Hein (fub) wrote,

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Finished series: Spice and Wolf

We've finished watching Spice and Wolf. My first episode review is here.

Lawrence is a young travelling merchant. If you ever played Elite, you know the type: travel somewhere, buy something that's cheap there, go somewhere else where your cargo is more valuable, and simply work your way to riches. Lawrence has a fixed circuit, in some manner: villages where he knows the locals and knows how to get a good deal off them, and an idea where their wares might fetch a good price.
At the start of the series, Lawrence arrives at one such village. They have a quaint legend about a giant wolf that ensures an abundant harvest of wheat -- Horo, the wise wolf, is said to reside in the last wheat harvested, and the person who cut it off is shut into a barn to prevent Horo from escaping. This year, an apprentice of Lawrence cuts off the last wheat, but she escapes from the barn. The next day, when he is about to leave the town, Lawrence finds Horo, in the shape of a woman with wolf-ears and -tail, in his cart! They make a deal: Lawrence will take Horo back to her native lands up north, and she will pay her own way and compensate him for the travel expenses.

Horo is pretty smart -- she enjoys telling Lawrence that she isn't named 'Horo the wise' for nothing -- but Lawrence knows more of the world of mankind than she does, and he does manage to surprise her a few times. And if Horo wasn't a wolf, one could even describe her behaviour towards Lawrence 'flirting'.
There are two big plots in this series. The first six episodes has Lawrence uncover a swindle with silver coins, but he gets into loads of trouble when the crooks found out he knows and tries to make a profit through their actions. Horo's existance is another complicating factor: the church will likely execute any 'false idols'!
The second plot is about smuggling gold, and again Lawrence and Horo bite off more than they can chew...

The setting is interesting: it's some sort of renaissance late-medieval urban setting, with a few kingdoms and the Church gaining more and more power. Large merchant houses have sprung up, and there is a new upper class of rich merchants forming -- what every young trader aspires to.

The series is pretty nice to look at. There's quite a bit of budget for backgrounds, which makes the setting come alive. There's not too much action, but the action scenes that are present are animated well. The voice acting is good as well -- the nuances in the voices show a large range of emotions, without ever feeling too studied or artificial.

Good points:
- Interesting setting with interesting plots;
- Very good visuals and voice acting.
Bad points:
- There's no ending.

All in all, a very pleasurable watch -- but then again I like the pseudo-historical genre. I'll give it an 8.
Tags: anime, full review

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