2011 Spring Cleaning Anime Challenge Review: Spice and Wolf

Kraft Lawrence, a 25 year old peddler, travells from town to town selling and buying various things to make a living during a period much like Europe in the Middle Ages. One night when stopped at the town of Pasroe, he finds in his wagon a centuries old pagan wolf deity girl named Holo. She has the appearance of a 15 year old girl, except for a wolf tail and ears. She introduces herself as the town’s goddess of harvest who has kept it blessed with good harvests of wheat for many years. Despite having the responsibility to watch over the town, she wants to go back to her homeland in the north called Yoitsu, she believes the people have already forsaken her anyway and that she has fulfilled her promise to maintain the good harvests. She manages to bargain her way out of the village by making a deal with Lawrence to take her with him. As they travel, her wisdom helps increase his profits, but at the same time, her true nature draws unwanted attention from the church.

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Plot:

So a show about economics, that does not sound like it would be enjoyable right?  Well, you would be wrong to make that assumption.  Yes economic topics are discussed (like buying devalued currencies, and dealing with market forces that change out of nowhere), yet these do not feel like a High School or college economic class way you would learn about it.  Even simple conversations about simple things seem enjoyable and do not feel terribly boring to watch.  I will admit I am not a big fan of economics nor do I study up on it.  I was not bored at all while watching the show, even though the show does move a slower pace than some people might prefer.

The two main characters are deep, complex and eventually learn how to play off each other.  Lawrence does not always look at everything from the money aspect, but how the flow of trade works.  Holo, while a deity who likes human pleasures and walks around in a human form, has a temper and is still at heart an animal.  While Holo is also smart and sly, she is also quite lonely from being isolated for so long and she just wants to be around Lawrence and others.  Over the course of the show the relationship between Holo and Lawrence develops to the point of not quite being lovers, but there is some chemistry between the two and some hints are pointed that they do want to be with each other.

There are two arcs in the first season of Spice and Wolf.  Episodes 1-6 are arc 1, and episodes 8-13 is the second arc.  Episode 7 is an OVA that does not add to the story but explains why Holo has new clothes starting in the next arc.  The second arc sadly is similar to the first to the first arc by following a similar path to how it plays out.  This is a issue, but it is a minor one to overall look as the second arc is still based on source material (the second light novel).

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Funimation Relief for Japan

This has actually been going on for a few weeks now, but Funimation has started a charity auction to raise money for Japan. They’re auctioning off some rare merchandise on eBay, along with items which can be purchased without bidding, and the shipping for all purchases is free. More information can be found at their site. They don’t have any auctions going at the moment, but they will have more up in May.

The reason I brought this up now is because the item I bought arrived in the mail today. I purchased a set of four Spice & Wolf coins, which they were selling for $20. I decided to buy these because they were the cheapest thing they had up at the time, plus I happen to like Spice & Wolf. Here’s what they look like:

The coins weren’t the only thing that they sent though.

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Antz’ 2010 Year In Review: Top 5 Anime I Watched This Year

Normally when someone is doing a list of this sort it’s about anime that actually aired during the year. Unfortunately I can’t do a list like that because I generally don’t watch anime as it’s airing. I’ve just never been fond of having to wait a week between episodes. I prefer to watch at my own pace, so I tend to wait a while and watch something when the whole thing has been subbed or it’s out on DVD. While you’re all talking about your Oreimo and your K-ON!, I’m over in my little corner talking about Trigun. As such, my list won’t be top 5 anime that aired in 2010, but the top 5 anime I watched in 2010. The list is limited to shows I watched for the first time in 2010, and TV series only.

#5 – Princess Tutu

When a well-known writer died, he left behind an unfinished story about a prince and a raven. Now the story has started to spill over into the real world, causing its characters to come alive and finally bring about an end to the tale. One of the things that drew me to Princess Tutu was how silly the whole thing can be. It’s a series about a duck who changes into a girl named Duck, who then changes into Princess Tutu and solves whatever conflict has arisen through ballet. And her ballet teacher is a cat. It’s all so strange and odd, but when you take into the account that the series is supposed to be a fairy tale, it all strangely fits. The random talking animals, the duck changing into a girl; none of it is really that absurd for a fairy tale. It’s a cute, and sometimes emotional, little fairy tale and despite me being not even a little close to its intended audience I still found it entertaining.

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Anime Review: Spice and Wolf – Complete First Season

If you don’t know what you’re getting into, Spice and Wolf can seem a little daunting at first. The very first episode, and just about every episode that follows it, is basically 24 consecutive minutes of people talking. Mostly about economics. Medieval economics at that. Sounds boring, yes? Well, surprisingly, it isn’t.

This is due entirely to how fascinating the characters and their relationships with each other are. Lawrence, being a merchant, always looks at things in terms of money. Either making it, spending it, or keeping track of the debt Holo has racked up during their travels. He always keeps somewhat detached from things, never really showing much emotion no matter what’s going on around him. That is, until it seems like Holo may be in danger, during which time he is genuinely panicked and gets irritated when the people he tries to seek help from don’t act quickly enough. Over time it becomes clear that despite his behavior he has started to develop genuine feelings for Holo and cares about her deeply.

Holo herself is a rather interesting character. Despite being a several hundred year old deity, she behaves more like a child. She gets excited about food, going so far as demanding Lawrence take her to another city for a chance to eat apples pickled in honey. She tries to act the part of a deity, by talking big about herself or belittling humans, acting like she’s not interested in anything they do. But this only makes her seem like a child attempting to impress someone by bragging. All this bragging and boasting serves to hide the fact that she’s really just lonely, having been stuck watching over one particular wheat field for many years, and having no real contact with anyone.

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