merchant who is one of the 2 main characters, is an idiot. Repeatedly he displays a complete and total lack of knowledge about how these self same systems work, and makes you wonder how if he is a merchant, he has managed to survive on his own all this time. Horo is constantly having to save his sorry butt in order for them to continue.
Because of this, despite the great ED, despite the great animation. Despite the otherwise fun story, the fact that it focuses so much on how stupid Lawrence is, really brought down the level of enjoyment. Partially because of the believability aspect. I mean set aside the whole wolf deity thing. A merchant, who has been a merchant for years, falling for absolutely stupid schemes like Lawrence does. Its just too hard to believe. A lot of people seemed to love this show because it showed off a "real economy". This however is simply not the case, as anyone who has ever actually studied economics knows.
I can't really recommend this show because of the problems I mentioned, though I give it a decent rating because of Horo, and the ED. Watch it if you have some extra time, just try to hold your nose whenever Lawrence does business, or explains how to do business. He's an idiot whose explanations bear no resemblance to reality.
Posted by : GreyCloak
Posted on : 2008-05-01
This is the adventure of Horo (a wolf deity of harvest) and Lawrence (a traveling merchant) as they travel home to the land where Horo came from.
I like the anime due to its witty conversations and its intertwined plot with the mercantile business. It is full of insights pertaining to the merchant world and is quite informative.
I enjoy introduction scenes, for I usually try to set the mood with the first episode. The introduction of the characters was quite good. We have a scene where Lawrence was showed strict inner discipline even though it was tempting. Horo's introduction was simply stunning.
Plotwise, it was flowing and didn't linger. I like the chemistry between the two and their personality quirks were funny. Although sometimes I am disappointed with Lawrence, for he has the mindset of a monk! Imagine not giving in to desires and such. It makes the mind boggle! As for Horo, well, she is the epitome of "Strong-willed Woman". Its quite adorable in a way. I did fall in love with her... especially those red beautiful eyes.
Their romance is slow and steady, with both sides showing some apprehension. The air of loneliness is beautiful. And the scenes gave some heart-wrenching tugs.
As for the bgm, it was so-so but the opening song is memorable and the ending song appropriate.
I do recommend Spice and Wolf for the rainy days. It is exquisite. I am really hoping that another season is in the making.
Posted by : jayou521
Posted on : 2008-04-22
Spice and Wolf is a great anime series.
There are a few things that make it great:
- The interaction between the two main characters, Lawrence and Horo
- The focus on the economics side of society
Lawrence and Horo are a great match for one another. There are some highly entertaining scenes between them ^_^ I cannot think of any other anime character that comes close to being anything like Horo, personality wise. She is a wolf god in human form, who has a love for apples. Horo really is adorable, with her tail and wolf ears. I think everyone would have a hard time not liking her.
She is also known as Horo the Wise! With her great intuition, she can tell when people are lying most of the time. This is a part of why the economic aspect of the series is so enjoyable, whereas I thought I would be bored by all the technical talk. It really was not too hard to follow.
The music wasn't all that memorable, except for both the opening and ending songs. I do remember the music fitting the setting of the series. The way it ends suggests that there will be a second season airing sometime in the future. This will not be the last we see from Horo the Wise!
This is a great watch for people who like smart insightful anime and romantic comedies, as Spice and Wolf is able to bring those two together in a good way. A great anime series 9/10
Posted by : Yuun
Posted on : 2008-04-22
This anime is quite unique of its own as it tells the tale of merchant life, barter system and sets in the olden days which are quite refreshing. Focusing in economic prospects, set this anime different from others that concern more on adventure and actions.
Focusing only to 2 main lead characters give this series a good opportunity develop the characters properly. Also the slow pace of story insert with certain degree of actions and mind play gives these average anime slightly better impressions. I do find Horo interesting but â€˜tsundereâ€™ type of girl is quite common these days, and if she is a fox then you find plenty of similarities in other series such as the later Wagaya no Oinari-sama.
The thrill doesnâ€™t last long and doesnâ€™t give strong impression to me, although I find Lawrance (Male Lead) is very down to earth but sometimes being too normal maybe boring as well. The music was pretty unique but not particularly memorable as I found it quite irrelevant with the series. In conclusion I feel that this series doesnâ€™t suits me and my taste however, if thereâ€™s second season Iâ€™ll still watch it.
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