Score: A-

It feels good to be back. It really feels like coming back home again with watching the remake of Spice and Wolf. I didn’t cover the original series since the first season aired back in 2008. Although I did cover the sequel in 2009 on the now long gone Xebek’s Blog. So it’s fun to come back just to see these characters again with the hope and chance that this time we’ll get a full adaptation. There are many volumes to go through. But I’d like to think that they wouldn’t be doing this if they weren’t going to go well past where the original ended.

The way this episode opened gives me that kind of hope. It’s the kind of opening where if you know…you know. It’s the kind of thing where I don’t even want to imply what I mean since it could give too much away. Though that in itself might be giving too much away so…who knows. I’m just happy to see this franchise back.

Good to have them back!

I can’t comment on the English dub, but I’m absolutely thrilled to have Ami Koshimizu back as Holo and Jun Fukuyama as Lawrence. It would just feel wrong to not have them here. And they do slip back into their roles just fine. You can kind of tell that almost 20 years have passed since they voiced these characters, but it still sounds right. Holo still has that sense of wisdom in her voice and can take control of a conversation if she wants to. Lawrence can be calm, clever, and terrified depending on what’s going in this episode! And it all sounds right. You can feel that sense of loneliness he has while traveling alone. And you can tell that he was truly terrified when Holo showed off her true form.

It all starts here for them. Holo is utterly worn down by how that village how views her. Lawrence is also looking a bit worn down by this life as a traveling merchant. He’s got connections, but there’s a distance being maintained. Because he isn’t part of Pasloe. If not for meeting Holo and having a crazy night he probably would have slept outside the village and not been back for another year or so. This is just the start. A convenient connection where Holo wants out of that village and Lawrence doesn’t mind taking her along.

This is the most I can do

It’s going to be impossible not to reference the original at all. So, I’m going to at least restrict myself to only comparing elements that were in this episode and avoiding looking towards the future as much as possible. So hopefully that will be good enough for those reading this. There are simply some elements that I simply can’t ignore here.

Good to see you Chloe…I mean Yarei!

One of those elements is Chloe. I’m sure someone watching only this remake would ask “who’s that?” The answer would be…a character that isn’t really in this episode! One major change in the original adaptation of Spice and Wolf was replacing Yarei with a female merchant named Chloe. I don’t think it needs to be said how that added a different sort of tension between her and Lawrence when they were chatting! No point in talking all about what Chloe talked about, but it had a slightly different tone to it. One nice thing though is if you watch as Yarei was tackled after gathering the last bundle of wheat. The girl that actually tackled Yarei looks way too similar to Chloe for it to be coincidence.

I respect that the show clearly wanted to be a more accurate adaptation. But I like the idea that they did try to sneak in Chloe as an Easter egg sort of thing. That she’s there in this version, but just in a different role. And I do appreciate what Yarei’s role seems to be. He’s really on this “forget the old legends, it’s all fake anyways” side of events. You don’t get any sense that he believes in Holo. He’s all about the power of humanity and how great things will be for them going forward. And that’s certainly ok. But it really does push Lawrence in the direction of accepting Holo as a traveling companion. Because if people really think of her like this…it’s just sad to have her continue to be restricted like she is.

A tough start…

I do respect that Lawrence is human enough to both demand Holo show her true form to make sure she isn’t some possessed girl and also that he freaked out when she did. Because people are unfair like that! It’s not unreasonable either for Lawrence to have his doubts. People are generally going to not believe they are dealing with some ancient being out of nowhere. And with the world he’s grown up in it’s completely possible from his point of view for Holo to be some possessed girl. I do think on some level he does believe that she’s for real. But it’s hard not to want some proof. Even if…that proof is pretty extreme!

Obviously it hurt Holo to deal with that. But she’s probably seen way too many people react as badly if not worse than that. Hoping for one of the very rare exceptions just is too much. I do wonder if Holo was far enough out by the time she showed her true form to just leave on her own or not. But either way I can imagine after so much time isolated in that village that she’d want to keep any friendly face around as much as possible!

Moved fast, but still good!

This was just a solid start. The pacing did feel a bit fast at times. There were a few moments when I felt like dialogue was on a “hurry it up” pace. But that might be just because I can immediately compare it to the slower pace of the original version. I can’t say it was rushed though. The episode ends at the same point as the original show’s first episode did. The difference between the two is that they fit a lot of extra dialogue into this one. The opening was different without a doubt. But we just got a lot of little details that helped further flesh out this setting.

The OP/ED combination was perfectly fine. For me there is no chance of overcoming the original. Those songs were amazing. Tabi no Tochuu may be the greatest OP song of all time for me. So it’s hard to beat that. But I think they chose a good song that will grow on me as time goes on. The ED is equally fine, but obviously it’s tough to beat the goofy Engrish of that original season’s ED. Both are worth listening to just on their own. I’m glad they did pick some solid music though for this remake since the tone and atmosphere is going to be critical for a lot of moments.

May this remake be successful and complete!

Spice and Wolf is a show where they really lean into this medieval type of setting. Lawrence is a traveling merchant just making his way through it. The difference is that Holo is anything from common place! It’s going to be tough to say whether not I’ll cover this one for the year. Part of me is very much tempted to do so. This is a hugely nostalgic franchise for me. And if this is one part of a complete adaptation (2 cours for now) it’d be quite the chance to talk about this show for a long time. Will have to see how the rest of the season plays out!

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About

An older member at 25, yet a new addition to Anime Evo. Recently graduating University and in the difficult point between school and a true career. Anime being a salvation and blogging a good way to put all those hours of writing essays to some use. Enjoys talking about series, yet not taking on so many that the quality dips. A Canadian who enjoys his anime and hearing what others think about the series he enjoys watching.

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