Spice and Wolf, season 2, episode 3 – Intense. Really intense.

The range of emotions Horo displays in this episode is incredible. From the flirty, teasing moments in the beginning when she finds out about Amati’s contract, to the playful exuberance during the festival, to her complete emotional breakdown at the end – all of it exudes such an intense and energetic vibe, it’s part of what makes Horo such a great character.

Amati tries to buy HoroWelkin tears up the contract

The episode is as follows. Amati’s desire for fool’s gold last week wasn’t due to ignorance, in fact, he recognizes a tremendous opportunity to profit and jumps on it, fueling the frenzy. When Lawrence races out to meet Amati, he finds that Amati has pulled somewhat of a double-cross. He’s made an offer to relieve Horo of her debt, in order to make a love proposal to her. And he’s done it in a way where it’s almost impossible for Lawrence to turn down without losing some respect from the crowd (as Horo so sagely guesses). So Lawrence makes the deal with Amati, confident that he’s going to get the 1,000 trenni from Amati, and that Horo will choose to stick with him anyway. This is what you’d call a scheme. Amati’s proven himself to be a smart cat, but I’m surprised he didn’t tread a little more carefully. But as they say, if you want to get a man to stop thinking, put a woman in front of him. But now there’s a wager on whether Amati can come up with the 1,000 trenni, and another wager on whether or not Horo will stay with Lawrence.

Horo acting for AmatiHoro continues acting for Amati

Lawrence explains the situation to Horo, who’s amused and figures to play along. The scenes in which she pretended to act out her response were just a perfect mix of cute and funny. I was actually chuckling for the first 1/3 of this episode at Horo’s reactions and Lawrence’s scheme. I’ve mentioned it before, but the Horo-Lawrence chemistry is so fun to watch.

FestivalHoro wants to dance

Later Horo soaks in the sights and sounds of the festival, dancing and getting drunk off red wine (again). After the festival, Lawrence is on his way out the door to meet his merchant friend, Mark, when he receives a letter from Deanna with more information about Yoitsu. Horo asks about the letter with the "female" scent in his jacket pocket, at which point, Lawrence comes clean about meeting Deanna and finding more information about the location of Yoitsu.

Horo finds the letter Lawrence finds out pyrite is worth something

He leaves the letter behind with Horo and heads out. Once he meets Mark, he learns that the fortune teller’s story and the Church’s subsequent demand for the pyrite has skyrocketed the prices for it. Mark has already made a large profit from it in a short time, so he concludes that Amati’s probably raking it in. Lawrence, who repeatedly shown himself to be a mistake-prone merchant at-best, and disastrous at-worst, curses himself for not recognizing that fact and getting in on it soon. He gets a small pouchfull of pyrite and heads back to the Inn with it. This is where the fireworks begin. Probably the most intense scene in Spice and Wolf history so far.

Lawrence learns Horo can readHoro attacks Lawrence

If I was chuckling at the earlier lighthearted part of the show, I was completely mesmerized by each and every one of Horo’s words and actions during the final scene of the episode. Lawrence comes back to find Horo standing in the shadows, holding the letter in his hands. The moment he realized that she could read, the atmosphere just went *POP* and drove into crazy intense.

Horo angryHoro with red eyes

Although Lawrence didn’t read the letter, he’s not surprised to hear from Horo that Yoitsu no longer exists. Horo’s fury at his deception could burn a hole through a thousand suns. As Hashime writes, Ami Koshimizu gives a tour de force. She starts off with sadness at finding out that Yoitsu no longer exists. Then berates herself for not knowing this and acting so freely. She then attacks Lawrence, accusing him of misleading her all this time. Letting her believe in a lie, only to laugh at her pitiable ignorance behind her back.

Horo wants to mateHoro laughs insanely

I don’t know that Lawrence ever really knew how deep her fear of being alone was. If it wasn’t clear before, it should be clear as day now (unless he’s an idiot – which he is). Because she becomes totally unhinged, driven insane by her fear. Going as far as asking Lawrence to mate with her so that they could have a child together (I’m curious if this is even possible) until Lawrence cuts her off. At this point, she’s furious with Lawrence, because she knows that he’s going to get 1,000 trenni for her anyway.

The animation was uneven throughout this episode, but they did a great job animating Horo’s expressions in this last scene. Although there’s darkness shrouding all her movements, the intensity of her face, the erraticness of her movements and the sharp, glowing red eyes all add such a layer of depth to Koshimizu’s performance. You could feel the burning fire from every one of her emotions. Normally, Horo asking you to mate with her would be a turn on. But I was so startled by the shakiness of her voice and the strangeness of her movements, that I was really disturbed by that part. I’m not gonna give Lawrence much credit, but it was a good decision to cut her off there. Although it was harsh, she was headed down an insane path.

A couple other thoughts popped into mind.

One: F— Amati. There wasn’t technically anything wrong with what he did. But it felt very underhanded. Little punkass.

Two: LAWRENCE IS A DUMBASS. Why is it that every time he tries to scheme something, it always backfires disastrously in his face? Furthermore, what kind of idiot just walks out of the room after all that? I mean yeah, maybe there’s not much he could say, but the least he could do is sit in silence with her. She’s just spilled her heart out about her fear of being alone, and he just walks out? Geez, I don’t think even Welkin is that daft.

All in all, great, great episode. Horo’s clearly not going to end up with Amati, even the preview featured the faded Horo imagination colors, but next week’s episode can’t come soon enough. I hate leaving arguments hanging, and I just need to see how this gets resolved.

11 Replies to “Spice and Wolf, season 2, episode 3 – Intense. Really intense.”

  1. Ah yes I believe now is the right time to say:
    HOLY !@#% ^*&$&(
    I mean, I’ve felt something coming for a long time, but this was unexpected. And the mating thing sent chills up my spine. Yeah Lawrence was right to stop that. It was insane. I paused the episode right there and walked off for ten minutes because of the intensity.
    Also Amati…yeah I won’t feel bad at all if/when he pays up the 1000 silver and leaves with nothing. Not considering he basically cheated the townsfolk out of it to fulfill a scheme like that.
    As for Lawrence, I’m willing to cut him a little slack. Yeah he’s retarded (for one thing-always read your letters the moment they arrive. Always.), but it’s not like any of his schemes so far were horrible, it’s just that he gets shafted by bad luck for the sake of plot. And walking out is inexcusable, but justifiable-Lawrence is probably heavily shaken, and isn’t thinking right.
    Final note: Lawrence>>Welkin. Still.

  2. Well, he did manage to reach out to comfort her at the end…

    Horo herself became silent as well, as if the last bit of fuel had been burned out.
    After that, the silence continued for a good while. Just as Lawrence was about to reach out his hand again, Horo opened her mouth and spoke with a faint voice:
    “…..Sorry.”
    Slam! The deep noise flowed into Lawrence’s ears. At that moment, Horo had forcefully shut the door to her heart.

    What’s a guy to do? But yeah, Horo was going hysterical. Her face when she says “I’m in human form, let’s mate” is just crazy.

    Lawrence is stupid with relationships, but he couldn’t really do much else in that situation. On the other hand, he’s just plain stupid in business. God knows how he made a living all this time before he met Horo.

  3. Was a particular reason mentioned why Lawrence didn’t take Horo with him in his investigations to the whereabouts of Yoitsu? I thought it would have been natural to have her along, and it would have avoided the major FUBAR this episode.

    If Lawrence hasn’t realized how important finding her birthplace was to Horo and the underlying reasons for it by now, he truly would be an irredeemable dunce.
    .-= Shounen A´s last blog ..Umineko no Naku Koro ni I-IV =-.

    1. Because he already suspected the truth and was trying to hide it from her. Although, good point, that’s stupid of him. If you know you have to tell her and are putting it off, then what could be better than having her hear it from someone else?

  4. no he is not stupid. i think he’s more of unfortunate since there needs to be a plot and really, he’s the protagonist; he’s bound to have troubles ahead. surely he’s not God who can see through EVERY plan, there’s always miscalculations in his part. i think he’s amazing he can carry off plans and schemes like that in order to get away with the problems he’s struggling to get out of (of course with the help of Holo). 🙂

  5. Lawrence isn’t the dumbass here, it’s Horo. Even Mark and his *kid assistant* have noticed that Lawrence is in love with her and not acting like himself, despite barely knowing him or her. Yet she’s around him all the time, watching him blush and overreact to her flirts, and completely misses all the obvious signs that he’s madly in love with her?

    Essentially, after finally starting to watch this season I’m now very pissed off with Horo. She couldn’t even look him in the eye and give him a real apology. Her “sorry” at the end seemed sincere to me, but for her to not even stop him as he walked out of the room.. that was ice cold. It’s hard to be mad at him for leaving, because he doesn’t know anything about love, romance or women.

    In fact, I’d say that the reason that Lawrence is a bumbler as a merchant is precisely because SHE is with him. I’d like to see him acting on his own for a change, because all the signs point to him always losing because he’s thinking about Horo and not himself, or because she brings out his worst qualities. And I think we’ll finally get that chance now.

    The story practically writes itself now. Lawrence will have to give up on the 1000 gold, because he can’t let Amarti win. He can’t count on Horo at all, because he can’t even look at her, and because she’s lied to him and betrayed his trust. So we’ll finally get to see whether Lawrence is really such a bad merchant, because he’ll have to go it alone (because how likely is it that Horo will have the courage to face him?).

    In the end, she’ll probably get mad at him for going it alone and not trusting her, but because she’s Horo she’ll still have some part to play in saving the day. After all, it’s not called Fishmonger and Wolf, so we all know that at the very least that smug jackass Amarti will lose this bet (seriously, what an overconfident punk.. makes Lawrence look like a man, and that’s saying a lot).

    1. In a way your right, in the beginning of the series Lawrence was losing business cuz of Holo. Yes it’s Holo in the end that fixes the whole mess. Amati loses big time and gets scolded for trying to take another guys woman.
      And here we are, next ep and jeez their both dense..

  6. Well towards the end i have to say yes its possible for holo to have a kid with lawrence because in human for she is a woman clearly which means she has it all we just dont get to see much because its tv-14 first season and holo isnt nide through second season where is was tv-ma but yes if lawrence would have slept with her they could definatly had a kid

  7. I felt the same way about everything you just said, the story is so good, the character is so well developed, but the MC is so annoying now… at first I was cool with it, since you know he’s just starting out, but he’s so blunt, and dense and shittttt. After this episode I was unable to continue shit, even action anime isn’t this tense, I had to take a break, I don’t want her f ing with Amati, that punk ass kid.

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