Spice and Wolf, season 2 – Ending the season with a bang

Holy cow. While it wasn’t perfect, this episode delivered a little bit of everything. Powerhouse performances from Jun Fukuyama and Ami Koshimizu. Betrayal and intrigue. Lawrence pulling off his best Lelouch act. Angry Horo. Crying Horo. Deredere Horo. Lawrence’s confession. A kiss between the two(!) Seriously, there was a little bit for everyone. The only major knock is that the shoddy animation that became prevalent towards the latter half of the season continued here.

Continuing the fur tradeHoro accepts fate

I must say, I was rather confused by Lawrence’s actions at the beginning of the episode. Fruhl reveals that she’s still planning to move forward with their plan, but require some extra precautions on their part. Lawrence agrees to continue the deal. Horo knows that Lawrence realizes how much more riskier this deal got, then asks him what he’s hiding. Lawrence reluctantly explains that if he succeeds, Horo will part with him. If he fails, Horo will refuse to be bought and escape as a wolf, leaving him behind. Then both him and Horo agree that it’s not worth throwing it all away to gamble on a single thread of hope. Then Horo asks him if he thinks she’d be happy with that. When Lawrence replies yes, she smacks him in the face. Ok, I’m confused. Does Horo want him to do the deal? Or not?

I couldn’t figure out if Lawrence and Horo were agreeing or disagreeing. From Horo’s perspective it sounded like she was saying the deal wasn’t worth it. Lawrence seemed to agree. But then for some strange reason, he still planned to go forward with the deal. After watching that scene about 4 times, I think I finally got that while Lawrence agreed that the deal was too risky, he thought what Horo really wanted was for him to chase his dream. Even if it meant that she would leave and travel alone. And since Horo doesn’t disagree with him, he’s willing to take the risk. That’s my interpretation. I very well could be off. Let me know if I am.

Horo gets pawned offLawrence is unhappy

So with the two in agreement. Lawrence heads back and pawns off Horo as a noble. As he races with the large sack of money to meet with Fruhl, he thinks about how close he is to achieving his dream, but wonders if it was the right decision, and why he isn’t happy.

Fruhl's secret stashFruhl and Lawrence's distrust

When Lawrence arrives, he sees Fruhl sneak a pouch of money into her purse. And then the negotiations then break down. Lawrence questions Fruhl’s lack of nerve. And Fruhl makes references to the cost of a life being nothing compared to the amount of money in the bags they have. With so much at stake, the distrust between the two is now at a head.

Fruhl has devious plansFruhl attacks

Maybe I shouldn’t have been, but I was shocked when Fruhl attacked Lawrence. Rigolo trusted her. The shopkeeper trusted her. But perhaps I should have put more stock into Horo’s intuition. Lawrence luckily saves himself from both attacks (first the hatchet then the knife), and then launches into Lelouch mode.

Lawrence counters FruhlFruhl attacks Lawrence again

Lawrence then handcuffs Fruhl and explains his realization. While Fruhl may not have outright lied to him before, she hadn’t told him the whole truth. The big revelation was that the "stone statues" were really just a front for smuggling rock salt, which allowed her and the church to reap huge profits, eventually leading to her getting connections with the bishop. It was during this time, she and the church realized that the ones who could make the most from a cash-only dealing of furs was the church. So Fruhl began scheming. But when the church started to cut her out, she realized she needed a partner to keep them honest. I’m not completely sure about the logic behind that, but I think it’s because she’s guessing that the church isn’t going to risk snuffing her out if they know there’s another person who can capitalize and make the deal happen. But Lawrence realizes the size of the deal has driven her mad. And that she planned to buy out the furs using her secret stash of money and scam him out of his sack of money. Lawrence wonders why she’d be risking herself to do, even if it was for a substantial amount of money.

I was very impressed by Lelouch’s Lawrence’s deduction powers. He definitely figured out the smuggling plot in advance of the deal, but I wonder if he would’ve been as suspicious about Fruhl if he hadn’t seen her sneaking the secret sack into her bag. Either way, it’s interesting he didn’t reveal any of this to Horo. Would she have gone through with her part of the deal if she had known that?

spice-and-wolf-11Lawrence wakes from the dead

I am much less impressed by Lawrence’s ability to stay out of harm’s way. Although I wonder if he let himself be robbed. He didn’t seem distraught about losing the massive sack of gold, and later suggests that through various wheelings and dealings he was able to secure the Innkeeper’s building. Was he intending to use that as collateral to buy Horo back from the beginning? Did he not want to keep the gold, because he knew if he still had the Inn, Horo would then leave him? So then, was this whole exercise about making sure he chased his dream and failed, so that Horo could continue traveling with him with no regrets? If so, it seems like a very convoluted and dangerous method to go about doing that. And I assume Fruhl left behind the deed to the Inn for Lawrence. Was that her final good deed for him? Or was there a possibility for him to not have gotten ownership of the Inn?

Horo's tail is all bushyHoro will change fate

When Lawrence returns to tell Horo that the deal has fallen through and that he has been robbed, Ami Koshimizu puts in the perfect amount of rage and disbelief behind Horo’s voice. Also, while the animation of the episode was slipshod, I thought the attention to Horo’s tail was fantastic. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it that puffed up and large. I know that puffed up tails mean the tail-owner is angry, shocked or nervous based on Calvin & Hobbes. Horo then thinks Lawrence wants her to use her wolf form to get his money back.

Horo criesLawrence loves Horo

Until he stops her. He reveals to her that he was able to trade the Inn to buy her back. We get a true confession, where Lawrence admits he loves Horo. And that in the end, all he wants is to escape the town with her. Horo’s reaction is a mix of anger and sorrow. I think partly out of frustration knowing that Lawrence’s dream is shattered for now, and also in knowing that she’s going to have to continue to face her fear. Again, I thought Koshimizu did a fantastic job portraying just the perfect mix of emotions.

Lawrence's long awaited kiss with HoroHoro falls in love

And then we finally get a long-awaited kiss scene between the two, although it’s a little surprising how anti-climactic they made what should be a huge event. I didn’t dislike the way they set it up, because I think I actually prefer how they downplayed it versus having like a swell of romantic strings in the background, but I was disappointed with the animation of that scene. Not that I want to see a big sloppy kiss in excruciating detail, but the way they drew it, it just looked like Lawrence’s face was resting on top of Horo’s face. They really should’ve put a little more effort into animating that.

Of course, Horo plays it cool to the end. But lines like, "you have to take responsibility" serve as a kind of double entendre to show that she is indeed in Lawrence’s hands.

Lawrence and Horo in the snowBarmaid-chan barricading the door

I do love how they animated Horo and Lawrence’s final scene. The sound direction in this anime has been tremendous. The soft lights, the falling slow, the lack of dialogue, the clanging bells and the environmental sounds ended the show on such a deliciously moody note. I also got some lulz out of seeing barmaid-chan in anti-government spook pots and pan gear, barricading the door. I’ll miss her.

Color me shocked. They actually were able to wrap this storyline up without it feeling rushed. And it was full of surprises along the way. This has been a wild ride of a season, with great performances by the cast, crazy, convoluted stories, and some very strong character and relationship development between Lawrence and Horo. If a third season does come along, they’re going to have some tough shoes to fill. The best part about Spice and Wolf is the relationship and dialogue between Horo and Lawrence. But like Horo mentioned a couple episodes back, everything’s electric in the beginning, but eventually, it all fades away until all you’re left with dull memories. The challenge with Spice and Wolf will be continuing to evolve the relationship between Horo and Lawrence and not letting it get stale or formulaic. I hope we get a chance to see them take their best shot though.

Bravo to Brains Base for a fantastic season! Much thanks to Mazui for being so quick with the subs. And much love to everyone that stopped by to read my posts and leave comments. The community really does make watching anime a more fun experience. I’m going to miss this show, it’s been a great ride. See ya in season 3! (I hope :D)

20 Replies to “Spice and Wolf, season 2 – Ending the season with a bang”

  1. Spice & Wolf is a strange series. I’d liken most anime to popping a few candies into your mouth, but this feels more like taking a slow drink from a cup of hot cocoa. It had low tension for season finale, yet it still felt important & revolutionary. Spice & Wolf is one of the most downplayed animes I’ve ever watched.

    Horo continues to elude my predictions about her behavior, but it doesn’t feel erratic; it feels more like I’m underestimating her personality’s complexity. Every interaction, rather than reaffirming my decisions about her, causes me to reevaluate those decisions. I haven’t seen many characters that could do that, or keep it up for this long.

    And Lawrence finally managed to pick up the ball and run with it. He had been smart in fits & bursts before, but this was the first time he managed to piece everything together. And he did it while being attacked, managing to have the advantage until the very end.

    As for the deed, I think it was Fruhl’s final good deed. She had a small change of heart somewhere during the battle, perhaps after she admitted she was following the same path that destroyed her husband for the same reasons. She didn’t need to kill him, she didn’t need the near-worthless (to her) deed. Remember, Lawrence was the first person in a while she could truly talk to as herself. The first arc of the season discussed the loneliness of the traveling merchant and how important it was to have someone there with you. For a fleeting moment, Lawrence was that someone for Fruhl. I think sparing his life and the deed were a small token of thanks for being there. (Also, look at the scene right before he gets knocked out and tell me there isn’t any sexual undertones to that. I think deep down, Fruhl wants Lawrence too.)

    I didn’t even really notice the animation, I was so engrossed in the story and dialogue. I’m also wondering how they’ll manage to top that next season. Pity we have to wait another year for it; Lawrence & Horo have my best nomination for best couple in an anime.

    1. Very nice analogy. I think the atmosphere for Spice and Wolf is similar to the atmosphere in Aria, a laid-back, slowly unfolding world. But like you mention, some of the drama, the music and the hint of fantasy gives the story a certain kind of power.

      After thinking about it, I think your spot on about Fruhl. Lawrence’s is lucky he stopped Fruhl’s initial attacks in more ways than one. Besides the obvious physical injury, if he hadn’t caught Fruhl there, like you mentioned, she might not have had that change of heart. Resulting in the screwing over of Horo as well.

      You know, I wondered about that scene where Fruhl seductively lays over Lawrence. Lawrence has been on the receiving end of something like that quite a bit, but Fruhl’s move was the one where I thought there wasn’t a sexual motive involved, at least not in an attraction sense. Rather, I thought that was a show of her power – sexuality being a part of it. I just get the impression from the way she talks about the way she was sold into marriage, that she has a strong resentment against men. And she relishes that one moment where she knows she’s got the upper hand.

      Hmm, best couple, best couple. They need a SaiMoe for best couple. They’re definitely up there though. :p

      1. Mm, perhaps not. Maybe I’m just used to every female in the series threatening a romantic relation with Lawrence.

        As for his ability to stay out of harm’s way, I think it was pretty decent this go-round. It’s tough fighting someone wielding a weapon with your bare fists, and I was surprised Lawrence managed to come out on top twice in a row. I’d chalk it up to him not knowing what to do next with her. I doubt Lawrence would’ve killed her, and he’d probably hesitate before knocking out a woman. Fighting off wolves is one thing, clobbering someone senseless is another thing entirely.

    2. Of course, you may not read this as you posted in 2009, but I totally agree that Spice and Wolf was in a way, emotionally connecting to the viewer, reader or just anime watcher. As you can probably tell, it is quite unfortunate that more episodes or novels didn’t come out the next year prior to your email, but the author has been caught up with other works. The press company for Spice and Wolf have teased there may be a change in schedule though, but we all shouldn’t keep our hopes up, should we? They intend to (if anything) release an OVA for the story followers. I hope some of this information was helpful, but I do thank both you and the writer of this reflection page for your inputs. I hope Spice and Wolf does continue sometime.

  2. Best anime couple? I can’t decide between Horo and Lawrence or Nodame and Chiaki.

    I totally misinterpreted the ending. I failed to connect the dots with the deed and that Lawrence had bought back Horo using that. I had thought he had just walked out of the place with Horo (priests being too bust defending themselves in the riot) to try chase after Fruhl to get the money back. But now it makes far more sense, hurrah for anime blogs! But does Lawrence have any money anymore? Or even any goods left to sell? Heck, didn’t they show a scene where his horse was missing? All he has left is his cart and a sexy wolf goddess.

    Twas a great season indeed, slightly better than the first season but I’m not sure how much of that was down to Brains Base and just down to better source material and natural progression of the story.

    Loved reading your posts on Spice and Wolf. Bring on Season 3!
    .-= Scamp´s last blog ..Hetalia Axis Powers episode 35 + Hetalia feature length movie? =-.

    1. Hmm, I’m gonna give the slight nod to Nodame and Chiaki, just because I think there’s a little more balance there. But Horo x Lawrence win the style points by far.

      lol, I’m going to guess that both Lawrence’s horse and goods are gone. Heck, that cart should be gone too, right? But he should still have a pretty good chunk of change left – there’s the money that he suggested going back to the other town for, but didn’t do, because he ended up selling Horo. But I’m going to guess a lot of that money is going to be spent on buying a new horse and cart.

      I’m really interested to see what the future novels hold. Baka-tsuki had translated the first four, but it looks like there hasn’t been any updates in a while. At least ever since it was announced that the novels were licensed and going to be released in the US (although the release schedule is ridiculously slow). I really gotta learn me some Japanese.

      And thanks for the compliments! They were fun to write. 😀

  3. I really like this season. They didn’t show a transformed Horo. I think that’s one of the concepts I don’t like in the show because it belongs to high fantasy type of anime. Thank goodness the author focused instead on establishing the relationship between Horo and Lawrence.

    I bet it really still comes down to what’s more important rather than the materialistic dream of having a shop.

    I don’t know but I think the twists and conflicts were rather difficult and I’m amazed the author was able to wrap it up and simplified it, without harming the plot. I think one of the things I didn’t liked the author did during the first season was that the author expanded the church arc, which made it very prolonged and dragging to watch.

    1. I definitely agree that the twists were hard to follow. I wonder if part of it was that maybe some of the subtleties were lost in translation, or because some context might’ve been cut for time.

      I actually like the transformed Horo, although I didn’t mind them not showing it this season. But with all the talk of legends and myths, I feel like it fits. In fact, one of the more revelations I thought, was back in the Amati arc, when Horo reveals that Deanna wasn’t a human. I think it’s little details like those that make me think the world they live in is a little more interesting than I could guess.

      1. Although the series was very good, and yes I was very late to watch it – and read it – compared to you, judging by all your comments on this page, I could probably tell that you’re just as enthusiastic about Spice and Wolf as many of us are. Although in the second series she barely (or never) showed her wolf form, I think that compared to the manga that her wolf form doesnt look as exotic at all, I it very unjust how different her wolf form is at some points. But hey, her human form isn’t bad at all, eh? Haha. I do await a Season 3 if that did decide to come along, but remembering that the longer the story progresses, Lawrence will be the only one getting older. I do hate to think of that point and wish that this series could continue to entertain us for many more years, but the story plot doesn’t help support the fact that the series can continue much longer anyway. How long can you create episodes based on two characters, one being an immortal 250yr old Wolf diety and one being a 25yr old travelling merchant? I really dont see much of a future for the series myself, to be quite frank.

        Although, I do hear rumors that the two do end up having a daughter, and I think that does follow up from when, but a few episodes before the season finale, Holo (or Horo from other sources) speaks softly to Lawrence asking him to “Please be gentle”. Even if the series does continue without Lawrence, we will all miss seeing him and Holo having fun and having many more sarcastic and dramatic scenes. But who knows? Maybe Holo will make Lawrence immortal somehow and the author will just run out of ideas eventually, right? If you do see and read this, could you please give a short reply just so I know you’re still interested in Spice and Wolf. It has been seven years, has it not? Hahaha, hope someone reads this and enjoys my feedback. Let there be season 3 and many more!!!!!

        1. I just finished both seasons today (: you’re not alone bud! Wow. Honestly this anime played with my emotions so much.. I don’t know how I feel about it. I loved it but.. I mean I don’t know… The uncertainty of her being immortal and not just confessing to him just kills me! But I loved the ending also. FINALLY the kiss 😀 and confession, even if it did seem a little one-sided (I’m sure it wasn’t!) what’s the news for spice and wolf?? It’s been way too long for them to do anything new for it anymore right??

          1. Glad to see I’m not the only one!! 🙂 There was a blip from the company that printed Spice and Wolf saying that the author is sadly caught up with another anime series or something? Although, they did offer the viewers/readers and OVA (Origional Video Animation) basically meaning that they might start an anime series of Spice and Wolf that strays from the written story. This was quite a while ago though, so I’m not quite sure what’ll happen. Hope this was helpful? Nice to see that people are still engaged in the amazing story. P.S Spice and Wolf is currently ranked #79 top anime in the world, thats pretty damn good considering that the anime itself looked very underbudgeted. Season 3 please? Hahahah

  4. Alot has already been said so i won’t cover old ground and i agree with just about all of it. Overall impression is that this season didn’t quite reach the dizzy hights of season 1 but it was still a cracker of a season. I agree that it’s good that they didn’t make Horo transform to wolf form all the time. Otherwise it will becomes the shows ‘free get out of jail card’ also it will make the times that it DOES happen that much more special

    Now that ‘kiss’ or should i say peck on the lips. I agree i didn’t have a problem with the set-up or the play-out but we all know how clunkly the animation has been in the lattar half of the season, but why-oh-why did they have to badly animate THAT scene!! Just pissed me off a little actually. I almost get impression they gave the last few episodes to some of the work experiance kids at the studio to hone there skills. I have no problems with that, but there has to be some quality control. I hope season 3 (if there is one) the animation isn’t so stiff.

    Now the play out. Lawrence confessed his love. Horo’s holding back still (althrough i swear she was about to confess too) that’s fine. we’ll see how it goes. But they left it as a cliffhangger. So they intend to make more, as a film, OVA or season 3. We’ll see what happens. I hope to see you guys again soon for S3

  5. yah, Horo was definitely holding back…!^^ the line where Lawrence says “I love you,” then Horo rants about him getting all foolish.. then, I was really sure, she was going to confess there, hanging with the words,”I…” then saying it with “I’ll take you on with your foolishness..” or somewhere along those lines.. that was such a cliffhanger!. but the last scene where they were clasping there hands, fingers in between.. that was to show how they wouldnt want to be separated and to show that Horo’s feelings were really mutual..TSUNDERE. hahaha. i guess.. that was cool.. LOVED IT! :love:

  6. I hate animes that end like this. Wish that third and fourth seasons would come out as well. Sad ending for me, even though they desided to go on togather ( for now )

    1. No, there is no 3rd season and since it has been 5 years since the 2nd season aired it’s safe to say it won’t happen.
      If you want the continuation and conclusion to the story though, you can pick up the light novels. There are 17 volumes in total and the anime ends with the 5th volume.

  7. for you confusion on why she smack him, it because he show an indecisiveness in in his decision on pawning holo, and she will certainly agree to do the task if it will help him getting the shop and profit.

    and also there a continuation on there ending, but that for the new season, they went to kerube or gerube to pursuit eve and his profit and encounter an unexpected new traveller.

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