Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Spice and Wolf

Original release by BSS

Spice and Wolf has one of the ever-so-popular catgirls inside and thus is guaranteed to draw all kinds of fans from the furry fancrowd. The minor detail that it's in fact a wolfgirl can be neglected as well as the pretty fox-tail she has.

So, one would think that the stage is set for either a fantasy might & magic werewolf battle flick or a juicy harem anime. But it ain't so - in fact it's completely different from anything you'd expect.

Maybe you should start by listening to the opening song, a beautiful and melancholical piece which perfectly sums up the mood of the whole anime. This song actually deserves a blog entry of it's own, but I'm a bit lazy right now.

Anyway, back to the topic: The anime.
Horo - the wolf girl - is a kind of god (in the japanese sense of the word) that once wandered south and took up the role of the god of harvest in a small rural community in exchange for a bit of worshipping and a bit of sacrifice (not humans. Just a bit of grain). With the rise of the church (christianity is implied) and the erosion of belief the prospect of spending more time in this area didn't look as attractive to her like it did before. Thus she decided to sneak away hitchhiking with a travelling merchant named Lawrence.

Horo the Wise (as she calls herself) may look like a fifteen year old girl, but behind all her bragging is indeed the experience of centuries, which she occasionally uses to help out Lawrence in his dealings with guild, other merchants and swindlers.

This is actually the part where the anime gets different than what one would expect, because anything not related to the incentive driving the plot - Horo wants to go home - is about trade, currencies used for trading, trading gold, fraud, medieval politics and trade as well as the influence of the church on trade. You get the general idea. In that regard the anime is incredibly detailed - so detailed in fact, that I didn't understand a word of it even though it gets explained in great detail.

The main characters are also detailed and very likable. The star of the show is - of course - Horo the wise, who is wise indeed as well as teasing, manipulative, a bit mischievous and a glutton for apples. She is also completely immodest (which shouldn't surprise anyone since wolves usually don't wear much clothing) and is the cause for giving Lawrence the occasional red ears, which leads us to the next topic:

Sex & Violence: Well, she wears her nakedness like we wear clothes, so it's not really erotic. At least not intentionally. The violence is rare but when it comes, it's the primal violence of a beast unleashed. After all, Horo is a wolf and if she absolutely has to fight she fights without wasting a thought about not harming the enemy. Lawrence is a wimp but he can afford it with a 10 foot wolf guarding his back.

Conclusion: The focus on medieval trade and everything related to it is certainly a new twist, but it's too specialized for my taste to generate more than a passing interest. The characters make up for this completely and the melancholic tone of the budding romance is captivating enough. Add some insights about medieval european life and a decent dose of treachery and action and you have a highly entertaining anime. Recommended !


Anonymous said...

do you have the spice and wolf OST release?

Anonymous said...

Use google, lazy bastard.

DirtyFinger said...

In my personal opinion the OST sucks. It's mostly bad medieval sounding elevator music. Nice background noise, but bad music.

The single rocks, however.

The complete OST can be found here:

Karisu said...

Any chance of releasing episode 7 now that BSS has released it?

DirtyFinger said...

ah, completely forgot to mention the missing seventh episode. :)

apparently it was intentionally left out and broadcaster sometime later. seems to be a filler episode.

sure, i'll release it as soon as possible, along with the rest of the hayate episodes.

Anonymous said...

Please SEED "Spice and Wolf [iphone ready]"!

Been trying to download for WEEKS [literally] but no seeders!!

Thank you!

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