Posted by psgels on 27 March 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews


For the past few days, I’ve been in the strange mood to compare animation-companies. Don’t ask me why, I’m not sure myself. In any case, Spice and Wolf (or Ookami to Koshinryou) has been produced by Imagin, whose only previous work basically consisted out of a bunch of notoriously bad fanservice-series (Hit wo Nerae, Cosprayers, Love Love?), so no, I can’t really say that I was anticipating this release. Turns out that you can teach an old dog new tricks. Or in this case: an old wolf.

Even though it may not look like it, Spice and Wolf is what you’d call a smart and down-to-earth series. The two main characters are surprisingly deep for only thirteen episodes. Their motivations are well-motivated, much more than what you’d see in usual anime, and they have a lot of different and complex sides. They both start to travel together, in a setting reminiscent of medieval Europe, though this isn’t a story about knights at all, it’s about merchants.

And this series really makes use of this, by showing us the ins and outs of the life of a merchant, while both Lawrence and Horo (the two main characters) provide critical commentary and analysis to the things that they run into. The dialogue is of a really high-quality, and it’s no wonder that the light novel that this series was based on won an award. This becomes especially apparent when the major female side-character gets introduced: I was really convinced that the show would turn into a cheesy love-triangle at one point, but it’s the opposite! Her appearance and use in the story is carefully explained, as well the relation that she has between Lawrence and Horo.

As for the bad points for this series – if you plan to watch this, you really have to be interested in merchants. Otherwise it’ll just bore the heck out of you. Aside from the side-character mentioned above, the other characters in this series also pale in comparison to the main cast. Sure, their motivations are explained well enough, but it feels like they could have been used and fleshed out much better than this series did.

The highlight of this series is definitely the final three episodes, where everything comes together like a charm. In one word, these episodes are fascinating, and close off the series without leaving a bad taste whatsoever, and still leaving space open for a possible continuation. The first arc may feel a bit lacking, but this is still another great series from the past winter-season.

6 Responses

  1. trellisaze says:

    I loved this series. The main characters were great. The ending was great. It’s great that an animation studio like Imagin could honor the source material whereas other studios would’ve dumbed down the story. ….If only Claymore could’ve had such a satisfying ending.

  2. Papilo says:

    I agree with trelisaze. How they come with a great history about merchants? Surely amazing. Also, you can learn stuffs with Spice and Wolf, such as the Coin System. I hope for a continuation, I want to know how the story ends.

  3. ryvrdrgn14 says:

    Another example of how, just sometimes, people get things done right. ^_^

  4. Aki says:

    Amazing series. Possibly one of the best seasons of 2008. A must-see for fans.

  5. Sammi-San says:

    Ok, Im probably ganna get some shi* for this but I just wanna say it to some of the fans of Spice and Wolf. Has it occured to anyone that Wolf is not a wolf? None of the features match up, the tail is mutch to bushy and the ears much to pointed. Even the coleration is wayyyy off. Shes more of a fox than anything.It frustrates me that the wolf would be pushed in with an animal such as the fox, but other than that minor annoyance I will say that Spice and Wolf is a good series with intreiging charectores and a nice plot.

  6. Topaz says:

    @Sammi-San, I am a fan of Spice and Wolf, and that was what I was thinking about the entire time “this wolf looks like a fox.” Aside from that, I really liked this series, especially how it makes you think with all the different trades the merchants do.

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  • Emma
    (Monday, Dec 22. 2014 06:47 AM)
    Though Aidan this is your chance to throw up a full review as a blog post that isn’t for an ongoing series.
  • Emma
    (Monday, Dec 22. 2014 06:37 AM)
    Wait, ha I’ve figured it out, most of his work I couldn’t give a toss enough to get immersed in the plots either. Though yes I got immersed in Saya, which really goes to show that if a story is good enough to me I should be able to be fairer and not be too hard on the characterization.
  • Emma
    (Monday, Dec 22. 2014 06:32 AM)
    Even though his works alienate me with their poor characterization, still still I was able to not care about that issue in Kikokugai and Saya no uta.
  • Emma
    (Monday, Dec 22. 2014 06:24 AM)
    I forgot to say also a few pages back it needed more action scenes also. I could honestly see myself getting distracted from the thinness of it if there were more.
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Dec 22. 2014 06:24 AM)
    I wasn’t tying Gargania and Aldnoah. Hell Gargania was a step in the right direction for characters. Problem was that Gen only gave an outline. It Gen can’t write characters then he should leave them to other people and just handle story structure and the plot. It worked pretty damn well for Fate/zero.
  • Emma
    (Monday, Dec 22. 2014 06:21 AM)
    But I’ve got a feeling Juno might not be so bothered by psycho pass 2 I do recall him saying before it aired he gave off the suggestion wasn’t going to come down hard on Tow.
  • Emma
    (Monday, Dec 22. 2014 06:20 AM)
    *I’d
  • Emma
    (Monday, Dec 22. 2014 06:20 AM)
    I really wish Juno was here, really would right now because I’ love to see him argue for psycho pass 2 and Expelled from paradise.
  • Emma
    (Monday, Dec 22. 2014 06:19 AM)
    I can’t really tie stuff like Gargantia and Aldnoah, even psycho pass 2 much up to Gen he wasn’t heavily involved enough.
  • Emma
    (Monday, Dec 22. 2014 06:18 AM)
    I saw potential before I watched it I did with the actual setup.

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