Ookami to Koushinryou

Title:Ookami to Koushinryou
Spice and Wolf (official English title)
Wolf and Spices (literal translation)
Keywords: , , , , , , , , ,
Notables: FUKUYAMA Jun
R1 License - FUNimation
Craft Lawrence is a traveling merchant who finds a 600 year old pagan deity/wolf girl named Horo in his wagon one night. She begins traveling with him, and her wisdom helps increase his profits. But her true nature draws unwanted attention from the church...

Based on a light novel series about the travels of a medieval merchant (Spice) who encounters and befriends a pagan harvest deity named Horo (Wolf). The story forgoes the traditional swords-&-sorcery adventure element to focus on how people lived and did business during the ↗Middle Ages. The story (written by Isuna Hasekura, 13 volumes released in 2006-2009) won the Silver Prize in the 12th ↗Dengeki Novel Prize.

TV series, 2008, 12 TV episodes + 1 OVA episode (to be inserted as episode 6.5)
Animation by IMAGIN, R1 Licensed by FUNImation.

See also:
Ookami to Kohaku-iro no Yuuutsu (OVA, 2nd season episode 0)
Ookami to Koushinryou - Season 2 (2nd season)
Ookami to Koushinryou (2024) (remake)

1:29min Series Opening - YouTube Video
1:30min Series Ending - YouTube Video
Episode Details 
8, 13
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Rent 9 8 9 8 8 9 Devil Doll [series:1710#752]
[Score: 85% = "Buy"]

No childish comedy, no embarrassing scenes, just a fantasy adventure of a merchant suddenly facing an unusual travel companion. The focus on trade, economy, politics and religion is fine, the show has enough interesting dialogs, and the character relation is slowly developing while only slightly hinting at romance. While not getting a "10" in any particular aspect this series does many things right, and very much so.

Visuals are great, and the OP song grows on me with every episode. The ED section with sketchy drawings and a horrible "Engrish" song is something I will skip for every episode and delete for my final archive version, and as such doesn't cause a downgrade for my ratings. All important Characters are likable resp. interesting so far, the narration style is fine as well, the trade related parts are amongst the highlights for me. And the Story delivers an almost constant high level of suspense and entertainment with just one weaker phase in the middle of the season.
  • Episode 1: (+) Scenario layout, character introduction. So far, so good.
  • Episode 2: (+) Both leads begin to learn, treating each other with caution, and character chemistry is great. Horo is aware of her information deficit but confident about her experience; Lawrence apparently considers her an interesting investment at this point.
  • Episode 3: (++) Without warning we're deep in trade territory (with Horo showing how capable she can be), and currency speculation to boot! The focus has shifted to the story development now.
  • Episode 4: (+) Confusing. Things went out of control on several layers at once. Still interesting but too many developments at the same time.
  • Episode 5: (++) Machinations and adventure; character development is progressing as well. An episode packed with content. Upgrading to a full "Buy" rating.
  • Episode 6: (+) Drama peak, and first arc conclusion with a "brute force" solution that created a permanent enemy, and as such might cause trouble later.
  • Episode 7: (0) Filler episode about... flirting! Still dealing with trade related stuff, so no complete loss.
  • Episode 8: (-) More quarrel between Lawrence and Horo about her debts than anything else. Horo begins to become bothersome and repetitive. Even worse, this episode provides a significant plot hole.
  • Episode 9: (+) Above par only because of Norah the Shepherd (my favorite character in this series); Horo is almost reduced to a gluttonous animal. But there's hope that the drama level will rise significantly from here due to various foreshadowings.
  • Episode 10: (++) Finally, a substantial problem (but see above). No more toying around, this is the real deal now. And what exactly did Horo do to help Lawrence up to this point?
  • Episode 11: (++) Her answer is: The ↗Odysseus 2.0 scheme! What a great combination of story and character development, even a ↗Trick of the Tail. And do we sense a bit of jealousy?
  • Episode 12: (++) Full steam ahead, and not everything works as expected. Plus a wonderful dialog between the girls, both of which apparently have to save the day.
  • Episode 13: (+) A good ending with a surprising degree of humor and even a slight touch of Zero no Tsukaima. Unfortunately it shows another plot hole.
Wonderful! All borderline ratings rounded up in the end; without those story issues and Horo's "timeout" for three consecutive episodes (7-9) this show might have earned a "Buy+" rating. Now on with the second season...

Last updated Sunday, February 27 2011. Created Saturday, February 26 2011.
Rent Forbin [series:1710#1573]
All R1 Watched

A strange show. I don't know what to make of it. First 2 episodes were downright BORING, then poof, I'm sucked into a story about money, a wolf, and corrupt governments.

It's GUNDAMN without robots..haha

Last updated Monday, February 08 2010. Created Monday, February 08 2010.
Rent 8 8 8 7 8 8 Dreamer [series:1710#2279]
With a handful of fox diety titles all coming out about the same time, there's plenty of various flavors to choose from. With that said, here's one not to miss.

Art, Animation & Character Designs
Artwork and animation was good. Colors were vibrant, artwork was richly detailed and animation was very smooth. Character designs were really good as well. Some of the backdrops were just beautiful.

The OP was a nice quiet piece with female vocals... almost a lullaby, almost an alternative piece. It wasn't half bad.

Series and Episode Story
This had a subtle charm to it. The plot was simple but effective. It's the individual episodes that makes this series good. The more important part of this series is the dyamics, rather relation between our protagonists (Lawrence & Horo). The character developments between the two and their interactions with their livestyles makes this a good watch.

Overall, it's a good series to get into for a mild and easy to watch story.

Last updated Monday, November 30 2009. Created Monday, November 30 2009.
Buy 9 8 8 8 8 9 Ggultra2764 [series:1710#1552]
Spice and Wolf is a fantasy-adventure series focused on a traveling merchant named Kraft Lawrence who encounters a wolf harvest deity named Holo who wishes to travel back to her homeland of Yoitsu, as the town she maintained a harvest with for centuries is no longer dependent on her. Lawrence allows Holo to travel with him back to Yoitsu, while she uses her wisdom to help Lawrence in his merchant dealings.

While Spice and Wolf is set in a medieval historical setting with mention of deities worshiped and the Church a powerful influential presence within its world, it differentiates itself from many anime titles in that it doesn’t focus on magic and swordsplay. Rather, it dabbles more into the economics, trade, and peddling that comes from Lawrence’s profession as a merchant. The series does go into detail at points on how the economic market for particular currencies and products are within the different locales that Holo and Lawrence visit, as the latter makes use of his knowledge on these areas to attempt trades, sales, or purchases of particular items or currencies. While Holo lacks experience on economics, her centuries of understanding human behavior and nature allows her to assist Lawrence in his dealings to better his profits and prevent other merchants from trying to deceive him. The series does play up its focus on medieval economics pretty straight, lacking anything over-the-top to try making it more engaging to a wider audience. This does allow it to offer a unique take on exploring an element to life in medieval society that is often unexplored, though may be an acquired taste to some anime fans.

What is perhaps the more entertaining element to Spice and Wolf though is the chemistry between Holo and Lawrence. The two often exchange witty banter between one another, with Lawrence usually being unprepared for how Holo will tease her. At the same time though, both value each other’s company as they travel throughout the series. The series also shows both of them to have a good deal of dimension to their characters with Lawrence being crafty yet awkward around cute girls and Holo having strong and vulnerable elements to her character shown in her interactions with Lawrence.

If there is a flaw to the series, it would be that Holo and Lawrence’s journey and relationship remains unresolved by the end of Spice and Wolf. While there was a second season of the series that furthered their journey, it still remained inconclusive at the end of its run. If you are looking for more development and the conclusion of Holo and Lawrence’s journey, you’d be better off trying to track down either the light novel or manga adaptations of the series.

Still if you are looking for a unique take on medieval-fantasy series, Spice and Wolf is entertaining enough where I’d at least recommend watching it at least once. With its focus on medieval economics and the fun chemistry between Holo and Lawrence, there’s enough engaging elements to the series to hook you into following the journey of the show’s main duo.

Last updated Friday, February 07 2020. Created Sunday, October 19 2008.
Rent 9 9 8 9 9 10 Silence [series:1710#2939]
(All episodes watched)

Hmm... this is not like most of the anime i have watched before. As Horo is a deity in a region controlled by the church, and there are constant threats to hand her over to the church, i found myself anticipating at every turn something really dramatic is going to happen (like the church finding out about her). But that dramatic turn never really showed up. It kinda left me relieved and frustrated at the same time: relieved that nothing really terrible happened, yet frustrated that the story could turn out better. That really kept me hooked and before i knew it, the series has ended... oh well, by that time i knew that this is not the complete story. Damn. (not that it did not end well)

Music is nice... the ending theme is so cute... Opening is nice too. Could find no fault with animation though there aren't a lot of action...

much of what i wanted to say has been said by stretch. so i shall just give an advice, watch this anime with a light heart. try to relax and enjoy the cute romance between horo and craft. Do not expect too much action and drama, and this will be an enjoyable light series.

(edited 31 july 08)

Last updated Wednesday, July 30 2008. Created Wednesday, July 23 2008.
Rent Stretch [series:1710#628]
(All episodes watched):

Lawrence is a respectable travelling merchant in a medieval-like setting, except judging from the names of regions this seems to be a fantasy world. He has an apprentice/wannabe girlfriend, Chloe. he is familiar with the legend of Horo, a wolf demigod who is supposed to bring good harvests. And, one day he finds the personification of Horo--as a wolf-eared and wolf-tailed naked girl, asleep in his wagon! This show soon caught my interest, and retained it throughout the episode. It was hard to say where things would go from this first episode, since about all that had happened were introductions of these three principal characters (love triangle?), and Horo expressing her wish to return to the far north, presumably by tagging along with Lawrence. Still, the unusual premise was refreshing, and left me curious about Spice and Wolf. In episode two I was sure Horo would be exposed and persecuted when she and Lawrence stopped at a church, but nothing like that happened, no action at all, which is OK with me. You might say that instead of conventional, physical action we got verbal action, as Horo gives a frightening reminder that she is a wolf, after all, and wolves and people don't always get along so well. Episode three was surprisingly fun, even though there was no action at all. Lawrence and Horo have gotten involved in a scheme to make some money from a devaluation of silver coins--it got fairly complicated (I don't completely understand the plan), but remained intriguing and educational as well. In episode four I became even more confused when Horo had been abducted and a way had to be reasoned out to get her back--I was expecting some action (a rescue attempt), but that wasn't what happened. More than once, you expect violence and action, but lo and behold, the characters behave like real people probably would. Anyway, the word that comes to mind to describe S&W is different. I didn't know where this was going (in a good way), but I definitely wanted to tag along myself.

For a long time no fansub of episode seven had been released, even though episodes 8-13 had been. I assumed this was because a new fansub outfit had taken over the task, and they didn't want to risk duplicating somebody else's work (but the original team had never gotten around to it). I shelved the remainder of the series until the missing episode seven turned up. In fact, having gotten frustrated and gone searching the internet for an answer, it turns out that episode seven is an OVA--these generally take place at the end of a series! This one, it turns out, is a sort of filler episode which takes place between the first and second plot arcs. It was fun, and for one thing we learn how Horo acquired the fancy clothes she wears towards the end.

At the end of the series, it's clear that this consisted of two plot arcs of an ongoing and incomplete manga. But a good place was chosen to end the story in a more-or-less complete manner. Lawrence's complicated wheelings and dealings were confusing, but made enough sense for the viewer to keep track of what was going on. Something was definitely done right, because at the end I felt a warm, squishy feeling for Horo and Lawrence.

Last updated Sunday, July 20 2008. Created Thursday, January 10 2008.
Unevaluated Jan-Chan [series:1710#967]
The first episode is out.

With a focus on the characters and scenery, this series should prove itself to be a slower moving and beautiful story, similar in tone & style to Mushishi or perhaps Kino no Tabi.

Let’s see how this story develops.

Last updated Thursday, January 10 2008. Created Thursday, January 10 2008.

Other Sites
Official (Japanese) Series Web Site http://www.spicy-wolf.com/
Wikipedia - Spice & Wolf (manga & anime) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spice_and_Wolf

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