Posted on 24 September 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews



The first season of Ookami to Koushinryou, or Spice and Wolf, came from absolutely nowhere. It had the worst possible staff you can imagine (outside of the team that’s been animating Ikkitousen and Queen’s Blade, perhaps) and yet it came and delivered an incredibly solid series about merchants during the medieval times. Its second season takes this formula, and only improves on it.

It may seem like a given, but sequels don’t always surpass their original. This however is far from the case in Spice and Wolf. The second season is overall a lot darker than its predecessor, and it really made use of the fact that the characters have already got a season’s worth of development in them. It consists out of two big arcs, each in which Lawrence is trying to strike a very, very risky deal. They’re all very intelligent and well-fleshed out, full of surprises and with a very good conclusion.

You can really see that this is a series that’s based on a light novel series, rather than a manga. Just like the first season, the dialogue is deep and meaningful, and you really have to pay attention to keep following it. Horo and Lawrence love teasing each other with smart and witty remarks, and together they develop into quite a memorable couple. There are some great romantic scenes during the quiet parts in this series, that really gets the best out of both of them.

For the second season, the animation has been taken over by Brains Base, and if you pay attention then you can really see that the graphics have also gotten an upgrade, especially the background art looks gorgeous because of it. Overall, the second season is a bit less whimsical than the first one, but it makes up for it by a couple of well built-up and written arcs.

Storytelling: 9/10
Characters: 9/10
Production-Values: 8/10
Setting: 9/10

20 Responses

  1. Voiced says:

    Best anime ever.

  2. Mike says:

    I love Spice and Wolf, especially the novels…

    Which is why I’m still raging about how they cut out novel #4 completely in this season ;_;

  3. m says:

    I really liked both seasons, and I have been meaning to dig into the novels under the assumption that they are even better. I also hope that the disc sales will encourage them to continue with another season.

    If I have any gripe with the show, it’s the tendency for characters explain their strategies to each other even when doing so makes no sense. Otherwise it’s pretty interesting, and the interplay between Lawrence and Horo is really fun.

  4. Perrin4869 says:

    What a wonderful second arc this season had! The last episode was fantastic. I’m so curious to know what happens next!!!

    On another note though, I don’t think I quite got what was Lawrence’s scheme in the first arc. What was the purpose the deal with Amarti in the 4th episode? I’d be glad if someone clarified that for me!

  5. Matt says:

    The on word that comes to mind is, “Magical” thats what this anime has.. Alot of anime’s try to create superficial suspense through shallow means. Not this anime, the characters are so enjoyable that when you are brought into there world and feel for them.

    I hope there is more, one of my favorite Anime’s in a long time..

  6. Frost says:

    Meh you could have given it a 90, its well deserved… Spice & Wolf is one of the few animes out there that avoids most cliches and does its own thing, and its great at it

    And watching the developing relationship between lawrence and horo is soooo worth it

    The bad part is the ending was too perfect and there probably wont be a 3rd season… meh!

  7. Omurqi says:

    Ofcourse there will be a third! First and foremost, the anime is awesome and has a large fanbase. Second of all, they ended in the middle of an arc!

    Anyhow, fantastic final episode of one of my favorite series! I’ll be waiting for the third season.

  8. Kanao says:

    Only show I’ve enjoyed every episode as much as Bakemonogatari this season. I personally feel that the second season was better than the first in every conceivable manner.

    On another note, I just watched ten episodes of Gankutsuou and it easily makes it into the ‘most awesome anime ever’ list. I’ll likely finish it today but I thought about searching it on your blog. How come you’ve made passing mention and yet you haven’t written a review? And can you or anyone recommend similar shows?

  9. Anon says:

    I’m a couple episodes behind. I don’t have much motivation to continue. This season has been really dull and drawn out.

  10. Houlgrave says:

    It’s only dull if you have ADD kid.

    Gotta say, Spice & Wolf II is the best show that aired this season IMO, if for nothing else than watching Lawrence’s growth as a character. It’s always nice to have a main male lead that doesn’t feel contrived!

    On another note, I’m fairly sure a third season will be coming at some point.

  11. PL says:

    I wish you had blogged both seasons of this show, I think it is one of the most solid stories I’ve seen told in this medium. Nothing ever felt contrived, except as one of the posters above mentioned, sometimes when Lawrence was explaining some aspect of mercantilism, but that was always so fascinating I didn’t care. I’ve never cared about a romantic relationship in anime as much as I did Lawrence and Horo’s. Every time it looked like they were going to lose each other I felt the same emotional impact I used to feel as a kid when one of my puppy love relationships was ending, that queasy, empty dull ache that accompanies heartbreak. While there are other shows I’ve enjoyed watching more, there are few that made me feel as strongly as this one.

  12. specracer says:

    I’ll wait for the third season. The ending was so an opening for a third season.

  13. Reltair says:

    The witty banter between Horo and Lawrence is what makes Spicey Wolf shine. The ending definitely doesn’t resolve standing issues. Here’s to a third season!

  14. WatcherZero says:

    To the person above asking what the point of the deal is with Amarati, Lawrence was taking Horo for granted and she was trying to prove to him that he didnt own her but she did want to be with him.

  15. BashZeStampeedo says:

    I disagree that this ending was perfect. There is too much still going on, and even the core romance in the story feels more tenuous than it did in the first season’s ending.

    I’d say this season is as good as the first one overall, and agree with this reviewer. The obvious flaws in pacing and animation are made up for by the story focusing more on the “meat” of the story; the romance. In the end it saves itself by doing that.

    The characters also develop quite well, though the focus is mostly on Lawrence. His growth is very impressive, and the sacrifices he makes are quite touching. Horo’s growth shows just how fragile, selfish, proud and damaged she really is.. which is a nice touch that could have easily been made trite and unrealistic if they went too far against her core character.

    So after season two, the main characters are no longer “boring merchant Lawrence who is always saved by sassy wolf-goddess Horo”.. they are now characters you will want to invest your time and emotions into. Lawrence has proven himself a worth character, and Horo has proven that she really is a character of her own and not a stereotype. A good effort for a production that’s obviously got almost no budget :S

  16. Shiro, Long Tail's says:

    You mentioned that the second season builds off the first season’s character development. How detrimental would it be to watch the second season if you hadn’t finished the first but are informed of it’s plot?

  17. BashZeStampeedo says:

    @Shiro

    I would not recommend watching just the second season. There is a lot of character development and series-establishing material that honestly gives the second season a lot more impact.

    The first season is well worth the watch so you get used to how the main characters interact. The second season takes those interactions and really runs with them, so it might lose you completely.

  18. Peter says:

    What are you guys saying, perfect ending?! Did you see the kiss? It was so … i dont know unclimatic and dull . Really season1>season2

  19. deaky says:

    Just finished this one, and I feel TERRIBLE for prioritizing that obnoxious Bakemonogatari instead of this. S&W is leagues beyond it, and is now one of the very few franchises I actually want to see continued.

    I actually watched this season three times, because none of the fansubbers did it justice (not their fault), and because it plays with perspectives masterfully. We get Lawrence’s self-deprecative perspective, but it’s always clear that behind-the-scenes there’s a slightly different story taking place.

    It’s a real brain-buster if you aren’t paying attention and don’t realize that the two of them are trying to avoid falling for each other, because they think they’ll part ways soon at Yoitsu.

    @WatcherZero

    That’s not quite true. It was never about him “owning” her or anything like that. Even after she deflated his ego for “liking her when she was weak” she even admitted that she liked to see HIM feeling defeated just as much. She’s actually afraid of him falling in love with her, after all.

    Horo was at just upset that Lawrence left her alone with Amati to “do business”, and then had the gall to send Amati to do his job. But she wasn’t really very upset. She clearly conned Amati, so that Lawrence would be forced to lavish her with attention, and see the error of his ways (and earn him some silver so he’d not have to “do business” as much the next time).

    @Perrin4869

    In episode 4, Lawrence finally gets up the courage to confront Horo, but sees a marriage certificate waiting for him, along with evidence that Amati is about to “win”. This was a totally boneheaded and unnecessary move from Horo, since if he was already at the inn it’s because he was going to meet her.. no need to get him more angry.

    He gets angry alright, but he thinks it’s Horo telling him that he has to win her back. This kicks his brain into mad-merchant overdrive and he finally figures out how to crash the market for pyrite.

    You see, he needs cold, hard cash to buy enough pyrite to crash it’s market value. But he doesn’t have nearly enough, so what to do? He masterfully cons Amati to get 500 silver to buy that Pyrite.

    Remember that “right now”, 500 silver of pyrite may be only be worth say 3 pieces of Pyrite. So Lawrence will have to give him 3 pieces of pyrite tomorrow as per the contract. Since it will be worth even more then, Amati’s confused.

    He is riled up into thinking that Lawrence is merely challenging him to earn ANOTHER 500 silver of pyrite to get the 1000 he needs to win Holo tomorrow. Because he thinks Lawrence is treating him like an idiot, he treats Lawrence like an idiot in turn. Lawrence of course is shitting bricks the whole time, thinking Amati will figure it out.. but he doesn’t.

    That’s why Lawrence is “safe”.. Lawrence is using Amati’s own money to crash the market. Because tomorrow, the 3 pieces of pyrite will be worthless, and so giving them to Amati won’t cost him anything. Of course, there are complications, like Lawrence not actually having any sources to buy the Pyrite from.

    Hope that answers your question, just a little late :)

  20. blaze says:

    i saw the second season on animefreak it was good but i also hated it becuase ofall the heart break that holo and lawrence go thru

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    (Wednesday, Aug 20. 2014 08:33 AM)
    @Vincent I don’t think so. They deserve solitary confinement for the rest of their lives.
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    This looks like a job for Anonymous. They’ve been quiet for a while, so maybe not.
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