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Spice and Wolf – 02 »

Spice and Wolf – 01

OP Sequence

OP: 「旅の途中」 (Tabi no Tochuu) by 清浦夏実 (Kiyoura Natsumi)
Watch the OP! Mirror 1, Mirror 2

Summary:

Craft Lawrence, a traveling merchant, is returning from selling salt to a remote village where he got furs in exchange, though he also happens to have with him a sheaf of wheat. He finds out from a guard along the road that there’s a nearby village having a pagan festival, though the actual villagers of Pasroe refer to it as a harvest festival and warmly welcome Lawrence. After chatting with the men, Lawrence asks about a girl named Chloe who is a novice in business compared to him, and it turns out that she’s in the fields with the last sheaf of wheat to harvest. As part of the ritual, this makes her the one who captures the wolf harvest god Horo, and Chloe has to spend the next week in the wheat storehouse. Before going though, Chloe promises to Lawrence meet him that night. Lawrence later learns how the village is changing for the better thanks to their new lord, and some don’t even feel the need to pray to their wolf god anymore.

Lawrence leaves the village that evening and tries to camp out on his wagon by a river. To his surprise though, he finds a naked girl sleeping inside of it. He’s doubly shocked because the girl has animal ears and a tail, and when she wakes up, she lets out a long wolf howl. The girl then wants alcohol to drink or something to eat and spots the jerky that Lawrence had dropped when he saw her, so she picks it up and chows down. Figuring out that Lawrence isn’t from the village since he has no idea who she is, the girl introduces herself as Horo, and Lawrence realizes that she’s the harvest god, but Horo doesn’t feel that she’s as great as a god. She reveals that she was born in the North in a silver world called Yoitsu, and since she recognizes that Lawrence is a traveling merchant, she wants him to take her with him. However, Lawrence first wants her to prove that she’s Horo by showing him her wolf form, but she refuses until he says that he’ll take her to the church if she’s human because he thinks demons are the source of catastrophes – he’ll reconsider if she’s the real Horo.

After repeatedly questioning if Lawrence truly wants to see it, Horo eats a tiny bit of Lawrence’s wheat and transforms her left arm. The rest is a blur to Lawrence, and when he regains his senses, Horo is gone. He ends up returning to the village, and he’s found and initially shocked by Chloe because she’s got a wolf mask on. Chloe wants to talk about a big business deal that could bring large profits, but Lawrence feels that she’s still too young and needs more experience. Lawrence’s own thoughts continue to dwell on Horo, and when he’s alone again, she suddenly appears. Horo explains that she’s normally in the harvested wheat, but if there is a bigger sheaf of wheat nearby when the last sheaf gets harvested, she can move there. That’s why she thinks of him as her savior. This leads to Lawrence recalling that when she had shown him her left arm in its true form, he had been so shocked that he had fallen off his wagon, and she had promptly disappeared.

Horo then talks about how she had watched over the wheat here for a long time, but she knows that if the abundant harvests continue as they have been, then it will overtax the land. The villagers had blamed her whims when harvests weren’t good, and as it got worse, Horo began to feel she wasn’t needed anymore. When Lawrence asks her if she has somewhere to go if she leaves the village, Horo answers that she wants to go home to the North. In the end, he decides to bring her out of the village with him the next morning and is surprised to find her fully dressed after putting on his best clothes. He wants her to take them off, but Horo knows that he won’t make her and promises that his name will be told in her tales for eternity. Lawrence doesn’t care about that so much as he just wants Horo to earn her own share of food from now on.

ED Sequence

ED: 「リンゴ日和」 (Ringo Hiyori) by ROCKY CHACK
Watch the ED! Mirror 1, Mirror 2

Wow, the ED really made me cringe. Here I had been looking forward to a ROCKY CHACK song after what I thought was a really good set of ZEGAPAIN EDs from them previously, but it turns out that Ringo Hiyori was completely in English (at least I think it was – it was hard to understand).

Overall, the episode wasn’t quite as dialogue heavy as I thought it’d be, but close (meaning that it can come across as rather slow-paced at parts). There wasn’t that much talk of trade since the introduction of Horo took most of the episode, but what parts were there were developed partly around a theme of humans succeeding on their own without the need for gods and partly around Chloe’s coming of age and Lawrence recognizing it, both of which were interesting topics for me. Speaking of which, I didn’t really mind Chloe’s inclusion as an anime original character. If anything, I thought she brought a fresh angle to the story, though it’s not entirely clear what role if any she’ll play from now on.

Production-quality-wise, the animation quality was decent, and the soundtrack had a unique flavor that I can’t quite put my finger on. Suffice to say, it made the series feel like it was in the Middle Ages. The main draw for me is still Fukuyama Jun and Koshimizu Ami in the lead roles, the latter of whom particularly stood out because she had to adapt to Horo’s antiquated way of speaking. Anyway, the OP shows a lot of interesting shots that indicate this show has a lot of promise, though I’m not quite sold on the show just yet.

January 8, 2008 at 5:58 pm
63 comments »
  • January 8, 2008 at 6:04 pmbuta_hill

    wow finally ^^

  • January 8, 2008 at 6:05 pmKaris

    Man, I wanna watch this now!

    By the way Omni, what is wrong with the recent entries? its showing your past entries instead?

  • January 8, 2008 at 6:11 pmgngn

    cant wait to see it subbed. this annoing language-barrier …..

  • January 8, 2008 at 6:16 pmTotali

    I can definitely see the potential this show has, but Horo’s way of speaking was actually one of the only things I liked about this episode lol. The voices remind me way too much of Code Geass too. XD

  • January 8, 2008 at 6:17 pmmutio

    It’d be interesting to read the novel, but I doubt they are out in English or any translations are out there. Or am I wrong?

  • January 8, 2008 at 6:18 pmSamsterLiu

    LELOUCH!!! oh wait… lol leading VAs makes this show lucrative.

  • January 8, 2008 at 6:19 pmNikku

    I still prefer manga adaption, Kenrau horo is more moe as plot more fast. °O°

  • January 8, 2008 at 6:42 pmaidouca

    Yay!
    Wolf ans Spice!
    Sounds good, but I will wait for the subs if there is as many dialogue as you said

  • January 8, 2008 at 6:49 pmvexx

    I’m REALLY looking forward to this show…. and I *want* it to be dialog heavy – that’s the way the manga is. The premise, setting, and relationship angles are just a beautiful thing to watch in my opinion. I was joking on another forum: Settlers of Cataan NOW WITH WOLF GODDESS… but it looks like its going to be something I can “sink my teeth into”.

  • January 8, 2008 at 7:01 pmNewprimus

    SPICY WOLF.

  • January 8, 2008 at 7:15 pmvaldor

    saw just the op and ed, the op was very nice and the ed wasn’t that bad. the use of english was bizarre, but still had a nice light-hearted kick to it,

  • January 8, 2008 at 7:16 pmsomeone

    hohoho ..just what i thought ..there’s one english song ..i thought i was wrong & thought that one is a soundtrack or something…but i guess i’m right afterall ..HAHAHHAA

  • January 8, 2008 at 7:25 pmgolthin

    I couldn’t make it that was “English”, Horo’s Japanese is HARD! I had to rewind back during some part of her dialogue. Is that girl that is in love with lorenzo an anime only thing or is she in the novels because I didn’t see her in the manga.

  • January 8, 2008 at 7:30 pmRembr

    It looked okay. I’ll watch a couple more.

  • January 8, 2008 at 7:33 pmvexx

    Hmmm, there *is* some woman Lorenzo has dealings with in the manga but mostly offscreen — however it seemed more professional at first glance (his contact for the town’s goods).

    I can’t say she won’t become a possible love interest later in the manga … but her connection in the anime appears to be anime-only as far as I can grok.

  • January 8, 2008 at 7:38 pmMax

    omni,
    there must must be something made you love this anime series
    but, seriously, I can’t found any interesting in screenshot you made. I mean, looks like no suprising event or something like that in it first episode.
    I think I should watch it by my self

  • January 8, 2008 at 8:03 pmChicle

    What is it about English that the Japanese like so much? It’s like they’re turning into us and our love for them.

  • January 8, 2008 at 8:09 pmmango

    for a 25 year old guy, he looks old.

  • January 8, 2008 at 8:14 pmAsPHERE

    oh! Firefox girl!! heh heh…

  • January 8, 2008 at 8:27 pmnobody important

    The Japanese secretly want to be European, hence all the German and Engrish around in anime. Their entire system of government was originally based off the British Parliament model.

  • January 8, 2008 at 8:32 pmOmni

    Karis: Fixed

    Max: I didn’t say I loved it. When I say “dialogue heavy,” I almost never mean that in a good way. “animation is decent” doesn’t make it sound like I loved it either. I do, however, think that the series shows promise.

  • January 8, 2008 at 9:50 pmDaiske

    op for some reason reminds me of sakano o.o like not the animation song or any similarities really it just has that same kind of feel i guess? Also from the opening I can’t tell if this is some kind of love story or what o.o what the hell is it? xD

  • January 8, 2008 at 10:00 pmbananabanana

    Lawrence comes off as having very good impulse control.
    In can understand being a bit hesitant around horo, her being a whimsical (albeit buttneked) monster.
    But Kuroe was basically throwing herself at him all throughout the episode, and he totally blew her off. (and there seems to be nothing wrong with her at all)

    Anyway, a nice interesting show. I wonder if it will stay well grounded.

  • January 8, 2008 at 10:05 pmbananabanana

    Ah: being able to follow the dialog all through helped alot.
    I dont think horo’s dialect was all too tough- in fact it was very cute sounding. Sounded like a hodgepodge of kogo and j-chinese. regardless, much more appealing than hyoujungo

  • January 8, 2008 at 10:10 pmNed The Super Nerd

    @Max

    Dude, I think you need to learn how to read and write. I can’t understand what the hell your saying, frankly I’m fascinated as to how omni did. ::Applauds Omni for understanding an illiterate individual and applauds max for understanding some sentence structure despite his obvious lack of education.::

    Sorry for the harshness but if it was only one or two missed words I wouldn’t have said anything, however your entire post had error upon error. D: Then miraculously reading something that isn’t there nor is it implied in anyway, really irritated me.

    Anyway, this style of animation seems to be becoming popular, much to my dismay. It tends to feel rather blan. In any case it seems like it will have a good plot and story, so I suppose it seems worth watching the most out of all the newer series coming out right now. :D

  • January 8, 2008 at 10:22 pmNed The Super Nerd

    I withdraw my comment about the animation quality, after watching the first 4 minutes of it I see that I was wrong about the type of animation. I thought it was dragonaut animation style. Big mess up on my part sorry. :P

  • January 8, 2008 at 11:10 pmblitz

    Any word on any sub pick ups? :)

  • January 8, 2008 at 11:22 pmfrubam

    Will this be the next Inukami?

  • January 8, 2008 at 11:35 pmrandom DUDE

    lol, they’re useing Code Geass voice actors,
    Lawrence = Lelouche
    Holo = Karen
    Chloe = Nanally

  • January 8, 2008 at 11:53 pmW-General

    Hehe my most anticipated show of this (winter 2007/8) season.
    Horo is hot. I think I might be turning into a damn furry.

  • January 8, 2008 at 11:59 pmWestlo

    Horo! Horo! Horo!

  • January 9, 2008 at 12:16 amsetsuke

    Hey i really like the series the way Ami Koshimizu voiced Horo is really good in the way she speak, well she does have to sound like a wise wolf. Heavy dialogue? Well it’s sure gonna have more of those and economical talk. The OP and ED is nice with the OP on duet in the half way and the ED in full english(make you laugh with how their pronounciation)

  • January 9, 2008 at 1:23 amlost

    This was an excellent first episode – everything about it, the art direction, the music (the op really drew me in) and the voice acting especially, was top notch. Pity the subject matter (economics and whatnot) seems less than interesting…still definitely one of the best new shows of this season.

  • January 9, 2008 at 3:52 amGod~knows

    looks okay but i’ll c for myself first b4 proceeding

  • January 9, 2008 at 3:54 amWestlo

    sub out! sub out! sub out!

  • January 9, 2008 at 4:25 amdivine

    I’m with Omni on this one: the biggest appeal for me is still Koshimizu Ami and Fukuyama Jun (at least for now).

    If you want to save yourself a download, I’ve uploaded high quality versions of the OP and ED on YouTube. Please be aware that you have to let HQ YouTube videos buffer for a bit or they will pause a lot during playback. i.e. Wait for the red buffer bar to hit 50% or so before playing. As for what I mean by “high quality”, simply play the video at fullscreen and see for yourself. Personally, I think the tradeoff for having to wait a bit justifies the increased quality, but you decide for yourself. :)

    [HQ] Spice and Wolf 「狼と香辛料」 OP – Tabi no Tochuu 「旅の途中」
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XgoGrHKeITA

    [HQ] Spice and Wolf 「狼と香辛料」 ED – Ringo Hiyori 「リンゴ日和」
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVHSgB5m7YY

  • January 9, 2008 at 4:45 amcalde

    The original novel is “a slow food of the fantasy novel”, imo.
    No sword, no magic whatsoever, but alot of traveling, trading and talking.
    So I guess this anime series will be something like a goood old heartwarming road movie.

  • January 9, 2008 at 5:27 amOF

    The pronunciation of this ED is realy terriable. This is what I tried my best find out from the ED:
    Seven apples on the witch’s tree
    Seven seeds to plant inside of me
    In spring time I grew a magic song
    Thus keeping along
    I sang the song to everyone
    I looked up the world through apple eyes
    And cut myself as slice of sunshine pie
    I dance with the peanuts for the flies
    Hear time when the town ring
    To say hello forever goodbye
    Songs and sugar’s ball
    I’ll put them in the jar
    And the wish around the world
    All wish around the world
    I’m a little lucida girl
    You say: I’m off I’ve grown from June to May
    Oh wish around the world
    Makes wish around the world

    You guys can have a try to find out if you can understand the original song.

  • January 9, 2008 at 6:12 amYukiruchan

    I’ll be waiting to read Omni’s impressions for the next few eps before checking it out, according to how interested Omni is in the series. Haha.. I just said it depended all on Omni. ^_^

    I love Fukuyama Jun’s voice best when he’s a serious character. (Esp. Lulu!) I even tried checking up a number of series he acts in for a while. Then I found an anime with a really annoying Fukuyama Jun (Inukami if I remember correctly)… He’s really so talented… but I’ve learned you can’t watch something just because you like the voice actors alone.

  • January 9, 2008 at 7:30 amShin

    Lolifox anime go!

  • January 9, 2008 at 8:06 amTensai Otaku

    I am from Brazil and that END music was the most horrible thing I´ve ever listen to!
    as I am graduated in english too I really think that it would be alot better if the japanese people tried to practice more speeching to drop that vicious way they try to speak in ” COOL ” pera-pera style!

  • January 9, 2008 at 9:58 amTiff

    Hhhm. Its pretty difficult for me to get used to Jun Fukuyama’s voice acting in this series. The voice seems unfit for a character with an appearance like Lawrence’s. Other than that, the first episode was quite enjoyable; though the comedy bits weren’t entirely funny.

  • January 9, 2008 at 11:23 amSailor Enlil

    That wolf mask just looked ridiculous to me :D (somehow it reminds me of Wile E. Coyote)
    I get the feeling Chloe going to have a bigger role than what she has shown so far.

  • January 9, 2008 at 1:49 pmHellorHeaven

    Its Lelouch!!! Confirm it in wikipedia just after watching this….gonna be on one of my top list XD

  • January 9, 2008 at 2:05 pmRei_Ka

    I’ll be watching this show.

  • January 9, 2008 at 2:19 pmKamui85

    Gotta agree, story looks interesting, amination was not special but was fine, music was generally good. The ED was disgusting!

  • January 9, 2008 at 2:41 pmRukiaNeko

    Aw, the ending animation looks so cute.

  • January 9, 2008 at 3:05 pmSekkoku

    Horo ftw. :)

  • January 9, 2008 at 4:05 pmWererat42

    Not a bad start, I was expecting it to be a lot slower. The OP was great, but the ED was just funny.

    Also, as for the European influence – that’s been there ever since the Meiji Restoration.

  • January 9, 2008 at 4:11 pmUnknown Voice

    Totally beautiful episode. In love with OP animation and song already. I have a high hopes for this show. Its been a long time since i was this excited about new anime…

  • January 9, 2008 at 4:40 pmDeathy

    I didn’t liked the way Horo looked in the anime version at first, but overall it was a nice episode, a few changes here and there but it was very nice.

    And I’m in love with the OP song.

  • January 9, 2008 at 5:28 pmTess R

    The first episode was good. :) I hope the series will be excellent, despite the so-so animation.

  • January 9, 2008 at 6:31 pmendgame

    I was wondering what happened to jaalin…

  • January 9, 2008 at 8:09 pmTom

    That ED is stuck in my head now.

  • January 9, 2008 at 11:31 pmboop

    as xenophobic as it may seem, japanese people have always been adapting to western cultures, from the british empire expanding east all the way to wwii.

    anyway this seems like an interesting series so i’ll pick it up.

  • January 10, 2008 at 3:36 amAusdoerrt

    That ED is the most cutesy thing I’ve ever heard ^__________^ The last ED like that which I can think of is Black Cat’s, although that one doesn’t have Engrish in it =))

    The first ep was a good hook, as long as ep 2 is not a total letdown, this is a must-see.

  • January 10, 2008 at 12:41 pmTower

    The first Episode was pretty nice. I hope there is no quality loss in the later episodes…

  • January 11, 2008 at 7:41 amGod~knows

    after watching the subs I have to say I’m very impressed.For once(in a long time) I actually liked the show from the beginning itself and the ending(although in English) was very cute.Reminded me of a nursery rhyme(so moe hehe).Something in this anime reminds me of my childhood days when I was reading “The Mayor of Casterbridge”.I feel this has a real autenthic medival feel to it unlike others in its genre.Anyway I’m hooked now =D.

  • January 11, 2008 at 5:50 pmshh227

    Watched the show thought it was very nice too.
    I like OP and ED theme too.

  • January 12, 2008 at 7:38 pmPochama

    The grain that people are growing are ‘mugi’ or barley, not wheat. I hope this gets corrected in your summary. Btw, I guess people are making living off from making nice beer :)

  • January 13, 2008 at 7:00 pm6sc23

    i thought i heard it wrong. but yeah.. the ed although it is really nice, but i dun get the lyric especially this part “I dance with the peanuts for the flies” lol

  • April 3, 2008 at 12:53 pmdavid myers

    does any one know when wolf and spice will be released in u.s. on dvd?

  • May 17, 2008 at 6:32 pmDenatus

    Please check out my Fanforum for this Anime ^^. Help forum a spice and wolf community!

    http://spiceandwolf.freeforums.org/index.php