It’s been a long time since I did a first impressions article. That’s mainly because I haven’t watched any back catalogue anime in such a long time. Last month, you might remember that I asked you all to help me choose what to watch next and the winner of that vote was the Economics/Romance classic Spice and Wolf. As I’m sure many people would have probably felt before watching the show, I had no idea what to expect from this strangest of genre combinations; this article will tell you all what I made of things three episodes in (sorry for the poor image quality by the way – still waiting for my Blu-Ray copy to arrive from the States).
Before I start I guess it’s fair to share the two preconceptions I had about Spice and Wolf before I started watching: firstly, most of the show is about economics and secondly, Holo ranks pretty highly on anime fans best girl lists.
The first three episodes do nothing to dispel either of these two assumptions. The story is set in a setting somewhat akin to late medieval/early modern Europe and is told from the perspective of Lawrence, a travelling merchant who, one night, finds the wolf goddess Holo asleep in his cart.
What I enjoyed most about these opening episodes was the interaction between Lawrence and Holo. So far the plot, of what little there has been, has operated almost independently of their relationship. This isn’t to say Lawrence tries to keep his merchant economics removed from Holo, as we see him explaining the different types of coin after a drinking session at an inn, but rather that the plot with a fellow merchant and new coins feels quite separate from the development of the two characters. As for Holo’s part in it all, she delights in teasing Lawrence for his lack of experience and youth – very rarely has she touched a serious tone but it’s clear that it can and will happen throughout the show.
As for the characters themselves, Lawrence is a down to earth guy that seems to only be focused upon making money from his business in order to get by. His one quirk would be that, after his initial shock, he takes surprisingly well to meeting a naked girl with wolf ears and a tail before seeing her transform into a wolf and subsequently having said wolf goddess travelling with him. Holo on the other hand is a walking talking chest of quirks. Even if you ignore the wolf goddess, tail and ears, I can’t remember seeing a female anime character who is quite so successfully bold, though she does take this to the nth degree with her antagonisations of Lawrence. Also, I’ve been watching this is English and I’m finding Brina Palencia’s voice here really jarring. I’m usually a fan of her work (specifically, I’m thinking of Touka in Tokyo Ghoul), but so far this isn’t quite working for me – but then you can’t please everyone.
I’ve really enjoyed the first three episodes of Spice and Wolf and am imagining from it’s popularity that it won’t be dropping off any time soon. However, I do have one small concern in as much as with any character driven story (as this is), the plot becomes subsidiary to the overall productions. Though as I said, I’ve got a feeling Spice and Wolf will be alright.
As this was a reader chosen watch, I’ll be sure to keep you all updated with my thoughts on this one as I work through the series!