Spice and Wolf is a story of a traveling peddler, Kraft Lawrence, and a deity named Holo, The Wise Wolf. Holo has been living in the wheat field of a small town, Pasloe. In turn for allowing her to live in the wheat fields and worshiping her, Holo has promised to help the people have fruitful harvests. The story takes place in a pre-industrial world where organized religion is blooming and thus making changes to the current society. The set up is reminiscent of what happened with Catholicism in medieval Europe. As more of the villages began believing in the more organized religion, they leave their beliefs in the old gods behind them. This led the people of Pasloe to stop relying on Holo for their harvests, although they were perfectly happy maintaining the festival in her honor in order to have a nice party. Having no real meaning for her life in the wheat fields she decides to hitch a ride out along side Lawrence, but she must make sure she takes a little piece of the wheat with her. Reluctantly, Lawrence decides to allow Holo to accompany him on his travels. Holo and Lawrence work in the trading industry, which is also being slowly taken over by religious leaders. By working side-by-side they strive to create profitable trading deals while fostering a burgeoning relationship.
Spice and Wolf based on the light novels by Isuna Hasekura is a smart, beautiful, and unique piece of art both visually and through the story telling. You can see the quality work that was put into the animation. The colors are realistic, with clothing being colorful yet muted harkening to a time when cloth was hand dyed and bright colors would have been more expensive. The animation of the towns and country-sides are also realistic in color and design.
Spice and Wolf is different from many other animes available and will give you a whole new way to watch and enjoy the art form. Whether you decide your favorite part is trying to figure out how Lawrence and Holo will make the best trade, the relationships fostered and cut throughout, or enjoying the beautiful animation, you will not be disappointed.
Season One of Spice and Wolf focuses mainly on the ins and outs of being a traveling merchant, trading deals, and character development. Much of the conflict is centered on the trading deals the two get themselves mixed up in. At first this seems a little overwhelming in the fact that the character of Lawrence is throwing abundant information out, through his dialogue with Holo, who is learning about the merchant trade in this world along with us. This can be hard to follow at times. This feeling does not last. Soon you will find yourself caught up in the inner workings of the trading deals and waiting to see how they will work for Lawrence and Holo. Along the way, the two characters become more and more fond of each other’s company and begin forming a bond.
While Season One is fun, Season Two of Spice and Wolf is fantastic. We spent the time learning about trading and watching the two characters build a relationship and now we get to see what happens when the relationship takes center stage. The beginning of the season starts with the characters doing less traveling due to illness, future plan making, and strange contract deals with a young merchant named, Fermi Amati. The early change in focus does not take away from the trading deals, but adds a heightened sense of intensity as the characters now have more at stake than just money. You feel as though you get to know the characters of Lawrence and Holo more and more as the minutes tick by and at the end of the episode you will be glad you can hit the next button.
The blu-ray/DVD combo includes all 26 episodes on four DVD’s or four Blu-ray discs. There is also a special features blu-ray discs that includes; “’Studying’ with Holo”, “Stretching with Holo, Yoitz style”, textless songs, and trailers.