The story of Spice and Wolf follows a traveling merchant named Kraft Lawrence. One day he visits a town in the middle of their harvest festival and learns that the festival is to honor the god of harvests Holo who is a local god. Anymore, however, it is done more in jest than respect as the townspeople are slowly converting to what is basically the shows version of Christianity. One night after getting some fresh air Lawrence walks back to his cart and finds a naked woman in it!! The only thing is that this woman has a tail and wolf ears. Lawrence soon finds out that he has just met the actual Holo. Holo asks Lawrence to take her to her original town in the far north of the country. Lawrence hesitantly agrees and the two set off on a journey. Along the way they experience many things and have some hardships as well as some great times. Over time the two grow very close and begin to develop feelings for each other although they never really come out and confess them until the final episode when Lawrence finally admits his feelings and Holo returns the sentiment in a round about way. Spice and Wolf is a romance show that leaves you with a very good feeling in the end and I found myself with a smile on my face through most of the show. Now just because it’s a romance doesn’t mean that it’s short on action. The action, however, doesn’t come in your typical sense. Since the show is based heavily in economics the show’s action comes from schemes that could leave Lawrence bankrupt or just flat out killed. They also come from times when Holo must transform herself into her “true form” which is that of a giant wolf to defend Lawrence but that happens only a few times. The biggest conflict comes when a sort of business and romantic rival enters for Lawrence. This young upstart makes a deal with Lawrence in which Holo must decide who she wants to be with. This lasts a couple episodes but they were so tense that I thought my hair would turn gray. That being said though, I found that through most of the episodes Spice and Wolf had a calming effect on me and I think that it was because of the way the story was laid out and it was executed to perfection. Spice and Wolf has 2 seasons totaling 25 episodes and also has 2 OVAs.
Lawrence and Holo are the perfect type of characters for this type of show to work. Lawrence is a kind hearted merchant who thinks of others before himself. He also has a sharp wit and good business sense although he can be very dim in terms of, shall we say, feminine charm. Holo is very smart and she knows it; often referring to herself as “Holo the Wise Wolf”. She likes to make fun of people that she feels are not as smart as her but is also very kind and cherishes her companion. She likes to make fun of Lawrence and pick on him because of his lack of female guise and will sometimes tease him in an almost seductive manner. Also her love of apples for some reason just makes her adorable and makes for some really funny scenes in the show. This blueprint for these two characters is what makes this show so great. When they pick on each other you laugh, when they fight you want them to make up, and when they have a nice moment together you smile. Lawrence and Holo are characters that are very easy to get invested in (sorry for the economics pun). You find yourself wanting them to never be off screen together and they just overall mesh well. If you go back to high school or college, what have you, and you imagine the couple that everyone thought should be together; well that’s Holo and Lawrence. What I also love about this show is that it’s not afraid to expose it’s characters. Throughout the show Holo will act proud and tough but when she shuts the door and is alone with Lawrence she’ll cry her eyes out in his arms because she’s scared to be alone or she’s worried about him. When these moments happened I found myself wondering if I was looking at the same character I had just seen 5 minutes earlier. The same with Lawrence. When the possibility of losing Holo to another man occurred Lawrence went around town like a mad man trying to find ways to get her back and secure his victory in the challenge. The same guy who always joked about not really caring about anything other than making a profit was willing to bet his entire life investment, pretty much, in order to get Holo back and I think that it is in these moments that really show the high quality of character development that Spice and Wolf has.
The soundtrack to Spice and Wolf fit this show well. All the song’s lyrics had a romantic theme which you would expect from a romance show. The music part of the soundtrack was, much like the show itself, calming for some reason. The nice soft female vocals in each of the opening songs were blended very well with the subtle, soft tunes playing in the background. The ending songs were a little peppy but the still had romantic lyrics and fit the show well. I’ll be honest I didn’t really enjoy the soundtrack to Spice and Wolf all that much but then again it didn’t have the type of music I listen to either. Just because I didn’t like it doesn’t mean I think it was a bad soundtrack though. I think the soundtrack was great for the show and really set the mood for what the show was about and what they wanted you to feel about the show.
Visually Spice and Wolf blew me away! The animation was off the charts. It was very well done. The colors used were magnificent and really brought the show to life. The lighting was pulled off tremendously and everything just looked amazing. This show is supposed to be a beautifully set story in a medieval looking era so it needs to look the part and boy did Spice and Wolf look the part. I can’t find a single complaint about the shows visuals and if you can it’s probably because you were trying to find a fault with it and not enjoying the amazing work of art in front of you.
Let me just say that as soon as I found out who the voice actors were for Lawrence and Holo I knew I was going to like this show. J.Michael Tatum voices Lawrence and Brina Palencia voices Holo. If you watch English dub anime then you know those names. Two of the biggest voice actors in the business together for this show was bound to make it amazing. For those that aren’t good with names or who don’t watch dubs J.Michael Tatum can be heard as Sebastian in Black Butler and Scar from Fullmetal Alchemist and FMA:Brotherhood as well as many others. Brina Palencia can be heard as Chopper for One Piece, Yuno Gasai in Mirai Nikki, and Touka in Tokyo Ghoul among countless others. The voices matched the personalities of these characters perfectly. From Holo’s teasing to Lawrence’s calm demeanor everything was spot on. This show was too good to not have the best voice actors be in it and I’m glad that they were able to find two of the best to voice these amazing characters.
Overall I loved Spice and Wolf! I think everything was done flawlessly. The story was fantastic and that surprised me because to be honest without looking at the voice cast and other things I didn’t think I would like it. I’m the type to fall asleep during chick flicks and this sounded like a chick flick of anime at first but boy was I wrong. This show is just too good to pass up. You get so interested into the characters that you forget that it’s a romance show. You start to feel like you’re apart of their story and that you have your own role to play in it. Spice and Wolf takes you on a journey that connects the souls of two people bound by fate and their eventual love for each other. Words cannot describe my new found love for Spice and Wolf and I would recommend it to anyone who has an appreciation for stuff other than violent action sequences. I’m giving Spice and Wolf a 10/10!