Ookami to Koushinryou - Season 2

Title:Ookami to Koushinryou - Season 2
Spice and Wolf - Season 2
狼と香辛料 - Season 2
Keywords: , , , , , , , , ,
Notables: R1 License - FUNimation
Continuing where the first series left off, this story follows Craft Lawrence an experienced traveling merchant and his sharp tongued wolf-god companion Horo on their journey to return to Horo's home to the north called Yoitsu. A tender relationship has blossomed between the two travelers, as they make deals, travel between cities, encounter religious fanatics (or vice versa) and mostly just do what a traveling merchant has to do to get by.

Source: Anime News Network

TV series, 2009, 12 episodes, ~25min each; based on volumes 3 and 5 of a series of 16+ light novels (as of early 2011).

Licensed by Funimation.
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Episode Details 
3, 6, 11
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Rent 9 8 9 6 8 7 Devil Doll [series:2063#752]
[Score: 80% = "Rent+"]

The investment bankers anime. But despite offering a fabulous story in the first arc it failed to deliver in the second one, thus ending up weaker than the first season.

A lot more romance, less technical talk about trading this time (replaced by mechanism of financial deals in the first arc). Visuals are much like in the first season; the OP song is boring, the ED song is way too happy for this story's mood, the theme being used when a mysterious character appears is just too dissonant, resulting in a downgrade for Music. My Story rating once again went up towards the end of each arc; Characters depends a lot on the new ones in this sequel, all of which are interesting so far.
  • Episode 1: (+) Character relation galore, with each of the leads questioning the original purpose of their journey. But that memory of Lawrence makes me wonder.
  • Episode 2: (+) Still not much of a story, but the episode title implies we'll get that real soon. The focus is still on the leads pondering about their relation.
  • Episode 3: (+) A sensational development, with both Horo's crisis and the ↗Tulip mania scheme. But I have an issue with Lawrence's behavior; Horo's behavior may be bewildering at first but remembering that she's a wolf (impulsive, wild, proud, and lonely) it was easy to accept it.
  • Episode 4: (++) Today's lesson is ↗Futures but the real highlight is guessing the game our princess is playing right now.
  • Episode 5: (+) The eye of the storm in this ↗Supply and demand battle. One more episode will be awfully short to conclude this arc.
  • Episode 6: (++) But in fact they did, and convincingly, on many levels at the same time. Writing good ends of each arc has been this franchise's particular strength so far. And that white-feathered bird is way cool!
This third arc was the most intense one in terms of trade subjects, and despite ignoring a few potential issues it was really fun, being a battle on several layers at once. So on with the second half...
  • Episode 7: (0) Lovey-dovey chatter and foreshadowings. The usual filler at the beginning of each arc has little substance this time.
  • Episode 8: (+) Unlike in the previous arcs I can't anticipate the nature of the core issue this time, but a female merchant is exactly what we need at this stage of the story - a serious threat to both Horo's bond and Lawrence's purse.
  • Episode 9: (+) This final arc replaced trade by character interaction - not much has happened other than many things being too good to be true. But the cliffhanger rings the bell for the action to begin!
  • Episode 10: (+) A lot of things don't make sense here, most of all that things are running too smoothly. Compared to the previous arcs I feel bilked out of the joy of understanding the deal before it happens. In fact there's a few hints easy to be recognized as such but even knowing the whole picture doesn't help this time as it gives no idea about where the real danger is.
  • Episode 11: (+) Lots of melancholy, but still nothing really happens, except for a few more hints - boy has this story changed its tone! And I second Stretch about the unexpected twist at the end, plus the strange reaction of the townsfolk to it in the final episode.
  • Episode 12: (-) Good grief - the author really traded his battle of wits story for a mere romance! Can we call this a matter of diminishing ↗Marginal utility? It's not that I couldn't understand Lawrence but... well, Horo is so right about how people are changing.
Just when I was able to accept that capricious wolf for what she is, her knight acts dilettante despite having guessed the whole scheme correctly. There's so many things that went wrong in this second arc but our hero turning into a sissy who lost the fight when he was already in control... that arrogance was certainly the worst thing here, followed closely by the ending right in the middle of nowhere and the overly preachy message. It's frustrating how the ↗Wall Street of anime lost nearly all of its power towards the end for the mere sake of being much like any other series about a man and a woman.

Last updated Thursday, March 03 2011. Created Sunday, February 27 2011.
Buy 9 9 9 9 8 8 Dreamer [series:2063#2279]
Having watched and enjoyed the first season, I picked this one up expecting the same. It didn't let me down.

Art, Animation & Character Designs
Artwork was just beautiful and spectacular. The vibrant colors and extremely rich details just brings alive the backdrops and the animation. Speaking of the animation, it was really smooth and fluid-like. Character designs were top notch. Well done, highly detailed and Horo was just uber cute! Loved her character.

The OP was a nice, gentle, almost celtic-lullaby piece with female vocals. It was actually soothing and enjoyable. The rest of the soundtrack had some good medieval style music and effects. The ED was equally as good as the OP, nice, soothing and a gentle lullaby.

Series and Episode Story
The episodic stories were mild and easy going. There's really no action here and not much goes on in terms of plot development. You have instead some nice, relaxing and enjoyable stories per episode, and mostly regarding merchant transactions, trades and dialogue. If it sounds pretty boring, quite surprisingly it isn't. It still somehow finds itself to be presentable and likeable to the audience. Horo was just uber cute and super likeable as a character.

It's interesting watching the relationship build between Horo and Lawrence more so here compared to the first series. The chemistry between them is just amazing and probably one of the best I've seen to date. It's a gradual build with words and almost real-world scenarios, like small arguements, interesting, playful & smart chatter about small things and of course, their ongoing travels. Oh, and Horo is absolutely and uber kawaii.

Overall, it's an easy-paced and enjoyable series to watch. Most the stories, rather all the stories revolves around merchant related adventures and dialogue. The way it ended, which was wide open for a new season will keep you wanting to definitely not miss it. Oh, have I mentioned how uber kawaii Horo is?

Last updated Tuesday, December 22 2009. Created Tuesday, December 22 2009.
Watch Stretch [series:2063#628]
(All episodes watched):

Lawrence has vowed to help Horo find her way back to her homeland in the North, and goes shopping for information among unconventional sources. I've got a feeling this will get him into trouble with the authorities (especially the church). Also, a young man takes a shine to Horo, but rumor has it that he may be trouble as well. So far, this looks like a direct continuation of the original series, using the same technique of slowly building up pressure via complex political and social factors until something has to give. An unnerving bit was Lawrence hearing tales which remind us that Horo's sharp tongue isn't necessarily the most dangerous thing about her.

As in the first season, it's difficult to tell exactly what's going on; something about they have made up a story about Horo owing Lawrence a lot of money, and Amarty has offered to pay it off in hopes that Horo will marry him. But isn't that kind of dishonest? Also, what doesn't make sense is the way Horo seems to suffer a complete loss of confidence in Lawrence, all because of an unconfirmed tale regarding her homeland. Becoming anxious would be one thing, but becoming convinced that she has been decieved all along is quite another; it's like all the character development so far (including the first season) is discarded at one stroke. And since Amarty has no idea that Horo is actually a pagan goddess, there didn't seem much chance of a serious romance between them. It just seemed unconvincing.

The only explanation I could think of was that Horo was faking all of this, and had clever plans of her own which Lawrence must not know about. Maybe the story of Horo being in debt was necessary to give Lawrence some money to work with in this arc, otherwise he'd have quickly been reduced to poverty. Anyway, after her inexplicable change of mind is gotten out of the way, the story resumes being interesting. You may need a degree in economics to fully understand how the wheeling and dealing is going about, however. For instance, why is Lawrence shocked to recieve a partial payment in gold? Has his plan already failed? To be honest, at the end of the arc I still didn't completely understand what had happened and why. Horo explaining her side of it all afterwards made some sense; it would be nice if I could figure it out myself during the actual climax, though. Horo and Lawrence seem all chummy again at the start of episode seven, almost as if the first arc had never taken place. She explains what happened as being "entirely because you got all worked up on your own", which has nothing to do with him hiding information from her or trying to make some fast cash at her risk. Basically, Horo seems to shrug off her loss of confidence in Lawrence as easily as she originally adopted it, which again seems unconvincing. Oh well, let's move on to the next arc...

With one arc left to go, and the fact that few series get a third season, I'm not expecting much of a resolution to Horo's search for her homeland or her romance with Lawrence. The business scheme in this arc, or more acurately why the characters felt the way they did as it went on, made more sense to me. Perhaps this was because Horo approves of it even though she'll again be placed at risk. However, one thing that is always bugging me is that it's hard to see why I should worry about her. Even if she is sold up the river, she if a Wolf Goddess after all, and could always transform and rip anybody who is harming her to pieces. I could be wrong, but I have a vague feeling that this supernatural capability of hers is going underused--I'd kind of like to see somebody evil piss their pants when they realize who she really is. The worst thing that could happen to Horo would be having her feelings hurt if something went wrong with her relationship with Lawrence. She suggests that it might be best to quit their companionship while they are ahead; what message am I supposed to get from this? Does she fear becoming a handicap to Lawrence when he may be on the verge of realizing his dream?

It took a while for things to reach a crisis in this arc. Not until the very end of the next-to-last episode did the threat appear, and it was a completely unexpected one with no apparent link to the story up to that point. Why did the deal go ahead while there was rioting in the streets? What had Lawrence been "hiding" from Horo? What was Abe thinking? This is one of those frustrating shows where at the end I think I vaguely understand what has happened, but I can't be certain. It was a fairly happy ending, but it went without saying that that would be the case. I can't really feel all that good about the outcome because I feel considerably confused. In other words, this final arc was pretty much like every arc of Spice and Wolf.

Last updated Saturday, December 26 2009. Created Tuesday, November 24 2009.
Buy 9 8 9 9 8 9 Ggultra2764 [series:2063#1552]
The first season of Spice and Wolf was one of the few 2008 anime titles that I enjoyed. So seeing the second season to this series was an obvious choice for me this year and just like last year, Spice and Wolf II is definitely on my list of the few 2009 anime titles that I'm enjoying. Like the first season, Spice and Wolf II continues it focus on the bond between Horo and Lawrence, the medieval economics that Lawrence engages in and the various people Horo and Lawrence come across on their journey. However, this season puts a more romantic light on the relationship between our two main characters where the two arcs within this series place Lawrence in situations that test his bond with Horo and make him wonder what sort of feelings he has for the Wise Wolf of Yoitsu. In both instances, Horo gets caught in the middle of Lawrence's bargaining with the major character of an arc which places Lawrence in a situation where his dreams to settle down with a town business would be a reality. Thus, Lawrence has to decide which is more important: the profits he can gain or Horo? Horo's thoughts on the situations faced are even brought up, especially her fears of the different life spans she and Lawrence have if their relationship became more intimate. Besides Horo and Lawrence, the people they interact with have enough personality and depth where you get a sense of the type of people they are as they are around to support or hinder Lawrence's goals in both arcs of the series.

Even while animated by a different studio, Spice and Wolf II still retains the rich color and lively details for scenery and character designs of the first season. Of the 2009 titles I've come across thus far, it's one of the best-looking ones I've come across on the visual front. The soundtrack's definitely the best I've heard for the year thus far featuring insert songs that do well to complement the different moods present in the tense and light-hearted moments of the series. The OP and ED songs also do a great job at capturing the mood of this series.

With its continued focus on Horo and Lawrence's bond plus the interactions they have with other characters, Spice and Wolf once again delights me for a second season. It's a shame that there aren't too many titles within the past couple years that can match up to the quality of storytelling and character chemistry that both seasons of Spice and Wolf have been able to convey for me.

Last updated Friday, September 25 2009. Created Friday, September 25 2009.
Buy 9 9 9 9 9 10 Silence [series:2063#2939]
All episodes watched

Excellence is written all over this series from the very first episode. In this season, we explore the relationship between Lawrence and Horo in depth, bringing up fears of Horo being too dependent on Lawrence, and would be devasted by Lawrence's short lifespan. We also see Lawrence having to choose between his dream and Horo, who will definitely leave him one day. This season exceeds the previous one in intensity. While last season had fear underlying most moments, actual threats are few and far between. This season had action everywhere, with a very real threat of losing Horo. The competition between Lawrence and Amarty was especially good, making those episodes full of excitement. The final arc was splendid, bringing a perfect conclusion with Lawrence making a very difficult choice, and finally verbally confessing his love.

The chemistry between the two characters is phenomenal, with lively chatter and jesting as well as subtle signs of affection. I think the only title this year that rivals this chemistry is Eden of the East. Character is hence a 9. The episodes are very intense, kept me glued to the screen and anticipating the next episode. The music was awesome, art and animation are great. No complains at all. There is nothing to add or take away from this to make it better. What better accolade can I give? A definite buy.

(Come on, announce season 3 soon!)

Last updated Saturday, October 10 2009. Created Saturday, July 18 2009.

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