spice and wolf, best clothes and wolf

Wolf is amazing.


Spice and Wolf is one of the few series that I am looking forward to this winter season, and from what little I know of this series, it seems to be a well-crafted, well-written tale. And that has me monumentally worried. Right now, because light novel to anime translations are still touching the surface, the good light novels are the ones culled for harvest. The failure or success of the anime depends on the execution of the studio, plain and simple.

(Manga, on the other hand, has been pretty well-harvested, so even dregs have a chance at becoming anime.)

I know Haruhi Suzumiya and Full Metal Panic are in good hands. I know Zero no Tsukaima isn’t in good hands. I don’t know about Spice and Wolf, but I’m worried. The production team’s and the director’s last major project was the Love Love / Cosprayers / Smash Hit abomination. Honestly, I don’t think abomination is strong enough of a word to describe that trilogy. Now, with Doumu turning around 180 degrees from Crescent Love to Minami-ke, I can believe that Imagin could turn around from Love Love to Spice and Wolf. Nay, I have to believe it.

This first episode explains the merchant Lawrence’s fated meeting with the wolf spirit Horo, and it introduces an anime exclusive character, Lawrence’s apprentice, Chloe. “Anime exclusive character” sounds a lot better than “Why the hell are they fucking around with the plot? The original wasn’t good enough?”, doesn’t it?

Let’s get down to it… and I’m just ecstatic that I can break out my old market gimmick from the SOS Brigade Awesomeness Index again.

Market Report and Wolf


UP Horo… I’m liking Horo… playful, confident, shame-proof, quick tongue… she’s like an antithesis of Mikuru. For anime Spice and Wolf to be good, Horo’s really gotta develop into a top tier female protagonist. Lawrence sure isn’t going to be carrying the series. If she turns into someone of Konata’s or C.C.’s caliber, this show is sunk.


DOWN Animation… I have two complaints. The first is that the animation is about a standard deviation below average to average. It needs to be better. The number of key frames, the small details, it’s just not there… and I expected no different from a less capable studio like Imagin. My second complaint is that we just got too many nipple-less Horo scenes. I kinda like the way the manga approached the massive amounts of nakkidness with Horo having longer hair that she uses to tease and hide her body (as well as using the various fur pelts) more than the anime where Horo just runs around without nipples. Dammit, twenty-four minutes in, and I’m already having “Hey, if Doumu isn’t busy…” thoughts.

(Out of curiosity, does the episode title refer to the nakkidness as the best clothes, or does it mean Lawrence’s stash as the best clothes?)

EVEN Code Geass… we get not one, not two, but three major players from the Code Geass cast. Ami Koshimizu fits really well as Horo, and I tried to think of someone who would fit better. Maybe Minori Chihara, if only she used her banchou voice instead of her “…” voice. I didn’t have any big impression for Kaori Nazuka as Chloe. I didn’t think Jun Fukuyama fit well as Lawrence, if only because he keeps zoning in and out of the deeper Zero voice. I keep thinking he’d geass Horo or Chloe, but, alas, he did neither, bringing back fantastic memories of Lulu, Kallen, and Nunnally all over again. Speaking of which…


DOWN Lawrence… in a twenty-four minute episode, he spent about twelve hanging around with a nakkid Horo. Including a short stint in bed. He also spent a bit of time getting propositioned by Chloe, and he escapes by talking about her dad. (Sarcastic dating tip: girls just love it when you talk about their dad right before they’re just about to jump you.) Then again, in this context, the Zero voice is perfect for Lawrence.


EVEN Chloe… I’m cautiously approaching Chloe. On one hand, she a flirty competitor to Horo isn’t a bad thing. On the other hand, Spice and Wolf shouldn’t be about flirty competitors to Horo. I get the feeling Imagin was thinking, “Mmm… who’d want to watch an anime about bartering. We better make it a harem anime.” I really, really hope that’s not the case.

(Best case scenario, of course, would be that Imagin was watching Moyashimon and thinking, “Wait, they got ridiculously good rating for a microbial anime, and all they had to add was lesbian fanservice? We can do that too!!!”)


UP Apprentices… what do you think are the odds that Balsa hit on Jiguro? Two-to-one? Three-to-one?

UP Trade negotiations… I can’t wait for Kyou and Tomoya to start bartering about hit and run damages caused by her scooter. If, assuming and all, Clannad returns to air before peace returns to the Middle East.


UP Guessing games… let the questioning of Lawrence’s sexuality begin! And I’m not talking about is he gay or not gay. I’m talking about is he more of a Leeron, an Itsuki, a Mako-cakes, a Duo Maxwell, a Tieria, or a Kota Shingyoji. Good times. Good times.


UP Melonpan… is an important commodity. In any anime. I expect nothing less from the animation team that brought us Love Love / Cosprayers / Smash Hit.


UP Twelve clothless minutes… and not one hot spring involved. Not even the Ninomiya-kun girls would be nakkid for this long. This is a mercantile-based anime, right?


UP Firefox… cute back the web.

UP Tabi no Tochou (“Journey’s Midpoint”)… I’m liking the OP. I think it’s going to fit the mood of the series well, but it isn’t a blow you away with its awesomeness. Even if it features copious amounts of nakkid Horo.


UP Ringo Hiyori (“Apple’s Weather”)… it’s only the ninth day of 2008, and we already have a winner for Best Engrish of 2008. It’s going to be tough, tough to knock Ringo Hiyori out of the pole position, even if there’s still ~97% of the year to be had.

UP BGM… for whatever reason, the BGM reminds me of some hobbit festival. I can almost picture Merry and Pippin dancing around after enjoying second dinner.


UP Good times… so this is what people did for fun before Guitar Hero, ESPN, YouTube, Halo 3, Netflix, gambling, and World of Warcraft? Egads.

DOWN The title… I prefer “Wolf and Spice” over “Spice and Wolf,” and “Wolf and Spice” is the more literal translation. “Wolf and Spice” has the sounds becoming more harsh as you read the name, while “Spice and Wolf,” it peaks in the middle. Something subtle, but stuff like this bugs the English literature student in me. Yes, I know, it’s not English literature, but it should be! If only Shakespeare wrote about gay merchants getting seduced by their underaged apprentices and mystical wolf spirits. He also should have written about yakuza mermaid succubii that pilot rollerblading mecha while he was at it.


UP Tail… I want to nibble on that tail. Um, shoot, this is embarrassing… am I thinking out loud again?

26 Responses to “spice and wolf, best clothes and wolf”

  1. Yes, you are thinking out loud again.. and the fact they tinkered (read: screwed around with) the source material suggests Very Bad Things are in store with regards to how the anime will turn out – sorta like how Rosario + Vampire turned into a show whose fanservice… really isn’t. The manga is fanservice – the show… well, it’s good at inspiring a certain joke at a certain Japanese forum, but that’s it so far.

    Needs more economics, though, just so we can pretend there’s more to this show than a wolf spirit with no modesty.

  2. I’m starting to like this one quite a bit, after watching ep1 i found myself hitting refresh on TT hoping for ep2, always a good sign. I remain cautiously optimistic that Imagin will maintain at least this level of competence and we get to enjoy this without it jumping the shark.

  3. I really liked the first ep, and hopefully the series will continue to be unique in its own way.

    I don’t see why you said that the animation quality is bad. It looks crispy and detailed to me, I still can’t easily get over the scene of stars reflecting in Horo’s eyes. And then again, how great-looking can you make wheat fields versus some crazy 3D-animated sci-ci stuff. The nipple-less-ness is seriously bothersome though. As bothersome as Kana’s muscular body in Minami-Ke ~Okawari~ …

    And Horo’s a weird name. Reminds me of Bleach. Somebody oust Bleach out of this world.

    I’m looking forward to this.

  4. Oh! And really, what’s with the title, really? Even though the Japanese titile is Ookami to Koushinryou, they switch it around… I wonder who to blame for that…

    Oh, and the ED… It’s cute to he core! I love Japanese songs in English when you have to search for lyrics to understand it ^______________^

  5. First episode was alright…but had me worried about future edits to the plot. Granted, nakkid Horo running about nearly made up for the filler fluff thrown around, but they’d better get the story moving or else things are gonna get ugly. >_<

  6. The last time I encountered “anime original character syndrome” was Asatte no Houkou, which despite its poor animation had one of the strongest starts of all time before crashing into a train wreck of mediocrity.

    I fear the same for this.

    At the very least, if the story must be screwed with, make it well animated.

    I have a feeling I’m going to watch this for the OP/ED and then just follow the story elsewhere.

  7. I agree that the animation is a little lacking. I also dislike how they messed with the source material and took out all the coy teasing that Horo does with Lawrence (“Please be gentle”). I’ll give this another episode before I drop it and just follow the manga.

  8. ‘hobbit festival’: so pithy, so accurate.

  9. Bah, they messed up big time with their source material. The next thing we know, they would be talking about the weather instead of the actual plot. It’s really a bad start for an anime to divert so much immediately from its source. I guess its back for me to read the material instead of watching this “potential” trainwreck….

    And the animation nearly sucks. Especially on their rendition of Horo…

    And I think Lawrence is in Tieria level of being gay…


  10. Shoot, and here i was thinking the anime was actually decent.

    I swear the japanese will make an anime out of anything. board games? done that. Card games? more anime than needed. And now economics? That is actually interesting? And it comes with nekkid foxgirls?

    Whatever the original author was smoking, i want some too. And I hope they kept that bread eating part. Never had bread-eating look so hot.

  11. When did animation companies decide that “nipples are bad, mmmkay?

    I remember Ranma 1/2 being much more enjoyable because of them!

  12. Kikimaru: When the network censors told them so.


  13. Now, with Doumu turning around 180 degrees from Crescent Love to Minami-ke, I can believe that Imagin could turn around from Love Love to Spice and Wolf. Nay, I have to believe it.

    If you look back at Doumu/Daume’s track record before Crescent Love, you’ll see shows such as Please Teacher, Hanaukyo Maid Team La Verite, and Strawberry Marshmallow, which range from above average to pretty freaking awesome. Crescent Love seems to be an anomaly, with Minami-ke marking a return to form.

    What else has this Imagin studio done?

  14. >> What else has this Imagin studio done?

    Imagin has only worked as the primary studio for, I think, the epic trilogy that I already mentioned, Rizelmine, and some h-series. That’s like it.

    >> Bah, they messed up big time with their source material.

    Well, the manga already deviates a bit from the light novels, from what I’ve been told. Honestly, it’s not a fatal blow, as Romeo and Juliet by Gonzo ended up being not that bad despite Shakespeare rolling around in his grave and puking numerous times. Spice and Wolf is also supposed to be a slow series, so I’m not disappointed by the pacing, as we’re on track for ~3 volumes, which isn’t bad. I’m more concerned about the animation quality, since the first episode is usually the best animated of a series. Doumu sent the first few eps of Ichigo Mashimaro to Gainax. I’m also concerned about Lawrence’s Zero voice.

  15. I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who thought “Firefox” during that bit. Intentional reference? I also love that she has her tail on her lap like that.

  16. There are two major problems with the first episode, the pacing and Lawrence (and the Engrish ED but that can be skipped). Lawrence isnt exactly all that in the novels and manga, but here he and and his voice actor look completely lost. The pacing is too quick, they should slow it down a bit. Im definately dissapointed, but I still have hope. It could be worse, right?

  17. I certainly want a piece of sunshine pie.

  18. I’m guessing Chloe joins the one god church and becomes a wolf hunter, determined to destroy Horo by any means available.
    Larry seems to have a firm hand on his libido and doesn’t need any help with it.

  19. “Anime exclusive character”

    Well thank you from saving me of wasting 20 minutes of my time.

  20. “UP Good times… so this is what people did for fun before Guitar Hero, ESPN, YouTube, Halo 3, Netflix, gambling, and World of Warcraft? Egads.”

    People in the old days after the Harvest Festival get drunk and get lay.

  21. Yep, mostly it, but gambling did exist, just not like what we see before. Mostly Festivals made things less boring but Drinking, a night in the brothel and gambling is what you did with whats left of your spare time. But looks like you are going to enjoy some Economics class courtesy of Zero and Kallen.

    “I Command you to go enroll at Black Knights Economics class”

  22. As long as I can hear Horo howl more I´m satisfied, love that sound. With a pretty girl doing it well let´s just say it can´t get any better :)

  23. Hey people, did Horo pass as a DFC? Just wodnering

  24. I’d put my seeds in her if you know what I mean….

    Good start to an economics anime. The nipplelessness really bothered me, but I can’t wait for episode 2.

  25. Am I the only one who keeps mentally referring to this as “Cataan: The Anime”? I keep waiting for someone to offer sheep for bricks…

  26. >>”Tail… I want to nibble on that tail.”
    Can I get an “Amen!” Or at least a warm Haro-shaped scarf?

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