Spice & Wolf Season Two Review
The liberties that animation brings to creators is limitless, add a little bit of a Japanese influence and it is possible that you might have quite the spectacle. Spice & Wolf is one such series that I am confident could not have worked or would not have been accepted in any other medium other than anime.
Spice and Wolf is set in a Fantasy Celtic European-esque land that is still gripe with taverns, travelling merchants, myths and rich tradition. When asked what Spice and Wolf is all about most of the answers I used to receive would only consist of the word ‘Economics’ or Trade. “Well that sounds rather boring” I would often say to myself after hearing this, fortunately enough there is a whole lot more to this show than ‘boring economics.’ The first season established that the fact that the lifeblood of the series was the interaction between the two lead characters Holo, the half human half wolf goddess of harvest and Lawrence Kraft the ambitious travelling merchant.
Season 2 starts off right were the first season left off and while it is not entirely necessary for anyone new to the series to watch the first season it is very helpful in understanding the stage at which Lawrence and Holo’s relationship is at and what it entails. The travelling duo are still on their way to Yoits, Holo’s’ home town and just like the first season they slowly make their way to their destination with frequent detours into towns along the way, stocking up on both food and other necessities by trading ofcourse. The show plays out like a structured slice of life drama and is quite slow-paced which really suits its subject matter, the romance between the two characters in this season is even more apparent. Both Holo and Kraft have warmed up to each other and are more comfortable conversing, Holo still often teases Kraft and even though he has gotten used to her musings and her childish temper he still encounters some difficulties with her on his journey.
The mature format in which Holo and Kraft converse is extremely rare in modern anime, in fact romance between two older characters is extremely rare as a whole. Spice and Wolf is a sight for sore eyes and is also a brand new refreshing look at a beautiful fantasy setting based on trade. The economics is still present in the show even though it is often in the background, this season has less technobable and allows for casual viewers to really get into the story and the plot twists involving the trade and gambles that Kraft unfortunately finds himsef tangled in.
The use of European Folk music complete with flutes complements the atmosphere of the show perfectly, It is very possible to forget that you are watching a show made and produced in Japan especially if you are watching it dubbed. The dub that Funimation produced for this series was absolutely top notch, a perfect example of how to dub modern anime. Brina Palencia plays Holo superbly and it quite honestly is her best role to date, you can tell she has a lot of fun with the character and so does her counterpart J Micheal Tatum who plays Lawrence Kraft. The Japanese dub was performed by Jun Fukuyama and Ami Koshimizu, the return of the Code Geass Duo which is wonderful to listen to as well.
The only fault I had with Spice & Wolf 2 is that you could really feel the choppy transition that Light novel adaptations get when they are adapted into anime. Some episodes felt like they were either cut short or too long, there was an over arching arc to the entire show but it just was not composed that well. Other than that I find it hard to find fault with this series, it built upon all the good points of the first season and improved on all the bad ones. There is no other form of entertainment out there like Spice and Wolf and even if you are a fan of the Moe elements in the show (which there are plenty),the serious mature romance between the two leads or the in depth discussion on Economics this is something that you will constantly return to for that unique fix that only anime, that only Spice and Wolf can give you.
The extras include the OVA and two extra mini episodes which is decent.
I love this series and hope more anime like this is made in the near future, heck even a third season would be nice I hope Brains Base work on that, I rate this show an 8/10.
Final Verdict: Buy It!! definitely Buy it! You wont find anything out there like this, the only people who don’t like Spice and Wolf are the one who have not seen it yet. I would recommend that you buy the first season as well which just recently got released on glorious Blu Ray.