Posted by psgels 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

Leave a Reply

Shoutbox

Name:
Email:
For:  
Mail will not be published
  • SuperMario
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 04:09 PM)
    @Bam: just watched it and yes, I dig it. Quite a lot. Can’t wait to see his new film “Aquarius” (which from what I heard was cutting back from 6 hours raw material)
  • SuperMario
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 12:46 PM)
    @Bam: yeah, that sounds good. I will watch it and tell you how I think (hope my taste is not that weird ^^)
  • SuperMario
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 12:45 PM)
    @Bam: for some weird reasons I prefer Inherent Vice as it as, if the film was better or the plot was tigher I would think Anderson as a more calculated director. This version of Injerent Vice is wild and more crazy that actually make me think more fondly of him.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 12:27 PM)
    @SuperMario: Neighbouring Sounds was great. Judging from what I gathered of your taste, my money’s on you digging it as well.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 12:23 PM)
    @SuperMario: as I said I really liked the tone and the atmosphere and the atmosphere in Inherent Vice, but the overarcing plot is thin and True Dtectige season 2’s level of self-importance. A lot of scenes serve as mere venues for the great actors just cheering the secondary. A.tighter script and a little less directorial indulgence would’ve made it a lot better. Punch-Drunk Love is one such great example.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 12:16 PM)
    @Kaiser: the Master is brilliant, and I liked Boogie Nights, but others have much more love for it than me.
  • SuperMario
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 11:59 AM)
    Btw, in preparation for Cannes, I plan to watch Kleber Mendonça Filho’s previous work Neighbouring Sound. Have any of you watched the movie yet?
  • SuperMario
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 11:31 AM)
    I think P.T Anderson is one of the rare director who doesn’t go wrong with his works. There will be blood and the master as his masterpiece but I do really enjoy the tone of Inherent Vice and Punch drunk love actually keepps getting better for me
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 11:19 AM)
    There was a found footage horror film with a hunter s Thompson inspired character, had a lovecraftian element to, Banshee chapter, utter hokum/nonsense but in an interesting vein.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 11:14 AM)
    Paul Thomas Anderson must be one heck of an director of actors though, given he actually managed to make good use of Adam Sandler…

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Featured Posts

Flying witch – 04

Flying witch again delivers strong material this week and I actually think this is their best episode so far. Mostly because the 2 parts are well connected this week, and our new character Inuka is so natural and fit in like a glove, in addition they have an absurd and whimsical story to boost. I […]

Mayoiga – 05

We now back to the status quo on Mayoiga this week, as the group who left the village decided to come back, and the cliffhanger happened last week was never explained probably. I will say this upfront: this is not a good episode. We don’t learn much after it ends. We have even longer conversations […]

Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress – 03

                There are no brakes on the Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress train even when it goes for a pit stop to pick up some water and say a prayer for the dead. While my fellow writers firmly believe that Koutetsujou no Kabaneri will disintegrate into a trainwreck […]

Bungou Stray Dogs – 04

Bungou Stray Dogs sure never get tired to showcase more new characters every week, and judging from the OP I’m certain that there are more to come. This week there are 3 more new faces and each of them is over the top in their own ways, but that turns out to be for good […]

Joker Game – 04

I am starting to get a little worried about Joker Game. After a very strong start it’s gone down in quality once it revealed it’s episodic format. This episode marks the lowest point of the series so far though I still don’t think of it as bad. Rather than focus on a member of the […]

Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World – 04

Despite nearly dying our protagonist wakes up out of the loop and now in the mansion of a strange clown like fellow with twin maids. The mansion looks to be Emilia’s home and we not look to be in a new time loop as evidenced by the last scene where it appears that Subaru was […]

Kiznaiver – 03

So this episode was an introduction to our new seventh Kiznaiver who looks to be a roguish shut in with a pendent for self harm. Adding a masochist to a group that shares pain is certainly a dilemma but I wonder just how they plan to make use of him in the plot. Considering that […]

Flying witch – 03

Flying witch has another solid episode this week. Flying week’s formula seems to be half of Makoto the witch getting to know an everyday country life, and other half of Makoto’s witchcrafts and meeting people from that magic world. All of these stories take place mostly in a single location as well, this time are […]

Mayoiga – 04

It’s until this week that I just noticed the rather strange part of the OP of Mayoiga, the sequence was shown in the point of view of Masaki. It starts with her, then introducing the cast and finally ends with her standing alone in the lost village. But when I think about that, only in […]

Latest Reviews

Schwarzesmarken – 65/100

Schwarzesmarken is a strange title in that it has a setting with fantastic potential yet the story is dampened by a rushed pacing and Missing characterisation. Despite this there are signs of a greater story under the hood and at times that story can shine despite haphazard adaption. The Stasi make for a great villain […]

Boku dake ga Inai Machi – 85/100

In the large reservoir of anime it is surprising just how few titles focus on the concept of time travel. There are of course titles which feature time travel but few that make it the core focus. So here we have Boku Machi or ERASED, a tale about a mangaka time traveling to his childhood […]

Gangsta. – 58/100

Gangsta is an anime with a lot of things going for it. A mature cast, gritty themes, a interesting setting and a trio of main characters who can carry the show. However due to a number of factors it never quite reached its potential. The main trio of characters are unconventional and quite interesting with […]

Gakkou Gurashi! – 80/100

Gakkou is one with a good facade as promotional material would have you believe it was some dime a dozen moe slice of life. I was one who wasn’t fooled by the cute cuddly exterior but I was truly surprised with just how good this anime ended up being. Gakkou is one of those rare […]

Little Witch Academia The Enchanted Parade – 81/100

I wonder when it was that a film being childish became a flaw. As a medium grows it takes steps to aim to mature itself and seek a more intellectual level of presenting entertainment. Animation did it as Anime aimed to explore terrontry that cartoons refuse to explore and video games only recently broke away […]

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks Review – 85/100

For a long time now this adaption has been the dreams of many a Fate fan with many believing it would never come to pass, but now that it is here is it everything that we dreamed? Short answer to this is no, long answer is nearly. I feel this show will have many divided […]

Shirobako Review – 80/100

When you see a harem anime and sigh as the breasts of the female lead jiggle with every step and wind that can flip a skirt it’s easy to forget that somewhere in Japan a group of people worked hard to get that jiggle right and draw each frame of animation. The hardships of the […]

Clipboard06

Nerawareta Gakuen Review – 84/100

Let me talk a bit about Ryousuke Nakamura. For a long time, this guy was my hero. He started off as an assistant director to Monster, in my opinion a big reason why that series got such a ridiculously solid adaptation, and then in 2008 he came with the groundbreaking Mouryou no Hako. No TV-series […]

Clipboard03

Kick Heart

Okay, so I didn’t want to exit 2013 without having seen Masaaki Yuasa’s Kick Heart. It’s only twelve minutes anyway, and I consider him to be one of the best anime directors out there. The story here is pretty silly and mostly serves as a backdrop, so I mostly want to talk about the nature […]