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
    (Thursday, May 5. 2016 10:26 AM)
    What do you think?
  • Bam
    (Thursday, May 5. 2016 10:25 AM)
    I met a French art student in a bar tonight, and after getting into Hugo and Notre-Dame de Paris, he suggested a more faithful French theater production of it. He believed that this is a much better portrayal of the conflicted priestly character of Frollo, and specifically offered this Hellfire-esque song sang by the talented Daniel Lavoie as evidence:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5St9zF849o
  • SuperMario
    (Thursday, May 5. 2016 08:22 AM)
    @Kaiser: haha. If this film indeed was made I’ll be the first one on the line to watch it.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Thursday, May 5. 2016 06:32 AM)
    @Mario: This made me laugh far more than it should have: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kno3xDw27bY
  • Bam
    (Thursday, May 5. 2016 06:30 AM)
    Anybody else seen Jungle Book yet?
  • Bam
    (Thursday, May 5. 2016 06:25 AM)
    @Kaiser: I see. Look retro, so I might actually enjoy.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, May 5. 2016 06:24 AM)
    I don’t wanna hyperbolize, so I admit that some of the Disney/Marvel stuff has ingenuity to it. Guardians and even Antman had their moments of disarming charm, and genuine sentiment from the cast and crew, that made it special and not just another superhero flick.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, May 5. 2016 06:22 AM)
    @Aidan: Marvel movies feel like a very nice amusement park ride- they are always fun, but the return diminishes after successive exposure. Everything in the movies, from the fights, to the dialogue, and plot is incredibly formulatic. You just don’t get the same effect when you know what’s coming.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, May 4. 2016 06:05 PM)
    @Bam: Actually let me rephrase
    I meant that you will like: http://letterboxd.com/film/the-company-of-wolves/
    Because it is fairyrale inspired
    Because you liked brotherhood of the wolf and tale of tales.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, May 4. 2016 06:02 PM)
    @Bam: I meant tale of tales =)
    @Mario: My usual ratings are ***/***1/2 rating and ****
    Generally that indicates a film is kind good/good or great.

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