Saturday, February 16, 2008

Spice and Wolf, episode 6

It may be moving a bit slowly and I might just be wanting to like it more than it really deserves (as a friend of mine thinks with this latest episode), but I'm still very much enjoying Spice and Wolf.

The premise is unique: Horo, a wolf-god of prosperity, enters into an agreement with Lawrence, a medieval merchant, to travel north to her ancient homeland. Things get complicated when a young merchant who clearly has complicated feelings for Lawrence shows up hunting Horo to turn over to the church and usher in a new era so her village no longer needs to rely on the god's whims for prosperity. The glue that holds the show together, though, is the interaction between Lawrence and Horo - it's surprisingly compelling and sublte for an anime.

Things have progressed rather slowly so far, though, and I suspect that's part of general sense of dissatisfaction. Most of the "action" has involved economics and manipulative trading and it's taken six episodes to resolve what seemed like a minor story about currency devaluation with a climactic revelation of Horo's "true" form - and for the leads to finally commit to each other. It's the team-building scene when constantly bickering travelers can finally admit that they really do want to travel with each other, no matter what pretense they insist on.

The animation isn't particularly impressive either. Horo's giant wolf form ripping through the catacombs was pretty nice, but mainly due to subtle touches like the wind of her passing or her wantonly tossing bodies around. With a better budget or tighter direction, that scene could have been positively bone-chilling.

Spice and Wolf remains a solid, well-written and original anime, however. At worst, it can feel like it's not living up to all it could be, but I think it's really still just trying to find it's feet. It's taken a bit, but I suspect it'll be worth it in the end.

Even if she looks more like a Firefox-tan cosplayer than a big, bad wolf.

ANN : Wikipedia

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