Finally! I was able to finish watching the first season of Spice and Wolf. After starting to watch it in June, I had a bunch of school work and some other Animu to go through, meaning I had to put S&W on hold. But just last week when I had some time to spare I thought I might as well use it to finish off S&W and watch Strike Witches in the process! (Which I finished as well, review coming up)
This review (and in future Animu/Mango reviews) will consist of 5 categories I’ll basing it upon. The storyline, music, character designs, animation quality and overall (my opinions if you might say…), and it’ll be out of a “_ out of 10” rating. So lets get going~
Set in a fictional historical Europe, the storyline revolves around a travelling merchant in his 20’s who goes by the name of Kraft Lawrence, his hopes and dreams is to open up a little shop in a nice village/town/city, and he already has seven years worth of experience of trading in the industry. In the first episode, after arriving at Pasroe, in his wagon he finds a pagan wolf-deity girl named Horo who is over six hundred years old, but appears to be at the age of 15 also with a wolf’s tail and ears. After the introductions, Lawrence learns that Horo is the goddess of harvest, who has kept the town blessed with good harvests of wheat for many years. But since time has past, the whole Goddess of Harvest business has been dying out, and with the rapidly modern society growing, the town has come to the point where a Goddess is not needed anymore. Despite of having the responsibility to watch over the town, she wants to go back to her homeland in the north, called by the name of Yoitsu, also in the process, she wants also to travel to see how the world has changed while she has stayed in one place for many years. In a nutshell, Lawrence decides to let Horo to follow him in his journeys, and in return, with Horo’s wisdom, helping Lawrence increasing his profits. Throughout the series they both go to many different places, meeting new friends, making relations to big name companies, also many enemies and betrayal pop up here and there. And as the two travel together and occasionally argue, the two slowly fall in love.
The plot here is all well ‘n’ done. Basically an adventure in making some cash (or in this case, gold and coins), meeting some people and solving problems along the way. S&W also has a economical theme to it, take for example for some scenes throughout S&W is mainly just Lawrence and Horo talking about how they did this and how they did that, kind of like what top man businessman do. Just like any other non-episodic anime, the climax and the anti-climax in the remaining few episodes never fails to satisfy me, basically put, Lawrence was in a large amount of debt, the debt was a matter of life and death in this situation, as failing to pay it off before the deadline could mean some cruel punishment for Lawrence was just over the horizon, otherwise his status as a merchant was typically over.
The ending kind of left me puzzled in my opinion, after Lawrence deciding to smuggle gold from another town, just to repay all his debt (?) I don’t really know about that since everything was like all thrown at me in just a matter of minutes. But being a Anime adaption off a series of Light Novels, the plot of the Light Novels will be mos likely more detailed than the anime. Nevertheless, I guess that Lawrence managed to pay off his debt in the end.
Nice going Lawrence!
Overall Rating: 8/10
The background music in S&W seems somewhat original to me, and has this nice historical medieval theme to it. The opening (in my opinion, should have been used in the ending of the last episode) was very fitting to the animation sequence going along with it, and with it sung by Natsumi Kiyoura (who also sung the opening for Sketchbook ~full color’S~) was also a good combo as well with her nice calming low voice.
The ending on the other hand…
Sung by Rocky Chack, best Engrish song ever? Yeah, me too…
Overall Rating: 8/10
The character designs were pretty well done in my opinion, adapting from the original designs from the Light Novels by Ju Ayakura. But it appears to me that the original designs looks more mature than in the Anime…
Comparisons for the manga will be put on hold for now, since I haven’t come across to it yet =P
At first, when I saw Lawrence and learned that he was the main character (alongside Horo), I felt that he didn’t met the standards of being the main character, with his normal grey hair (Grey hair at 25? Or is it silver?) and normal clothes, I was expecting something kind of more original like a trademark hat (lol) but, guessing its set in the old times, I guess everything has to be kept at an average standard…
Horo, on the other hand, was actually pretty original to be precise, besides being a furry (which I’m an anti) there were numerous time when she was in nude form, but wiping out the nipples and covering it up with the failed hair covering censor. Her almost brown brunette hair, her occasional exposed fangs, and her red eyes, never seen any elation to any other character out there. Other than her human form, her other (yet awesome) wolf form, being like a 12 foot high wolf and can cry loudly to a 10 mile radius, was very well put indeed, being an abnormally large sized mammal, it was like the king (or queen) of all wolves, until, the other wolf from the forest showed up of course.
So yeah other than the difference between the Light Novels and the Anime, I still say the original still looks the best. (Also Noora looks hawt =3)
Overall Rating: 9.5/10
The animation, to be brief, looks clean and good quality, I don’t ever recall of being any low qualities or deformations along the way if I believe. Other than that, it has this nice daylight glow during the day which makes everything look golden, and night with this very dark navy tint to make the environment look gloomy, with some white gradients from the looming stars and the moon in the sky. The art for the architecture is very well done, the old buildings and the range of the colour palettes were used very well as well. The transitions weren’t really used very often, other than introducing new appearing characters, which was fine either way.
Overall Rating: 9/10
Being a furry-economical anime, lots of drama than comedy, with a sense of ecchi, S&W was very entertaining to watch, sure there are some bits that I didn’t understand, but the ending climax was what really got me. If you quite enjoyed the anime, then I suggest you go and read either the Light Novels or the Manga, or even both. With an OVA and the currently airing 2nd Season already released, I think I might carry on watching this.
OVERALL RATING: 8/10
Now whether I got the time to carry on watching this is another matter…