First Look Fair: Spice and Wolf

You’re so vain/You probably think this show is about you
You’re so vain/You probably think this show is about you

This is one of the shows I actually was looking forward to in my winter preview. And, at least based on just episode 1, it’s a show that could go in many different directions depending on how the writers do it. And, for once, the comparison to Scrapped Princess isn’t so off this time!

I’d been wondering how a faux-European medieval setting (no real regions or nations are mentioned) could also accommodate a story about a wolf goddess (which seems so Japanese), and I see that the way they’ve chosen to do it is to tell a story about retreating paganism in the face of a as-yet-unspecified monotheistic religion. This isn’t far from what happened in Europe, where Christianization was often slow and filled with syncretism, even when force was employed, as it was too often. Moreover, Horo complains that the people have developed technologically enough that they no longer need her to bring in the sheaves, so to speak. The High Middle Ages did bring something of an agricultural revolution in Europe, and it seems to be set in such a time, I’m guessing.

My guess is that as Horo travels with Lawrence she will both protect him and rely on him for protection. Horo isn’t quite mischievous enough to deserve the English title the creators have given this show, “Spicy Wolf,” but she, along with Lawrence and Chloe, have plenty of room to grow. The mild, subdued tone of this show can set up either both comedy or drama, much the way Scrapped Princess and Fullmetal Alchemist did. But they can’t really hide those wolf ears of hers so easily, so I wonder what people are going to think and say…

Hungry like the…
Hungry like the…

Already we are given a goal: Horo wants to return to her homeland in the far North. However, it’s one of those vague goals that so many shows use to justify lots of meandering and loosely plotted episodes, so I’m wondering whether this show is going to be more episodic than not. (The example I’m thinking of right now is Samurai Champloo, but there are plenty of others.) In fact, unless it gets more specific or becomes like a standard fantasy quest where one has to collect a series of Items in order to fulfill a Goal, this show can definitely go on for multiple seasons. Since it’s based on a novel, I’m sure there’s plenty of source material and world building it can rely upon.

I rather like the OP, as it seems to fit the subdued mood of the show. Not so sure about the Engrish ED, and I always get wary of songs that are tied too much to plot specifics. The character designs are OK, with Lawrence looking just a little like Ginko from Mushi-shi and Horo appearing…well…naked an awful lot in this episode. One wonders even whether her character design was inspired less by a book and more by Firefox-tan. Maybe they should have gotten the Mozilla Foundation as one of the sponsors for the show! Observe:

Now you see her…
Now you see her…
…now you see her again
…now you see her again

The concept isn’t really all that original, but I’m going to be following this for a while to see if anything comes up. It seems like it has “sleeper hit” written all over it at best, and having joined a few bandwagons as of late I’d like to see if there’s anything original I can contribute for once!

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