With several profitable negotiations under their belt, Lawrence and Horo have proven to be an effective team- but should they classify themselves as friends, business partners or something more? One thing’s for sure- the bond between them will be tested to the limit in their next few negotiations. Will Lawrence ever realise his dream of opening a shop? Can Horo really find clues about her distant home? And will one person’s dream involve another’s sacrifice?
Although not without its flaws, the original series of Spice and Wolf nonetheless managed to be a captivating and memorable experience, and with plenty more content available from later novels, a second season of the anime could only be a good thing. Once again, however, the series was a mixed bag- imperfect when examined up close, but entirely enjoyable if you chose to sit back and go with the flow.
Although trading and negotiation continue to play an important role in the series, this season takes the opportunity to put the relationship between the main characters under the microscope. Once again, Horo cannot help but take the spotlight; at once wise and naïve, egotistical yet insecure, her changes in mood can sometimes happen too quickly to follow- both for the audience and for the long-suffering Lawrence. Along the way, however, he inevitably comes to realise what she means to him; fear not, however, for far from marking a rut for this particular character dynamic, there is much life in it yet.
With Horo and Lawrence dominating the show, there isn’t a chance to develop much in the way of a supporting cast, with recurring characters taking highly plot motivated roles rather than being developed in their own right. Still, the world of Spice & Wolf hangs together well in its own right, although don’t expect following the twists and turns of the logic and economics of the series to become any easier. A world where a loss can apparently equate to a huge profit may be good news for politicians trying to deal with the current economic situation, but it’s unlikely to make any sense to the rest of us!
Despite some staff changes on the animation side, Spice and Wolf retains its characteristic bucolic look and feel for this season. Production values are consistent overall over both seasons, with few chances to complain.
A worthy successor to the first season, Spice and Wolf may not be perfect, but it always proves interesting and entertaining. Here’s to many more adventures with Lawrence and Horo- be they in animated, manga or novel form.