Headline: A little more Sweet and Sour
Originally posted August 16, 2014
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Like the first season, I had already seen all of the episodes of Spice and Wolf 2, prior to purchasing the series on Amazon. And like the first season I bought the DVD for the same reasons. The historic setting, mystical elements and memorable characters make it a change from the usual ‘science fiction, big fight scene, horrific monsters are trying to take over the world’ animes that fans are so used to watching. It’s certainly one of the more charming series that Funimation Entertainment has dubbed into English. (I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Brina Palencia is just perfect as the voice of Holo.)
I have given Spice and Wolf 2 3/5 stars because it serves well as an extension of the first series, but I also feel it’s about as far as Spice and Wolf can go as an anime.
What’s good about the second season is it retains many of the good elements from the first, including the personalities of its two main characters. Lawrence is still the strong-willed merchant who spends his time making profits and accompanying his companion to the north, while Holo is still the witty, unpredictable “wise wolf“, who teases Lawrence and says some of the most ingenious things, e.g. “Men are onions. Many layers and all of them make you cry.” (Episode 12)
However, the second season also retains many of the problems from the first series. Plot-lines are drawn out over many episodes – making progress feel slow – and the complexity of marketing, sales and profits means you still have to pay extra close attention to understand half of what’s going on.
But what makes this season different from the first is the relationship between Lawrence and Holo. They make more flirty and flattering remarks towards each other (sometimes directly), and even the opening credits reflect their growing affection. Their feelings are tested and developed throughout the 12/13 episodes, and by the end of the season they confess their true feelings for one another. Whilst this did add more charm to the series, I also feel it’s the reason a third season can never be made. This is because Holo and Lawrence’s relationship was mostly professional in the first season. With it becoming a romantic relationship, it felt to me like any other boy-girl/man-woman anime, with little more that could be developed about the characters.
On a positive side though, the second series does offer new things the first season didn’t. Including an opening theme that’s more mood-lifting – rather than depressing – and special features where Holo teaches you about bread, wine and stretching.
My recommendations for Spice and Wolf 2 are the same as for the first season: people who are looking for an anime that’s different, or fans of Funimation Entertainment. However, unlike the first season, if you want a series that has some level of romance in it then this is probably for you as well. Just be prepared to listen to everything.
When I reviewed Spice and Wolf Season 2, it wasn’t much different from my review of Season 1. Namely, because there wasn’t much difference to talk about. The story, characters and episodes felt exactly the same, so I didn’t try too hard to distinguish the two reviews – I even repeated some things word for word. Today I’d probably discuss the two seasons’ story arcs in better detail, so there’d be more individuality to them.
Also, like Season 1, this review had its fair share of mistakes. I shouldn’t have called the anime Spice and Wolf 2, since that’s not really the title. Plus, it’s clear throughout the review I didn’t know what the difference was between a series and a season – even today I’m not quite sure.
Unlike Season 1 though, I gave personal comments on how well the anime performed compared to its predecessor. It was also the first time I quoted lines from the episodes themselves, to show readers what I was talking about rather than just telling them.
Overall, I think I did a good job of summarising Spice and Wolf here – maybe even more so than Season 1.
Let me know what you thought of this review in the comments below. Also, see my review of Spice and Wolf (Season 1).
(Image courtesy of http://spiceandwolf.wikia.com/wiki/List_of_Spice_and_Wolf_Episodes)