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Sunday, 27 November 2016

Spice and Wolf

Perhaps I'm ranting about this, and with the score I'm giving I be expecting a lot of disagreements here. To be honest, I was sorely disappointed in Spice and Wolf (S&W), not because it was plain bad, but I cannot see anything worth remembering at all. Oh and I got my first death threat from this!

Character-wise, the arc Holo and Lawrence went through hardly develops the characters. While we know they are in a sort of romantic-partner sort of relationship, both characters come out as rather empty. In the case of Lawrence, it seemed like he's lost in how he views his relationship with Holo and his 'merchant' character. And that is how most of the conflict in this anime began.

Lawrence's relationship to Holo is even more confusing. In the start of Season 2, the Amarty-Pyrite Arc was the most captivating arc yet, and it ended so, so badly. It was when the tension was the greatest, and yet it was resolved so damn easily. The most disgusting part is that Lawrence seems to have learnt nothing from the ordeal. Slow pacing with the already awkward ending in Season 1 made this a turn-off.

The characterisation of Holo herself was a mess as well. I cannot fathom a centuries old demigod to be, of all things, a tsundere. Despite being the Wise Wolf, Holo has not shown her wisdom, instead turning into the most gullible character in the series, that even a stranger's comment can affect her that much in the last episode. For a character whose whole idea was to be an immortal sick of solitude, the 'solitude part' wasn't played well enough. I question how Holo views Lawrence again and again, and question what is the whole point of making the relationship and its development so ambiguous, and that made Holo resembles a tsundere more than anything. Similar to Lawrence, its seems that Holo has learnt nothing from all the ordeals she faced, and her ever-changing mood made me question whether she is bipolar.

The music itself was extremely refreshing at first, with the Openings and Endings to be rather good and fitting to the setting of those times. Then comes the OST, which almost sounded like a broken radio being all to similar, or that they played they same one over and over again.

The significance of the ending was what made me so disappointed by this alleged masterpiece. To have Holo being sold off by Lawrence, regardless of the circumstances, hurts the development of the characters through seasons 1 and 2. So how does it end? What was the meaning of all the development that Holo and Lawrence went through, through thick and thin? It got thrown out of the window.

Overall, I acknowledge I might be 6 years late for this anime. But considering the fact this anime is so highly rated confuses me. To me, S&W is a mess, that tries to add the intelligent elements of trade and romance with a hardly decent storyline but was wasted at the very end.

It boils down to the fact that somewhere between watching S&W, I stopped enjoying myself because I can no longer see it as coherent story. While I understand that anime serves mainly as advertisement to the source material, I strongly believe that as a storytelling medium, an anime should still have  a storyline and conclusion that is able to stand on its own, without reference to the source material to be able to understand what is happening in the anime itself.

While I know that S&W is charming, and a favorite to many out there, at least I hope it is not a blind love of the questionable adaptation of a popular LN series.

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