Genre(s): Romance, Fantasy, Adventure, Economic Thriller
Age-Appropriateness: 15+ (Mild partial nudity, violence, economics)
Platforms: Hulu, Funimation
TheAwersome Rating: 7.3 / 10 (Slight fumble of execution)
Premise: Holo is a powerful wolf deity who is celebrated and revered in the small town of Pasloe for blessing the annual harvest. Yet as years go by and the villagers become more self-sufficient, Holo, who stylizes herself as the “Wise Wolf of Yoitsu,” has been reduced to a mere folk tale. When a traveling merchant named Craft Lawrence stops at Pasloe, Holo offers to become his business partner if he eventually takes her to her northern home of Yoitsu. The savvy trader recognizes Holo’s unusual ability to evaluate a person’s character and accepts her proposition. Now in the possession of both sharp business skills and a charismatic negotiator, Lawrence inches closer to his goal of opening his own shop. However, as Lawrence travels the countryside with Holo in search of economic opportunities, he begins to realize that his aspirations are slowly morphing into something unexpected.
TheAwersome’s Thoughts: There’s something interesting about older anime in that as time passes and dust settles, the ones that we still talk about really don’t look at all like mainstream anime airing currently. Spice and Wolf is no exception, and it was quite refreshing. Our main characters are certainly adults rather than scrappy teens, and the general vibe of the show is much more mature. Mature in approach to dealing with relationships and mature in pacing and dialogue.
Unfortunately, having just about all the arcs be about fun tricky ways to make profit, it can get very wordy and difficult to follow. As such, I only a few times found myself truly excited to watch the next episode.
TLDR: Air of a classic, but lacks drive.
Earlier this year a “New TV Animation Project” for Spice and Wolf was announced. Whether that will be a reboot or an additional season is unknown.
It was refreshing to see something in a fantasy setting (Renaissance era, magic/gods exist, etc.) where the story doesn’t revolve around any huge major conflict. No giant wars, no great battles, none of that. This just happens to be the place where a good slow burn romance takes place. So definite props to that refreshing aspect.
While looking back on it, objectively there isn’t anything other than the wordiness that I’d say “eh, not really for me” but compared to the pace that I watch most other anime (based on number of episodes, date started) then it took me about 40 days longer to finish this than I expected. Considering that I usually can crunch through a 12–13-episode cour in a week or less if it’s particularly engaging, that’s saying something. It’s not that I didn’t like the show, I just never felt compelled to really keep going with it other than in one, maybe two arcs.
So, if you want something gripping, give it a pass. If you want something more relaxed, slower, and really like finding scenarios of stonks rising, give it a try!
You’ll likely enjoy this if you enjoyed: