Spice and Wolf

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Spice and Wolf
Ookamitokoshinryo01.jpg
Spice and Wolf light novel volume 1.
狼と香辛料
(Ōkami to Kōshinryō)
Genre Adventure, Fantasy, Romance
Light novel
Written by Isuna Hasekura
Illustrated by Jū Ayakura
Published by ASCII Media Works
English publisher
Demographic Male
Imprint Dengeki Bunko
Original run February 10, 2006July 10, 2011
Volumes 17 (List of volumes)
Manga
Written by Isuna Hasekura
Illustrated by Keito Koume
Published by ASCII Media Works
English publisher
Demographic Seinen
Magazine Dengeki Maoh
Original run November 2007 – ongoing
Volumes 9 (List of volumes)
Anime television series
Directed by Takeo Takahashi
Music by Yūji Yoshino
Studio Imagin
Licensed by
Network Chiba TV, KBS, Sun-TV, Tokyo MX, TV Aichi, TV Kanagawa, TV Saitama
English network
Original run January 9, 2008March 26, 2008
Episodes 13 (12 aired) (List of episodes)
Original video animation
Directed by Takeo Takahashi
Music by Yūji Yoshino
Studio Imagin
Licensed by
Released May 30, 2008
Runtime 24 minutes
Game
Spice and Wolf: Holo's and My One Year
Developer ASCII Media Works
Publisher ASCII Media Works
Genre Business, Dating sim
Platform Nintendo DS
Released June 26, 2008
Original video animation
Directed by Takeo Takahashi
Music by Yūji Yoshino
Studio Brain's Base
Licensed by
Released April 30, 2009
Runtime 24 minutes
Anime television series
Spice and Wolf II
Directed by Takeo Takahashi
Music by Yūji Yoshino
Studio Brain's Base
Licensed by
Network Chiba TV, KBS, Sun-TV, Tokyo MX, TV Aichi, TV Kanagawa, TV Saitama
English network
Original run July 9, 2009September 24, 2009
Episodes 12 (List of episodes)
Game
Spice and Wolf: The Wind that Spans the Sea
Developer ASCII Media Works
Publisher ASCII Media Works
Genre Business, Dating sim
Platform Nintendo DS
Released September 17, 2009
Portal icon Anime and Manga portal

Spice and Wolf (狼と香辛料 Ōkami to Kōshinryō?, lit. Wolf and Spice) is a Japanese light novel series written by Isuna Hasekura, with illustrations by Jū Ayakura. ASCII Media Works published 17 novels between February 2006 and July 2011 under their Dengeki Bunko imprint. ASCII Media Works reported that as of October 2008, over 2.2 million copies of the first nine novels have been sold in Japan.[1] The series has been called a "unique fantasy" by Mainichi Shimbun due to the plot focusing on economics, trade, and peddling rather than the typical staples of fantasy such as swords and magic.[2] Yen Press licensed the light novels and is releasing them in English in North America.[3]

A manga adaptation illustrated by Keito Koume began serialization in the November 2007 issue of ASCII Media Works' seinen manga magazine Dengeki Maoh. The manga was licensed by Yen Press, which has begun releasing the volumes in English. A 12-episode anime adaptation aired between January and March 2008, plus a single original video animation (OVA) episode released in May 2008.[4][5] A second OVA was released in April 2009 as a prequel to the second anime season Spice and Wolf II, which aired 12 episodes between July and September 2009. Both anime seasons were released in English by Kadokawa Pictures USA and Funimation. Two visual novels based on the series for the Nintendo DS were released by ASCII Media Works in June 2008 and September 2009.

Plot[edit]

Spice and Wolf's story revolves around Kraft Lawrence, a 25-year-old traveling merchant who peddles various goods from town to town to make a living in a stylized historical setting with European influences.[6] His main goal in life is to gather enough money to start his own shop, and he already has been traveling for seven years while gaining experience in the trade. One night when stopped at the town of Pasloe, he finds in his wagon a pagan wolf-deity named Holo who is over 600 years old. She appears to be a 15-year-old girl, except for a wolf's tail and ears. She introduces herself as the town's goddess of harvest, who has kept it blessed with good harvests of wheat for many years. Despite her responsibility to watch over the town, she wants to go back to her homeland in the north called Yoitsu; she believes the people have already forsaken her and that she has kept her promise to maintain the good harvests. Holo wants also to travel to see how the world has changed while she has remained in one place for years. She manages to bargain her way out of the village by making a deal with Lawrence to take her with him. As they travel, her wisdom helps increase his profits, but at the same time, her true nature draws unwanted attention from the Church.

Characters[edit]

Kraft Lawrence (left) and Holo (right).
Kraft Lawrence (クラフト・ロレンス Kurafuto Rorensu?)
Voiced by: Jun Fukuyama (Japanese), J. Michael Tatum (English)
Kraft Lawrence, who chiefly goes by his surname, is a 25-year-old traveling merchant who goes from town to town buying and selling various things in order to make a living. When he was twelve, he became an apprentice to a merchant relative, and set out on his own at eighteen. His goal in life is to gather enough money to start his own shop, and he has already been traveling for seven years while gaining experience in the trade. He meets Holo one night and eventually agrees to her traveling with him. She helps him by providing her wisdom which helps to increase his profits and get him out of jams. As the series progresses, both Lawrence and Holo demonstrate a growing affection toward each other. Although Lawrence rarely shows different facial expressions, he truly cares for Holo. He shows his affection through his actions, such as when Holo gets captured by the Church and Lawrence completely panics. Lawrence mentions he has been attacked by wolves eight times.
Holo[7][8][9][N 1] (ホロ Horo?)
Voiced by: Ami Koshimizu (Japanese), Brina Palencia (English)
Holo is a wolf harvest deity originally from a place in the north known as Yoitsu, which draws parallels to the legendary land of Hyperborea. She made a promise with men from a town called Pasloe that she would ensure the town would have good wheat harvests year after year. However, as time went on, the townspeople slowly started to forsake Holo and did not rely on her as they once did. As such, Holo escapes from town in Lawrence's wagon and started traveling with him to see how much the world has changed since she has been in Pasloe. Holo has chosen the form of a girl younger than Lawrence, though she still retains her large white-tipped wolf tail, and ears. At times she can produce an ear-shattering howl. Her true form is that of a very large wolf which many people revered and feared.
She refers to herself as the "Holo The Wise Wolf" (ヨイツの賢狼 Yoitsu no Kenrō?, Wise Wolf of Yoitsu). She is typically very haughty and self-sufficient, though due to her isolation for hundreds of years in Pasloe, she gradually feels very lonely, and sometimes shows a more fragile side of herself. She relies on Lawrence for company as she fears loneliness, which is something that Lawrence is very aware of and tries to comfort her in his own way. Holo is also very aware of the different time spans that she and Lawrence have, as a human lifespan is like a blink of an eye for her kind. Holo is quite scared of that fact, but hides it with jokes. Although she jokes about her affections for Lawrence at first, she slowly but surely falls in love with him.
She has a peculiar way of speaking, modeled after that of the oiran high-class courtesans.[11] She is fond of delicious food and alcohol, but especially loves apples. She takes pride in her tail and takes special care of it, constantly combing and maintaining it.
Yarei (ヤレイ?)
Yarei is a light novel and manga-only character. He is a farmer of Pasloe and has a long history of facilitating deals with Lawrence. On the day Lawrence passes through Pasloe Yarei "catches the wolf" in the town's yearly harvest festival. Instead Holo escapes to a larger sheaf of wheat in Lawrence's wagon. When they meet again in Pazzio, Yarei certainly knows of the existence of Holo. He subsequently avows his faith in modern methods and seeks to turn her over to the Church for burning.
Chloe (クロエ Kuroe?)
Voiced by: Kaori Nazuka (Japanese), Jamie Marchi (English)
Chloe is an anime-original character. She is a villager of Pasloe and has known Lawrence for a long time. In fact, Lawrence taught her how to be a merchant. She had a slight interest in Lawrence, but tries to push the feelings away. Despite still not knowing how she should feel about him, she respects him as her teacher and a good friend. They later break off their friendship when Chloe allies with the Church to capture Holo and Lawrence. She substitutes for Yarei in the anime.
Norah Arendt (ノーラ・アレント Nōra Arento?)
Voiced by: Mai Nakahara (Japanese), Leah Clark (English)
Norah makes her first appearance in volume two of the novels. She is a skilled shepherd from a church-town named Ruvinheigen. Her companion in this profession is a well-trained sheep dog named Enek (Enekk in the anime). Lawrence entrusts her with a difficult task of gold smuggling after they meet.
After the mission is accomplished, Norah gains enough funds to emancipate herself from the Church.
Fermi Amati (フェルミ・アマーティ Ferumi Amāti?)
Voiced by: Saeko Chiba (Japanese), Ryan Reynolds (English)
Amati, who just like Lawrence mainly goes by his surname for business, makes his first appearance in volume three of the novels. He is a young man who works as a fish broker. He has a crush on Holo, and proposes to her. Due to Holo's good acting, he believes her to be gentle, kind and a soft spoken, polite young lady.
After listening to Holo's fake story of being Lawrence's traveling companion due to her owing him a (non-existent) huge debt, Amati attempts to buy her liberty and wins over her love by publicly declaring a contractual deal with Lawrence in the merchant's guild. However, he loses almost everything emotionally and financially after the pyrite's prize crash and Holo's dedication to stand by Lawrence.
Dian "Diana" Rubens (ディアン・ルーベンス Dian Rūbensu?)
Voiced by: Akeno Watanabe (Japanese), Colleen Clinkenbeard (English)
Dian, who first appears in volume three of the novels, is a chronicler, living in Kumersun's walled ghetto with other "suspect" persons such as alchemists. She loves to collect pagan tales and beliefs and has written them into a set of books. Lawrence has come to her to ask for information about Holo's birthplace Yoitsu. Since Dian sounds like a masculine name, she asks Lawrence to call her Diana. According to Holo, Dian is not human, but a bird even bigger than Lawrence. She fell in love with a traveling priest and spent a few years helping him build a church, but left because he noticed that she never seemed to grow old and became suspicious.
Mark Cole (マルク・コール Maruku Kōru?)
Voiced by: Rikiya Koyama (Japanese), Ian Sinclair (English)
Mark Cole is a town merchant, a wheat seller in Kumersun. He and his apprentice, Eu Landt, assist Lawrence in his contest with Amati, and provide dialog counterpoint to Lawrence and Holo.
Eve Boland
Voiced by: Romi Park (Japanese), Stephanie Young (English)
Cloaked and shrouded in mysteries, Eve is a merchant from the port town of Lenos. Due to events in the past, this trader is wary of just about everyone. Although hard to approach, Eve is talkative under the right circumstances and has a keen eye for people and business alike. She is in fact a fallen noble that was once sold as slave to another merchant after her family's fall. She organized a secret smuggling operation with the church then left it after she felt that they don't need her cooperation anymore then made a contract with Lawrence.

Media[edit]

Light novels[edit]

Spice and Wolf began as a light novel series written by Isuna Hasekura, with illustrations by Jū Ayakura. Originally, Hasekura entered the first novel in the series into ASCII Media Works' twelfth Dengeki Novel Prize in 2005 and the novel won the Silver Prize.[12] ASCII Media Works published 17 novels between February 10, 2006 and July 10, 2011 under their Dengeki Bunko imprint.[13] The tagline for the novels is "Merchant meats spicy wolf.", an example of Engrish. The author of the novels has commented that what "meats" in the tagline really means is kept a secret, alluding to a possible intentional misspelling of "meets".[14]

In September 2008, the novels were licensed by Yen Press for distribution in English.[3] The first volume was released in December 2009, and a new volume is released every four months.[7] While Yen Press redesigned the cover of the first novel, a dust jacket retaining the original cover art was released to select online retailers,[15] and Yen Press also bundled the same jacket in the December 2009 issue of their manga anthology magazine Yen Plus.[16] Despite the different cover art, the illustrations within the novels remain unchanged.[16] Yen Press later announced that future volumes of the series and reprints of the first volume would retain the original artwork while dust jackets would carry the new covers, citing that the redesigned covers were requested by retailers in order to appeal to a wider audience.[17]

Manga[edit]

A manga adaptation illustrated by Keito Koume began serialization in the November 2007 issue of ASCII Media Works' seinen manga magazine Dengeki Maoh. The first tankōbon volume was released by ASCII Media Works under their Dengeki Comics imprint on March 27, 2008; seven volumes have been published as of February 27, 2012. Yen Press licensed the manga series at New York Comic Con 2009, and began releasing the series in English in North America.[18]

Internet radio shows[edit]

An Internet radio show hosted by Animate called Ōkamikku Radio (オオカミックラジオ?) aired ten episodes between December 7, 2007 and April 25, 2008.[19] One episode was broadcast every other week on Friday, and the show was meant to mainly promote the anime series. The show is hosted by Jun Fukuyama who plays Kraft Lawrence in the anime, and Ami Koshimizu who plays Holo.[20] The show contains eight corners, or parts to each broadcast which includes news about the series, comments and submissions from listeners, and a radio drama. A second radio show titled Ōkamikku Radio II aired ten episodes between June 10 and October 28, 2009 with the same producer and hosts.

Anime[edit]

An anime adaptation produced by the animation studio Imagin aired in Japan between January 9 and March 26, 2008 on the Chiba TV Japanese television network;[21] twelve of the thirteen episodes were broadcast, with episode seven being a DVD exclusive.[22] The episodes are being released in six DVD compilation volumes in Japan; volume one contains three episodes while the subsequent volumes contain two episodes each.[5] The volumes were released between April 2, 2008 and August 29, 2008 by Pony Canyon in Japan; volume three contains an original video animation (OVA) episode in addition to episode six of the television broadcast.[5] A Blu-ray Disc box set of the series was released on January 30, 2009.[23] The series is directed by Takeo Takahashi, written by Naruhisa Arakawa, and character designs are provided by Kazuya Kuroda. Takahashi was quoted as being a big fan of the novels.[24] The opening theme is "Tabi no Tochū" (旅の途中?) by Natsumi Kiyoura, and the ending theme is "Ringo Hiyori: The Wolf Whistling Song" (リンゴ日和 ~The Wolf Whistling Song?) by Rocky Chack; both maxi singles were released on February 6, 2008.[25] The anime's original soundtrack was released on March 12, 2008. The anime is licensed for release in English by Kadokawa Pictures USA and Funimation Entertainment,[26][27] and a complete thirteen-episode DVD box set was released on December 22, 2009. The series made its North American television debut on November 16, 2010 on the Funimation Channel.[28]

A second season of the anime titled Spice and Wolf II aired twelve episodes in Japan between July 9 and September 24, 2009.[29] Most of the staff from the first season returned, except for Toshimitsu Kobayashi replacing Kazuya Kuroda as the character designer and chief animation director, and Spice and Wolf II is animated by Brain's Base instead of Imagin. The voice actors from the first season retained their roles.[30] Another OVA, animated by Brain's Base, was released bundled with a picture book entitled Spice and Wolf: Wolf and Gold Wheat (「狼と香辛料」狼と金の麦穂 Ōkami to Kōshinryō Ōkami to Kin no Mugiho?) written and illustrated by the same creators of the light novels and was released by ASCII Media Works on April 30, 2009 under their Dengeki Bunko Visual Novel imprint.[31] Funimation licensed Spice and Wolf II[32] and released the series in English on August 30, 2011. The second season made its North American television debut on August 31, 2011 on the Funimation Channel.[33] On September 11, 2012, Funimation released a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack of both seasons. The April 30, 2009 OVA is included on the season two disc as episode 00.[34]

Visual novels[edit]

A dating and business simulation visual novel based on the series was released on June 26, 2008 under the title Spice and Wolf: Holo's and My One Year (狼と香辛料 ボクとホロの一年 Ōkami to Kōshinryō Boku to Horo no Ichinen?).[35] The game is made by ASCII Media Works playable on the Nintendo DS.[36] The player assumes the role of Kraft Lawrence as he travels around with Holo for a period of one year in the game. The story differs from that of the original novels or anime and is presented as an additional Spice and Wolf world.[37] Ami Koshimizu provides the voice of Holo in the game.[36] The game was released on the same day in limited and regular editions; the limited edition was sold at a higher price, but comes with a life-sized poster of Holo, among other things.[36][38]

A second dating and business simulation visual novel was released on September 17, 2009 entitled Spice and Wolf: The Wind that Spans the Sea (狼と香辛料 海を渡る風 Ōkami to Kōshinryō Umi o Wataru Kaze?).[39] The game was again made by ASCII Media Works and playable on the Nintendo DS. The player once again assumes the role of Kraft Lawrence.

Reception[edit]

ASCII Media Works reported that as of November 2009, over 3.5 million copies of the first twelve novels have been sold.[1] The light novel series has ranked three times in Takarajimasha's light novel guide book Kono Light Novel ga Sugoi! published yearly: first in 2007, and fifth in both 2008 and 2009; in the 2007 issue, Holo won Best Female Character.[40] The first manga volume of the English release in North America debuted at No. 4 on the New York Times Best Seller Manga list,[41] while the third volume reached at No. 3.[42]

In April 2008, the maid café Cafe with Cat in Akihabara, Tokyo, Japan hosted a specially themed event called Cafe with Wolf for a period of three days between April 4 and April 6.[43] The event included three new items on the menu and tied in with the sale of the first anime DVD volume which went on sale on April 2, 2008. People who bought the DVD from the Comic Toranoana Akihabara Honten store (which is on the first floor below Cafe with Cat) and brought the receipt with them into Cafe with Wolf were entered into a lottery to win rare Spice and Wolf goods.[44]

Notes and references[edit]

Footnotes
  1. ^ Concerning the spelling of Holo's name, Yen Press has stated that they "were instructed that the proper spelling of the character's name is indeed Holo" by the Japanese licensor.[10]
Citations
  1. ^ a b "Spice and Wolf media franchise website" (in Japanese). ASCII Media Works. Retrieved May 31, 2009. 
  2. ^ "Book Review: Spice and Wolf" (in Japanese). Mainichi Shimbun. November 30, 2007. Retrieved December 6, 2007. 
  3. ^ a b "Yen Adds Hero Tales, Wakaba-Soh, Spice & Wolf Novels". Anime News Network. September 28, 2008. Retrieved September 28, 2008. 
  4. ^ "Wolf and Spice Television Anime in the Works". Anime News Network. August 6, 2007. Retrieved December 6, 2007. 
  5. ^ a b c "DVD section at Spice and Wolf's official website" (in Japanese). ASCII Media Works. Retrieved January 9, 2008. 
  6. ^ "Outline of Spice and Wolf's world at the series' official website" (in Japanese). ASCII Media Works. Retrieved December 6, 2007. 
  7. ^ a b "Spice and Wolf by Isuna Hasekura". Yen Press. Retrieved October 7, 2008. 
  8. ^ "Spice and Wolf anime English official website". Funimation Entertainment. Retrieved June 13, 2009. 
  9. ^ "Names & Spellings". Yen Plus (Yen Press) 3 (1): 3A. January 2010. 
  10. ^ Hassler (September 25, 2009). "Spice and Wolf Unveiled!". Yen Press. Retrieved October 1, 2009. 
  11. ^ "Spice and Wolf: Koshimizu Struggling with Oiran Words". Mainichi Shimbun. December 26, 2007. Retrieved November 22, 2008. 
  12. ^ "Spice and Wolf wins the Silver Prize in the twelfth Dengeki Novel Prize" (in Japanese). ASCII Media Works. Retrieved December 6, 2007. 
  13. ^ "Spice and Wolf Light Novel Series to End in February". Anime News Network. December 4, 2010. Retrieved December 4, 2010. 
  14. ^ "Official blog entry for Spice and Wolf by the author of the novels, Isuna Hasekura" (in Japanese). ASCII Media Works. Archived from the original on January 12, 2008. Retrieved January 20, 2008. 
  15. ^ "Spice & Wolf Novel's J Cover Offered to Web Retailers". Anime News Network. November 20, 2009. Retrieved November 20, 2009. 
  16. ^ a b "Spice and Wolf Novel's Original Cover Ships with Yen+". Anime News Network. September 26, 2009. Retrieved November 20, 2009. 
  17. ^ "Spice & Wolf Novel 2 Has Original Cover, Photo Jacket". Anime News Network. April 26, 2010. Retrieved April 28, 2010. 
  18. ^ "Yen Press Adds Spice and Wolf, Yotsuba&!, Crescent Moon Story". Anime News Network. February 7, 2009. Retrieved February 8, 2009. 
  19. ^ "Animate's official website for the Internet radio show" (in Japanese). Animate. Retrieved December 6, 2007. 
  20. ^ "Information on the Internet radio show at Spice and Wolf's official website" (in Japanese). ASCII Media Works. Retrieved December 6, 2007. 
  21. ^ "狼と香辛料" (in Japanese). Furusaki Yasunari. Retrieved October 6, 2013. 
  22. ^ "Spice and Wolf official episode listing" (in Japanese). ASCII Media Works. Retrieved January 9, 2008. 
  23. ^ "Spice and Wolf Blu-ray Disc news report" (in Japanese). ASCII Media Works. October 24, 2008. Retrieved October 24, 2008. 
  24. ^ "Interview of the two main cast, original writer, illustrator, and anime director at Spice and Wolf's official website" (in Japanese). ASCII Media Works. Retrieved December 6, 2007. 
  25. ^ "CD section at Spice and Wolf's official website" (in Japanese). ASCII Media Works. Retrieved January 9, 2008. 
  26. ^ "Kadokawa USA Announces Six New Licenses". Anime News Network. July 6, 2008. Retrieved July 6, 2008. 
  27. ^ "Funimation Acquires Spice and Wolf Fantasy Anime". Anime News Network. May 23, 2009. Retrieved May 23, 2009. 
  28. ^ "Funimation Tue 16 Nov 2010". Funimation. Archived from the original on November 13, 2010. Retrieved November 13, 2010. 
  29. ^ "Second Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu TV Anime Green-Lit". Anime News Network. February 5, 2009. Retrieved February 5, 2009. 
  30. ^ "Spice and Wolf's 2nd TV Anime Season Confirmed". Anime News Network. October 5, 2008. Retrieved October 5, 2008. 
  31. ^ "Spice and Wolf II's Act 0 to Ship on DVD in April". Anime News Network. February 2, 2009. Retrieved February 3, 2009. 
  32. ^ "Funimation Adds Chobits, Eden of the East Films". Anime News Network. April 3, 2010. Retrieved April 3, 2010. 
  33. ^ "Funimation Week 36 of 2011". Funimation Entertainment. Retrieved November 26, 2011. 
  34. ^ Spice and Wolf (Media notes). Flower Mound, TX: Funimation. 2012. 
  35. ^ "Spice and Wolf: Holo's and My One Year official website" (in Japanese). ASCII Media Works. Retrieved April 27, 2008. 
  36. ^ a b c "Nintendo DS game information at Spice and Wolf's official website" (in Japanese). ASCII Media Works. Retrieved December 6, 2007. 
  37. ^ "Official ASCII Media Works blog entry on the DS game" (in Japanese). ASCII Media Works. Archived from the original on December 9, 2007. Retrieved December 8, 2007. 
  38. ^ "Life-Sized Poster of Holo Goes on Sale" (in Japanese). ASCII Media Works. April 8, 2008. Retrieved April 9, 2008. 
  39. ^ "Spice and Wolf: The Wind that Spans the Sea official website" (in Japanese). ASCII Media Works. Retrieved May 31, 2009. 
  40. ^ "Introduction section at Spice and Wolf's official website" (in Japanese). ASCII Media Works. Retrieved January 26, 2008. 
  41. ^ "Best Sellers: Graphic Books: Manga". New York Times. April 29, 2010. Retrieved May 3, 2010. 
  42. ^ "Best Sellers: Graphic Books: Manga". New York Times. December 19, 2010. Retrieved December 20, 2010. 
  43. ^ "Cafe with Wolf official event website" (in Japanese). Archived from the original on March 13, 2008. Retrieved March 13, 2008. 
  44. ^ "Spice and Wolf Cafe Open!" (in Japanese). ASCII Media Works. Retrieved March 13, 2008. 

External links[edit]