I think this will be the last summer anime impression post I do. There’s at least one other show I’d write a post up about (GA – Geijutsuka Art Design Class) but the subs have been really slow and I don’t want to wait another month to get enough episodes to be able to do a post. (I’m not complaining, stuff happens, I just don’t want to do a summer impression post when it’s the fall season.) There’s another couple shows I might watch (Princess Lover and Yoku Wakaru Gendai Mahou) if I can find the motivation to do so but there’s already so many shows I’m watching now that I probably won’t.
Moving on, I have not watched the first season of Spice and Wolf, knowing only of it’s reputation in the anime blogosphere. A change in animating studios between season 1 and 2 – Brain’s Base is now in charge – made me want to start watching this series right now so with fingers crossed, I started watching.
Rating: episode 1 – 10/12 A
Rating: episode 2 – 10.5/12 Strong A
Rating: episode 3 – 11/12 A+
Rating: episode 4 – 11/12 A+
Anticipation Level: 4.5/5 – High
Brain’s Base once again proves why they are the kings of the slice-of-life show.
The story presumably picks up where the first season left off and follows the daily tribulations of a traveling merchant, Lawrence, as he tries to eek out a profit in medieval Europe while being accompanied by a pagan wolf goddess, Horo, who has taken a mostly human form. A rather odd pair so I checked some spoilers from the first season and find out that Horo was revered by a small town in return for providing bountiful harvests. Eventually, though, the villagers advance their farming technology to the point that they no longer need Horo and she decides she wants to leave and return to home village up north. Lawrence decides that having a goddess like Horo with him will help his merchant business and agrees to take Horo with him. (And, secretly, I think he’s lonely.)
Maybe it’s a direct result of Brain’s Base involvement but I was surprised how quickly I got sucked into the show – this was completely at odds with all the talk of Spice and Wolf being a boring economics show. There is definitely economics involved but it’s far from boring. Watching episodes from this first story arc left me on the edge of my seat in anticipation as the prices of pyrite fluctuated and what these prices meant to the various characters of the show. Then again, I think any show is at least watchable if it has good characters and Lawrence & Horo are a great pair of characters. They actually share a lot of similarities with Araragi and Senjougahara from Bakemonogatari, at least in their relationship with each other. Though there are differences, Lawrence has quickly learned how to counter Horo and also, since he’s an accomplished merchant, he doesn’t have such an air of being a loser and Horo can be excused if she acts a bit haughty since she is a goddess. It also doesn’t hurt that the show has high production values in animation, music, and voice work.
Another reason why I feel drawn to this show is the rather unique setting in comparison to most other anime. It doesn’t take place in Japan, or in modern times, or involves a school; instead, it’s set in a fairly normal version medieval Europe. Obviously, none of those other settings are bad but, as I’ve said on numerous occasions, it’s nice to have variety in what one watches – if for no other reason that it helps avoid making a person think all anime is the same and thus not worth their time to continue watching.
And as I spend half an hour trying to think of something else to say about this show I remember that it’s much harder to talk at length about a show without glaring negatives then a show that’s full of them. So I’ll close here saying that Spice and Wolf is a wonderful show, with a pair of great main characters and high quality production values. I strongly recommend Spice and Wolf season 2 to those reading this, especially if you enjoy a little spice in your anime watching. 🙂