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[R2 DVD art]
AKA: Ōkami to Kōshinryō II, 狼と香辛料Ⅱ (Japanese)
Genre: Adventure, romance, drama, trade and economics
Length: Television series, 12 episodes, 23 minutes each
Distributor: Currently licensed by FUNimation.
Content Rating: 13+ (Violence, mature situations.)
Related Series: Spice and Wolf season 1.
Also Recommended: Spice and Wolf season 1, Snow Queen, Crest/Banner of the stars.
Notes: There's also a manga being released in 2007 in Comic Dengeki Maoh, and both it and the anime are based on a light novel by Hasekura Isuna. The manga has been licensed by Yen Press, and is slated for release in 2010.
Rating: Four StarsFour StarsFour StarsFour Stars

Spice and Wolf season 2

Synopsis

Having learned about a legend concerning her homeland, Holo and Craft continues travelling north, stopping in cities to do business. However, every step towards Holo's home comes with small hints that Holo's lands might not exist anymore. But a more immediate problem for the both of them stem from the feelings developing between the two of them.


Review

I guess that settles one of the things I was wondering about after the conclusion of season 1.

Spice and Wolf was one of the biggest surprises I've had as an anime fan last year, where the producers took a medieval society and mixed it up with what more or less amounts to furrydom and pretty much punched the living crap out of my expectations. Spice and Wolf was fun, intelligently written and just plainly worth every second I spent on it... and will continue to spend on it when the DVD set crosses the release date threshold and starts making its way to my mailbox. So, as soon as it was announced, it was clear that the second season had something to live up to.

Most of this can and will be credited to the surprisingly strong main cast. Lawrence Craft is still an intelligent young man, even though he's generally older than most anime male leads. But his general intelligence is what makes him such a good match for Holo, who is older than your average human being, and by a good margin at that. He still has his dream of owning his own store, but it's slowly becoming clear for him that it's not going to be easy -- if it's possible at all -- to include Holo in that dream.

Holo, for her part, is still as cool as a cucumber. She still loves to tease Lawrence about his generally weakness for helpless girls, even if she's gradually lessening that urge through her actions and the strength of her personality. She's also still suffering the inconvenience of her origins, since she can't really be sure who to trust with keeping that secret. Even if various circumstances has forced her to reveal it in the past, usually with the consequence of having to leave the village they were staying in as fast as they could.

And this is where my question is so swiftly settled. Like the first season, this show is divided into two main story arcs, the first one being a tense dramatical piece that asked Lawrence how he'd feel if he actually lost her. This happens when Lawrence and Holo's cover story backfires on them when Amarti, a young trader, challenges Lawrence to a merchant's duel with Holo freedom as the price. Things quickly escalate when Holo learns that her homelands might very well be destroyed, which she naturally takes very badly. The whole event then turns into a desperate race for time and trust, and even with the expectations I had thanks to the first season, this arc was not easy to get through. The ending to it made the journey worth it, though, even if it made me feel like a complete ass.

Furthermore, the second season -- much like the first -- has a fairly conclusive ending, even if it's an open one. As of this moment, a third season of Spice and Wolf isn't confirmed. Seeing as the show has gained a devoted fan following, though, I'm being optimistic about it. Also, the second season, while still centered heavily around trading, is somewhat less theoretical about it. This does help the show being more bearable, given that it's still not based on any historical events as much as just using it for a framework. The Church is, once again, partially being used as a villain, though less directly than in the first season. (Though one might argue that this aspect is more centered around people using Christianity to bolster their own lust for riches and/or power, which is certainly the way I saw it.)

Despite the change in animation production companies, the show still looks pretty much the same qualitywise. There is a good bit less action in the second season compared to the first, but the show makes up for that by throwing you into a festival of harvest taking place in the first story arc, with all the swinging and dancing to go with it. But Spice and Wolf has generally been a calm, if tensely so, show, and I don't think that will necessarily change much in the future. Then again, that's probably the reason why the show is as good as it is, and it's also why it still comes heavily recommended.

Did you like the first season? If yes, then this season will continue to slake your thirst for more. If not... then you're probably not reading this at all.Stig Høgset

Recommended Audience: While there are a few scattered moments of Holo nudity, She spends just about most of the show fully clothed this time around. Although, curiously enough, Holo's "Lady Godiva" nudity never really bothered me all that much.

Violence and such is fairly minor too, limited to a few scenes at the very end of the show. It's also ridiculously tame compared to some of the things I have seen in other mainstream shows, possibly just made a little more serious due to the general no-nonsensical attitude of the show itself.



Version(s) Viewed: Prerelease fansub
Review Status: Full (12/12)
Spice and Wolf season 2 © 2009 Brains Base, Media Works
 
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