22
Jan
08

Spice and Wolf (Anime Preview)

Recently my sole download source for my anime has been blocked by the local proxy (the campus internet provider is just being too stringent). There might be a possibility that I will put my anime review on hiatus until the situation is lifted off.

Welcome to the medieval age where Mother Nature is a religion, wolves are worshipped as a pagan deities, and the Church began to spread its influence throughout the whole of Europe. Yes, Spice and Wolf has that for its time setting and judging by the name, “Wolf” would probably refer to the pagan deity and “Spice” is simply the medium of trade during that era. Spice was gold then, though now money is the standardized currency. With such a setting and some obvious hints, I have much clear view of how the story would go. Furthermore this anime is an IMAGIN studio undertaking and I have high hope for IMAGIN which has affiliated to anime like Mushi-shi, Eureka 7 and Eyeshield 21. Certainly I expect great animation scope into this one and I have the feeling that this might be as good as Seirei no Moribito. I hope.

Spice and Wolf
Spice and Wolf

In the middle ages, humans had been relying on the wolf deity to provide prosperity to their wheat field but once wealth was achieved, humans began to disregard the wolf deity. Craft Lawrence is a travelling merchant and he was on his way to a village called Pasroe. He was told that the people of Pasroe is about to have a pagan festival, oblivious to the Church teachings of going against pagan worshipping. Once Lawrence arrived there, he instead was greeted warmly by the villagers. It turns out the villagers knew him well already and he then asked for a girl named Chloe who is his apprentice. The villagers told him that she may be the one chosen to be Horo for the harvest festival this time. Indeed Chloe was involved in the festival ritual as she cuts away the last stack of wheat on the field. Carrying the stack, she began running across the field while some of the participants chase her. It is all part of the ritual. Noticing Lawrence nearby, she ran towards her for a short chat then runs away before she was locked inside a storehouse. Again, it is all part of the ritual. That night, the village headman expressed his gratitude for Lawrence who opened up an opportunity for the village in the trading business. Lawrence could only think of Chloe for the good job she did as a merchant. He also told him about the village’s feudal lord, Count Eirin Dotte who really had helped them a lot. As he was about to get sleep on his wagon later that night, he noticed that someone is inside the wagon. Bracing himself, he removed the covering sheet and revealed a girl sleeping soundly among the furs. He tried to wake her up when he noticed something peculiar about the girl. She had wolf-like eyes. So she got up and began howling – one sure sign telling him that this girl is not human.

Spice and Wolf
This is the age when wolves are treated as gods.

Spice and Wolf
Lawrence and Chloe.

Spice and Wolf
“I don’t recall of getting laid last night.”

She began to ask of Lawrence for some food but he got nothing to offer her. He could only suspected that the girl is possessed by some demon and the girl came to realize that he is not a Pascoe local. She introduced herself as Horo and Lawrence could only think of Pascoe’s wolf deity who is also called Horo. She however denied herself of being known as a pagan god and revealed that she came from the North (lets say, the Arctics?), from a forest from the country of Yoitsu. She then asked Lawrence to take her back to her home forest, judging him being a nice person who won’t take no for an answer. Lawrence is still doubtful of Horo’s true identity and told her show him her true wolf form if she is who she claims to be. She refused at first because she does not like to be in the wolf form but out of Lawrence insistence, she told him that she could only change form if she is offered some blood of the living or some wheat. Giving her a bit of wheat he have, Horo ate some and suddenly her left hand began to shift shape. Lawrence was startled by this and fell off the wagon, then later Horo was already gone from his wagon. Lawrence then went back to the village headman’s house to sleep at his place (probably out of concern for his safety). As he lies down the bed, someone called out for him who claims herself to be Horo. When he opened up the window, the girl was actually Chloe. So the two went out elsewhere to have a chat. She then proposed an idea to Lawrence that they should open up a store together (business venture?) and build a house together. Saying that she has a sharp sense of business and wondered if there are some conditions to the deal, she told him that she wanted to partner up with because she admire him. However Lawrence thinks that she is too young for the trade and would need more experience. I can’t help myself to interpret their conversation differently as though they are discussing their marriage proposal.

Spice and Wolf
“Whoa! It’s a fox lady.”

Spice and Wolf
Wolves can eat wheat? I thought they’re carnivorous.

Spice and Wolf
Argh! Metamorphosis.

Spice and Wolf
Who wouldn’t be scared to see a gigantic wolf paw popping out from a petite girl.

As the two later walked back to the storehouse where Chloe would need to stay, Chloe asked Lawrence if he has a new partner in mind. He wondered if Horo is his partner but Chloe thinks it impossible because Horo couldn’t possibly exist in the first place. Lawrence went back and there he found Chloe appeared suddenly next to him on the bed. She revealed to him that she hides inside the harvested wheat during the harvest season and she couldn’t escape because there is someone who watches over. Let me get some sense into this. During the harvesting ritual, the chosen Horo takes the last stack of wheat and stayed inside the storehouse where they keep the wheat to make sure that the real Horo do not escape from the wheat as that is where Hore would be hiding. So when Chloe left the storehouse for awhile to meet Lawrence, Horo took that chance to escape and hence, meeting Lawrence later on. She told him that there is an exception to her rule she keeps. If the last harvested stack of wheat is bigger than the previous one, she can move to the bigger one. Take note of the difference between the stack of wheat that Chloe cut earlier to the stack of wheat that Lawrence keeps. So in this sense, Lawrence was the one who set Horo free, enabling her to roam free in her pseudo-human form. Lawrence came to the point to ask her why did she disappeared earlier. She then told him the story of how the human wanted her to fertilize the land they used to plant wheat but by doing so, it would give pressure to the land. So she had to give some time for the land to recover and quite often the villagers would blame her not keeping the harvest abundant. She came to realize that the villagers no longer need her and if she were to reveal her true form, the villagers would be frightened. So Lawrence ask her where she would want to go, now that she is able to roam free and she answered that she intended to return to the North. The next morning, Lawrence left the village together with Horo as he agreed to bring her back to the North. So now their journey begins.

Spice and Wolf
This won’t be their last meeting in the story, that’s for sure.

Spice and Wolf
So their adventure begins.

Oh my! It has been awhile since I watched this kind of story. You know the whole journey adventure kind of thing. I was expecting that the animators would bring out the scenery more but it is only mediocre I must say. The animation is good, not too amazing though. Probably because there is a lack of CG use in the animation but I think that won’t be necessary. If there is anything that they should keep an emphasis on is the artwork, especially the scenery drawing. The story won’t need to be so good to follow with but if they could make breathtaking sceneries, I will be wowed. As for the prospect of the story, I will keeping watching this anime because I see a potential for the story to develop. Still, it is too early to tell until episode 2 or 3 where I expect great progress in its plot. Despite of this, I wouldn’t be blogging on this anime because I have a tight schedule now and it would be difficult for me to blog many anime titles. As for my verdict on Gundam 00, I might begin blogging it on episode 17 because that would follow after episode 16 that was predicted to be a recap episode.


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Irashaimasen

Welcome to Bokutachi no Blog. That's "Our Blog" in Japanese. Our Anime Blog, to be exact. And if you landed to this page by accident, probably in search for ecchi stuff, then you should regret to have hit this page. Don't worry, this blog is children-safe and no misdemeanor acts here. Sorry, you bald, middle-aged perverts. But thanks for the hit anyway.

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