Review by: Brenda Gregson
Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: $69.98 US (Blu-ray + DVD)
Running Time: 325 minutes
Rating: TV 14
Release Date: Available Now
The journey continues but the vistas aren’t the only thing that changes.
It’s been a long while since last we seen the quick-minded merchant named Craft Lawrence and his companion with a furry tail and pointy ears named Holo. Their meeting and budding romance is the stuff of beautiful fairy tales and it’s part of the reason we have come to really enjoy the first season of this series. Now, Season 2 of Spice and Wolf is finally here as the story continues with the same charming elegance and delightful storytelling that made the first season so irresistible.
Maybe it was Craft Lawrence’s good-nature or his brilliance when it came to making a good deal that caught the eye of a wolf deity known throughout the land as Holo the Wise. Together, the kind young man and the beautiful immortal girl (who can transform into a giant wolf) travel together in hopes of finding Holo’s village of Yoitz. Of course, their journey wasn’t without a few bumps along the way but the two make a great team.
On their continued journey, they stop to eat in a quaint little town when they run into the cute sheepherder named Nora. It’s clear that Lawrence is happy to see the girl that accompanied them on a job not that long ago but Holo isn’t liking their banter and they way they‘re looking at each another. In fact, it’s obvious that she’s jealous … so much so that she gets embarrassingly drunk to hide the fact that she’s jealous.
Still, there are more pressing matters on Holo’s mind thanks to a series of dreams she keeps having of being around Lawrence. She dreams of embracing him and of their happy days on the road but one dream in particular worries her and that is her finally finding Yoitz but also realizing that Lawrence doesn’t have the same luxury of time that she does. The very thought of not being around Lawrence begins to scare her as we can see that she becomes excited whenever he walks into a room.
They reach a city called Kumersun that is a tad funny about religion but Lawrence has a good merchant friend there who is awaiting the younger man’s business. It is outside the city gates that the pair meet a boy named Fermi Amarty who just so happens to be a merchant as well. He’s a friendly and smart kid but the minute he catches sight of Holo he is instantly smitten by her beauty.
A lot happens in Kumersun as Lawrence encounters a most unusual and beautiful young woman named Dian Rubens who happens to know a thing or two about folkloric legends involving Holo. It is through her that Lawrence makes some interesting rumors about Yoitz … one good and the other somewhat grim. Meanwhile, the city is going through a boom in the buying and selling of fool’s gold and an argument between Holo and Lawrence has Amarty jumping at the chance to take Holo away from Lawrence and marry her. So begins a battle of wits and merchant sense between Lawrence and Amarty that makes things interesting.
With a surprising twist to that part of the story, Lawrence and Holo find themselves traveling on again with the tip that Dian gave him about the possible location of Yoitz. They are also pointed to a chronicler named Rigoro who might have a record of the place it might be found only to find themselves wrapped up in another merchant problem as the fur trade is expected to collapse. They meet a mysterious female merchant named Eve who comes up with a scheme involving Holo that turns out to be a risky venture that quickly turns sour very quickly.
As interesting as the merchant problems in both cities are and their aftermath two very unexpected turn of events, it’s the slowly changing relationship between Holo and Lawrence that makes this an even more endearing chapter. As they draw closer to revealing their feelings for each another, it’s their obvious longing to be near each another that makes their relationship touching. When Holo begins to realize that their latest destination could reward Lawrence with his own store, she feels conflicted about their arrangement. Does she continue on with Lawrence for pure selfishness or will she let him go to make his dream come true?
In the end, Season Two of Spice and Wolf remains to be just as engaging and delightfully fun to watch as the first season. It’s quickly becoming one of those enchanting fables that make anime like this so powerfully endearing that you will not forget the story or the characters long after you stop watching. If there’s a Season Three in the works, consider us hooked to the very end.
BLU-RAY REVIEW BREAKDOWN
The beautiful wolf deity Holo and her traveling merchant companion Lawrence continue on their journey towards Holo’s home of Yoitz. Along the way, though, they get caught up in merchant affairs that lead to some interesting developments such as a boy who falls deeply in love with Holo. Meanwhile, both come upon some troublesome rumors concerning Yoitz and Lawrence comes close to realizing his dream that might very well lead to their parting.
VIDEO QUALITY: A+
Spice and Wolf is the kind of series that needed to be on Blu-ray seeing as the animation is simply gorgeous and colorful. The backgrounds really stand out in this series as does the character designs so you’ll be glad FUNimation decided to offer both a Blu-ray and DVD version.
AUDIO QUALITY: A+
The music in this series by Yuji Yoshino is outstanding and fits the series perfectly and the opening is really good but it’s the closing theme song, “Perfect World” by ROCKY CHACK that will be a fan favorite. Then there’s the Japanese voice cast that is wonderfully endearing but, I have to admit, that Brina Palencia (as Holo) and J. Michael Tatum (as Lawrence) are absolutely sublime.
Having the option of watching this second season on Blu-ray or DVD is a nice choice and, yes, the crisp clear Blu-ray picture is the way you should be watching Spice and Wolf. Then there are the extras that include textless opening and closing theme songs and a number of FUNimation trailers.
Then there are the two short features in its original Japanese language track featuring Holo. In the “Studying with Holo” feature, we are offered a short lecture on the world of Spice and Wolf … particularly it tasty bread that Holo seems to enjoy so much. Then, in the “Stretching with Holo” feature, Holo goes through a number of real (and wolf only) stretching exercises. These two features are light fun since Holo is cute in them.
Still an endearing and thoroughly entertaining series, Season Two of Spice and Wolf continues to capture the magic of the first part of a series to the point that you can’t help but fall under its spell. While this second season doesn’t change things all that much, you will still find yourself enjoying the slowly evolving relationship between a young man and a wolf deity who desperately need each another. Here’s hoping we get a third season.
Review copy provided by FUNimation Entertainment