From FUNimation Entertainment, the publisher behind anime such as Summer Wars, Rideback and Eden of the East comes the second season of Spice and Wolf, the anime based on a series of light novels by Isuna Hasekura and Ju Ayakura.
The series focuses on a young traveling merchant named Kraft Lawrence who goes from town to town selling goods in the hopes of raising enough money to open his own shop. One day as he is traveling through a small village during a festival to celebrate a pagan god named Holo in hopes of a good harvest he finds a strange girl hiding in the back of his wagon.
The girl has fox ears and a tail to Kraft’s surprise and she explains to him that she is actually the pagan god Holo that the village holds their festival for. With the village surviving on its own Holo feels that her job of providing a good harvest is done and wishes to return to the north, to a place called Yoitz. After a bit of convincing Kraft agrees to take Holo home and they begin their journey to the north as they look for Yoitz, which has faded into history after so long.
In the second season Kraft and Holo are drawing near their goal and Kraft continues to make more and more money with Holo’s help. Things get complicated though when they arrive in the town of Kumerson and a young man named Fermi Amati becomes infatuated with Holo, so much so that he challenges Kraft in order to “free her” from her debt to him. This puts a heavy strain on Holo and Kraft’s relationship, especially after Holo learns the truth about Yoitz and that Kraft had been hiding it from her, but it plays a big part in the two finally learning what they mean to one another.
After their little adventure in Kumerson the two head to the port town of Renos where they once again are caught up in a dangerous situation when Kraft is approached by a female merchant named Eve, hoping to get his help to make money by selling Holo temporarily. To Kraft’s surprise Holo wants to help him and agrees to be sold, but the two are put in a difficult situation as they soon find their partner’s greed leads to betrayal.
Season two of Spice and Wolf was interesting to watch and it offered quite a bit of drama with a nice mix of comedy. The relationship between Holo and Kraft definitely grows in this season and fans of the series will be happy to see them announce their feelings to one another.
Spice and Wolf also offers a little bit of insight into how businesses work, which was a nice touch and helps to explain to the viewer what is going on and the character’s plans. This helps the story, making it much easier to follow as the merchants plot and scheme against one another.
Visually the series looks good, all of the environments are highly detailed and the action has a nice flow. The characters also have nice designs, even though some stand out like a sore thumb (Eve). The series is offered in a Blu-ray/DVD combo and this review is based on the DVD version, so it goes without saying that the Blu-ray version will look better.
There are options for both English and Japanese voices and the Japanese cast does a great job with their characters, although the English cast matched up really well to. It is up to the viewer what version they would prefer; this reviewer spent most of his time watching the series with the English voice cast. The subtitles are all clear and easy to read and they flow well.
Included as on-disc features are the clean opening and endings, trailers and two shorts, “Studying” with Holo and “Stretching” with Holo: Yoitz Style. The studying short focuses on bread and wine while the stretching short shows a few interesting stretches anime fans can use to loosen up, though you should be careful if you actually try them or you’ll pull something.
All-in-all Spice and Wolf is a fun series that has a great blend of comedy and drama, and the supernatural theme helps to keep it interesting. The relationship between Holo and Kraft is frustrating to watch at times, though in season two it finally gets to a point that fans may be a little bit more relieved.
Fans of romantic comedy anime should definitely pick up both seasons of Spice and Wolf.
Spice and Wolf: Season 2
Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
Number of Discs: 2 DVDs/2 Blu-ray
Number of Episodes: 12
Languages: English, Japanese with English subtitles
Age Rating: TV14
Release Date: August 30th, 2011
(A review copy of Spice and Wolf season two on DVD was provided by FUNimation Entertainment.)