OP Sequence

OP: 「(旅のゆくえ」 (Tabi no Yukue) by Hana Hope

「収穫祭と狭くなった御者台」 (Shuukaku-sai to Semaku Natta Gyosha-dai)
“The Harvest Festival and The Crowded Driver’s Box”

To say spring has started in force is really an understatement when you realize it’s leading off with Spice and Wolf. One of the big anime series of old, back with a remake, and promising a faithful return to the nostalgia of the 2000s? That is one impressive set of shoes to fill, and yet Spice and Wolf somehow manages it this spring kickoff. Not to say it’ll last of course, but I’m at least liking what I’m seeing.

As per the Random Curiosity Preview, this Spice and Wolf is a true remake of the original with a (supposed) better emphasis on the source material. Right off the bat there’s not much changes either: we get the quaint rural medieval setting of farmers harvesting wheat, the (spoiler: very important) church dominating local society, and the likes of one Kraft Lawrence (Fukuyama Jun) who connect all the disparate parts through peregrinating merchant trading and the sharing of information. Kraft too shows his skills and role immediately, being a somewhat junior trader who simply gave the town of Pasloe a chance all for the sake of making a name – and money – to grow into the position he ultimately desires. Simple and straightforward certainly, but no denying the premise at play.

The real meat and potatoes (or shall we say apples) however naturally lies with Holo (Koshimizu Ami), the real star of Spice and Wolf. Much as Kraft can be considered the instigator (as will be seen over time) Holo is the agent, the now forgotten deity of Pasloe who once guaranteed the harvest of the village. Time and changing societal circumstances though have slowly invalidated her function, with a combination of church, technology, and Holo’s own need to keep the land productive making simple prayer to her no longer sufficient for a bumper crop. It’s the conditions which causes the wolf-girl to make a literal leap of faith into Kraft’s lap, embracing the opportunity his travelling presents to both let Pasloe carry on along its chosen path while returning to her own ancestral home in the north. Simple if somewhat contrived circumstances, a fairly benign premise, yet one as we’ll see over the coming episodes that has far more depth and complexity than you would think immediately present.

It’s that premise too which finally brings us to the elephant in the room: how does this adaptation compare to the original? Right now, well, I’m not sure it’s all that bad. While the artwork will definitely take some getting used to considering how Holo was designed before, the presence of both original MC voice actors definitely does the trick for smoothing over the edges, particularly when it comes to Holo’s venerable confidence and self-awareness and Kraft’s more moxie-esque merchant talents. What has me as well is just how faithful this adaptation looks to be material-wise. Unlike the original there’s no Chloe, instead we have Kraft’s actual acquaintance in Yarei (Sugita Tomokazu) who serves the exact same purpose, just with less fan service (gender bending will do that) and a better emphasis on realistic societal conditions of the age. Sure, I’m mighty disappointed the OP doesn’t match the emotive impressions of the original’s Tabi no Tochuu by Kiyoura Natsumi, but the banter between Kraft and Holo and the pacing thus far (in part confirmed by the teasing of Norah the shepherd) has me very much looking forward to seeing what comes next. Right now this is one adaptation hitting all the right notes.

Although it’ll take a few more episodes for the unfamiliar to get a good sense of what Spice and Wolf is exactly about, from what I’ve seen so far this is definitely an opener which for franchise fans especially promises great things ahead. Sure art style and the like might take some getting used to, but with two cours to work with and a more faithful story at play, I have full belief this is one adaptation which shall wind up meeting all expectations.


ED Sequence

ED: 「アンダンテ」 (Andante) by ClariS



  1. I guess it was fine as far as it went, but it still left me with the same question I had before I watched it – WHY? There are goodness knows how many other manga and LNs in the world crying out for an anime adaptation, and yet they chose to remake a show that already had a perfectly good one.

    There are genres where that might be more readily justifiable, like mecha, for example, where a modern remake could perhaps breathe new life into stilted hand-drawn designs, but pseudo-medieval fantasy isn’t one of them. What a waste of talent.

    1. You’re not the only one haha; for all I adore this series I still have no idea what exactly warrants this given it’s a fairly old (by anime standards) at this point. Likely the recent light novel volumes are selling sufficiently well that some consider an anime marketing push enough to further boost the numbers, particularly with how decently well LOTGH’s remake has done.

      I wouldn’t say it’s waste of talent though, particularly if this remake can make up for the adaptation choices made in the original. The story here is strong enough to still stand the test of time, particularly in the current era of cookie cutter isekai and resurrection power fantasy.

      1. The LOTGH remake? Now that did benefit from modern production techniques, at least.

        As for S&W, though, yes it was closer to the original, but you know, I thought swapping out Yarei for Chloe in the “wolf catching” worked really well. I’ve also seen people grumbling that the remake didn’t go closer to the manga in certain scenes too! And the OP/ED? I’m sure the remake must have had some, but I can still remember the ones from the original series even though it was 16 years ago.

  2. For those who didn’t read the LN, Chloe is an anime-only character in the first adaptation.

    Yarei is the actually the last person to harvest the wheat in the LN.

  3. I remember not watching Spice And Wolf through when the series first aired in the Winter of 2008. It was a unique time back then, with the Housing bubble bursting and all. I watched four episodes and skipped the rest because the story and the characters were not what I was looking for in Anime during that time. Funny story, I treated The Walking Dead the same way, and the fans of that show were like “Wha yu say?! I gut you like a fish!!!”.

    Circling back to my consumption of the original Spice And Wold, I had just finished Mai-Otome and Mahoromatic, which left me emotionally needy, and I couldn’t stomach another story-driven series. Now that I am much, much, older and have enjoyed series like Eizouken ni wa Te wo Dasu na! Alice to Zouroku, Shiroi Suna no Aquatope, Konohana Kitan, and Sora yori mo Tooi Basho I feel like I can appreciate Spice And Wolf to it’s fullest even though it’s a remake.

    I look forward to reexperiencing a retelling of Spice And Wolf, as an old fart.

  4. I don’t mind re-adaptations, they’re essentials, of course there’s a lot of other great LN or mangas to be considered but that’s how we got true gems like Kanon 2006 for instance.

    I got different vibes from the 1st adaptation tho, it’s not worse or bad per say but i think they dropped a bit the melancholic tone from the 1st adaptation (granted the opening helped a lot), let’s see how they handle that source material this time. Also I instantly got used to the character design, being closer to Ayakura’s (LN) and Kome’s (Manga) one, so i don’t mind it, on the contrary that’s a step closer to the original artwork.

    What i loved the most is that it gave a peek at Wolf & Parchment right from the start, that was a really nice touch and makes me hope they’ll go beyond Spice & Wolf later on.

    What’s also funny is that i forgot Kevin Penkin was at the music there and instantly reminded me that when i was telling myself it was really good, no bias at all!


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