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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  • Bam
    (Friday, Sep 4. 2015 09:28 AM)
    if Eva is so predictable then speculate for me what’s gonna happen in the last rebuild film, and please don’t spare the details:
  • Bam
    (Friday, Sep 4. 2015 09:27 AM)
    And predictable? Who expected the show to end with a mindfuck stream of consciousness episode that only hints at the action off screen and ends with a standing ovation on a stage?
  • Bam
    (Friday, Sep 4. 2015 08:42 AM)
    Evangelion had a plethora of issues. The budget was slim, last minute plot revisions made development a hell. The director Anno became clinically depressed and disinfatuated with the entirety of the industry, and the result was a refreshing unpredictable and glorious mess that moved millions of people.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Sep 4. 2015 08:35 AM)
    @jerkocaust: Eva was mad significant when it aired and remain relevant to this day. You can dislike Eva as much as you want, that doesn’t reduce its place in history or the legacy it left behind. The style influenced the industry and that is a fact way above either of our opinion.
  • Kevin
    (Friday, Sep 4. 2015 08:11 AM)
    Why do you losers keep talking like your opinions matter. Like you all think you’re professional critics or something?
  • jerkocaust
    (Friday, Sep 4. 2015 06:21 AM)
    and its not sure if it wants to be a mecha shonen with the shouty action, tsubdere, kuudere, while it pulls stupid wannabe seinen shit. So you have a story that acts like a 12 year old trying to buy alcohol with an obviously fake ID
  • jerkocaust
    (Friday, Sep 4. 2015 06:13 AM)
    What, when was eva relevant again? Both versions had bad static characters and a story that sounded like a 7th grader wrote it. Predictable at every turn and it thinks its sophisticated enough to half ass some religious symbolisms like it’s some deep story lr something lol what a joke
  • Bam
    (Friday, Sep 4. 2015 05:32 AM)
    [WARNING] incoming Eva rant inbound.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Sep 4. 2015 05:31 AM)
    @Kaiser: welcome to the light.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Friday, Sep 4. 2015 01:58 AM)
    Yes you heard it here, Kaiser admitted to this. Fully watching the films I thought they were alright. And I even liked the direction the third film went and consider it the best thing to happen to the franchise. The plot felt more accessible and easier to follow. It feels more tight and compressed and benefits from animation upgrade. I still think Mari is pretty worthless though and as much as I still hate Asuka and Shinji, their more tolerable here.

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